Not a tablet, not a phone: Do you really need a 6-inch phablet?

A 6-inch smartphone don't make much sense. It is an experience that doesn't leave you satisfied as a tablet user.

Written by Mihir Patkar | New Delhi | Published:July 28, 2014 11:29 am
asus-zenfone-6-1_m Asus Zenphone 6 costs around Rs 18,000.

The Asus Zenfone 6 is the latest big boy on the block. Touting a 6-inch screen, it is uncomfortable to call it a “handset” because you need two of them to use the device. Yet it is not as much screen space as a 7-inch tablet. Lying somewhere in between, what’s exactly the appeal of these 6-inch phablets?

I have long failed to see the point of these devices, which also include the Nokia Lumia 1320, Intex Aqua Octa, Micromax Canvas Doodle 3, Sony Xperia T2, LG G Pro 2 and several others. They’re too big to be used on a regular basis. I mean, try putting one in your pocket and bending to tie your shoelaces—the edge of that phone stabbing your gut.

The only exception I made was for the Samsung Galaxy Note Note 3 (although that’s technically 5.7 inches). Why? Because of the embedded stylus and the bundled software which takes advantage of a big screen, such as splitting it into two or using the stylus to turn your device into an actual notepad. Don’t buy into the “finger is the only stylus you need” hype, on a big screen, a stylus is a wonderful addition for quick notes and simple image edits (like giving directions).

But apart from that, a 6-inch smartphone don’t make much sense. It is an experience that doesn’t leave you satisfied as a tablet user, nor as a smartphone user.

India is a price-sensitive market, so there is the argument that a 6-inch phablet gives you the best of both worlds while spending on only one. But that doesn’t hold true as much. You get good tablets for Rs. 10,000, you get good phones like the Motorola Moto E for Rs 7,000 — added together, that’s the same as the price of a Zenfone 6.

If you asked me, I would never recommend a 6-inch phone. It is denying yourself a good experience of a separate phone and tablet. Of course, if you have huge hands and a 6-inch phone fits perfectly in your palm, then by all means, go for it. But if you can’t use it with one hand, don’t bother.

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  1. V
    Vivek Saxena
    Aug 4, 2014 at 9:55 am
    My previous comment here was deleted instead of being posted, perhaps because it was critical of your review. I was disappointed by the fact that you did not highlight the technical features and instead spent time demolishing the idea of the product itself.Having used tablets of all sizes extensively, I can tell you that every tablet has a category of customers, and serves its purpose. If you use a stylus to take notes, or draw diagrams, especially if you're an engineer, an architect or a physicist, you'll find a 5" tablet too small, and a 6" bare minimum to work, though people usually prefer 6.4" or 7". In fact, in the West, 5" is slowly becoming the standard for phones, so it is only natural that 6" tablets are considered mainstream, even if they cannot occupy the market share of an iPad.So in summary, I was disappointed by the fact that you do not spend time highlighting the technicalities in your reviews, given my otherwise stellar opinion of The Indian Express. I am just trying to put it in perspective.PS - I think a good tenet of journalism is not to bias your readers too much against or too much for a product. The analysis ought to be more balanced.