Is a Phablet the Same as Tablet?

When it comes to different gadgets in today’s world, there have been different names and terms that are being used to refer to these different devices. Gone are the days when we only had cellphones because we now have terms such as smartphones and tablets used to describe our mobile devices. But you may have also heard about the phablet and you began to wonder what a phablet is. So, in that case, is a phablet just the same as a tablet?

Phablets and tablets are not the same. A tablet is a bigger mobile device that is similar to a smartphone but does not have some of the phone capabilities that smartphones have. Meanwhile, phablets are the cross between a smartphone and a tablet as they are bigger than phones but smaller than tablets.

While phablets may not be as common as smartphones and tablets, they still do exist and are actually pretty much preferred by different types of people. In line with that, it is important for you to know the distinctions between tablets and phablets so that you will know which between the two is the better device for you.

tablet with phablet and notepad

Are phablets and tablets the same?

We live in an age where technology has been improving rapidly to the point that we now have plenty of different mobile devices that have been introduced as part of our daily lives. Since the introduction of the smartphone, more and more smart devices and other similar mobile gadgets have entered the market and have become unique in their own right. Of course, the tablet followed the smartphone as the next best mobile device that people have been using on a regular basis.

However, while we do regard the smartphone and the tablet as the two most popular mobile devices that we use today (in case we don’t regard laptops as mobile devices), we have also heard of one other term that is used to describe a seemingly different kind of mobile device. The term we are talking about is a phablet, which isn’t as widely used like other terms when it comes to mobile devices but it still is pretty much used by some other tech people.

That said, for those who don’t know what a phablet is or have not heard of that term, it is quite easy to understand if you wonder what a phablet is in the first place. So, in that case, is a phablet just another term for a tablet? Are the two devices the same or are phablets and tablets different from one another?

So, basically speaking, when you refer to tablets and phablets, you are referring to two devices that are entirely different from one another. Their names might sound the same and they might also have similar appearances and features but tablets and phablets are not the same when you compare them to one another. In fact, phablets are actually closer to smartphones than they are to tablets although phablets are generally seen as entirely unique in terms of what they are and what they can do.

That said, to answer the question, a phablet is not the same as a tablet. In fact, phablets are considered to be hybrids of smartphones and tablets just as how the tablet is considered a hybrid of a smartphone and a laptop. So, for you to understand what makes them different, you should read on more to find out the differences between a phablet and a tablet and which between the two is the better device in terms of your own needs and preferences.

three ipads next to each other

What makes a phablet different from a tablet?

Now that we have established that phablets are different from tablets, let us now look at exactly what makes them different from one another.


The first difference between a phablet and a tablet can be seen in the way they were designed. While not a lot of people realize it when they see the two devices, you should know that phablets and tablets are not the same in terms of how they were designed specifically because of how phablets were made to be closer to phones.

In that regard, phablets are considered to have the thinner bezels of the two precisely because of how they have smaller builds that are somewhere close to 6 or 7 inches in overall size. That’s why phablets are usually smaller, lighter, slimmer, and more compact than their tablet counterparts.

Phablets are also usually small enough to be handled by one hand or to fit inside huge pockets. That’s why it won’t be common for people to operate phablets similar to that of a smartphone but only much larger than the usual phone that you see.

On the other hand, while tablets are nothing short of portable in their own right, they are not as portable and as small as phablets are. Usually, some tablets have larger bezels except for the newer ones that come with almost no bezels whatsoever just like the iPad Pro. However, the larger design that tablets come with makes them heavier and less portable than their phablet counterparts. Unless you are a particularly huge person with equally huge pockets, you won’t be able to handle a tablet with one hand or even put it in your pocket.

Tablets are also designed to be used in conjunction with stands even though they are not sold with stands. The stand allows the tablet to function in a similar way to laptops because of how you can put it on a desk while you are using it for work or while you are doing other things such as watching movies or surfing the web.

Overall, phablets are just more portable and lighter than tablets are because they are designed to be the hybrid between a smartphone and a tablet. That’s why they are called “phablets” in the first place as their name is a combination of phone and tablet. However, tablets are made to be easier to use if you want to become productive because of how you can use them as laptops using their stands.

Screen size

Of course, because both devices differ a lot in their size and design, it only follows that phablets and tablets are also different in terms of their screen size as one of them has a smaller screen size with respect to the other.

Phablets, being smaller, have screen sizes that are usually less than 7 inches as they are most likely somewhere between 6 and 6.8 inches. This allows them to retain their portable size as having a bigger screen will make it more difficult for anyone to operate a phablet like a smartphone. And imagine putting a 7-inch phablet inside your pockets.

On the other hand, it also follows that the bigger tablet comes with a bigger screen. Tablet display sizes usually start at 7 inches but the larger ones can be nearly 13 inches big. For example, the bigger 12.9-inch iPad Pro is one of the bigger tablets in the market as it is nearly as big as most of the smaller laptops.

As such, having a bigger screen size gives the tablet the edge when it comes to productivity and entertainment. However, the phablet wins out in overall portability and resolution density because of how it has a smaller screen.

Phablet on laptop


Again, this is also where we draw the line between phablets and tablets as they differ a lot in terms of this aspect. That’s because phablets were primarily designed to bridge the gap between smartphones and tablets in terms of size as tablets are bigger but are not capable of doing some of the things that the smaller smartphones can do. As such, the phablet entered the market to provide you with the gaps that tablets have.

In that case, phablets come with all of the communication features that smartphones do such as being able to make use of cellular signals to make phone calls and send text messages. On top of that, they also come with the standard features of any smart device such as having the ability to connect to the internet using either mobile data or Wi-Fi. This allows the phablet to act as just a bigger version of a standard smartphone.

Meanwhile, most tablets are generally limited in terms of their connection capabilities, which might explain why tablets that are as equally as powerful as some smartphones are usually more affordable. Tablets are made to have the standard Wi-Fi connection that any smart device should have but what sets them apart from phablets is that most tablets don’t have the ability to use cellular networks even though they can connect to the internet using mobile data. That means that you cannot make phone calls and send text messages using cellular signals when you are using a tablet.

As such, tablets are unique in their own right because they are made to bigger smartphones without all of the cellular connectivity capabilities of smartphones. Meanwhile, phablets are somewhat smartphones in their own right because of how they come complete with all of the features that smartphones come with in terms of connectivity.


Of course, because they are entirely different devices in their own right, both the phablet and the tablet have different functions. If they had the same functions, then there is no use differentiating the two and classifying them into different devices.

Phablets, as mentioned are made and designed to be able to bridge the gap between smartphones and tablets. That means that you can use them both as a smartphone and as a tablet because of their hybrid capabilities. They are small enough for you to use them in a way that’s similar to your smartphone but big enough to give you some of the things that you usually do when you are using your tablet such as reading books, watching movies, or becoming productive.

On the other hand, tablets are closer to laptops in terms of their functions because they are now seen as laptop alternatives. That means that, if you have a good keyboard attachment, you can use a tablet in a way that is similar to a laptop by using word and spreadsheet processing apps or even doing light programming. And because of how tablets come with a pen accessory and numerous creative design apps, they are better when it comes to designing graphics and other similar digital art.

As such, phablets are kind of like the devices you use if you want something that can do what a smartphone can do but has a screen size that is almost similar to a tablet. Meanwhile, the tablet is what you should use if you want a smaller and more compact version of a laptop that you can use for work and other productive stuff.

Stylus pen for phablet


Finally, we have to go look at the differences between the two in terms of their price. While they may look the same and have similar yet different functions, one of these devices tends to cost a lot more than the other.

For one, the phablet is generally the more expensive of the two because these are usually flagship devices of certain brands such as Samsung, which has a flagship phablet in the form of the Galaxy Note line. These phablets are expensive due to how they come with flagship features and specs that you only see in the most expensive smartphones on the market.

On the other hand, tablet prices may vary depending on the device that you go for but they are generally more affordable. For example, the standard iPad is a lot more affordable in comparison to flagship phablet models such as the Galaxy Note. However, there are also tablets that can be very expensive due to their specs and features such as the aforementioned iPad Pro, which can cost you close to or over $2,000 depending on the model you go for.

So, as such, because tablets are not as feature-rich as most phablets are, they are usually cheaper. But this makes them the more approachable device of the two because more people are able to afford them. On the other hand, phablets may be expensive but most people who have them can see more savings in the long run because they no longer have to buy a tablet given that the phablet is already just as functional and almost as big as a tablet.

Hands holding Samsung Galaxy S6 lite tablet

Which between a phablet and a tablet is better for you?

So, now that you know the differences between a phablet and a tablet, let us now look at what makes one or the other better for you. To put it frankly, there is no better device between the two because this is a subjective matter that depends entirely on your own personal preferences and uses.

For example, the phablet may be more expensive but it comes with plenty of features that allow it to function like a smartphone and a tablet rolled into one. As such, if you don’t want to carry around multiple devices and you just simply want a device that you can use for everyday purposes and for some of the tasks you do for productivity, a phablet may be the best choice for you.

However, for those who prefer to have a device that is almost similar to a laptop in the sense that it can be used for everyday tasks for work and for entertainment as well, then the tablet should be the better device for you.

Then again, if you can afford both of these devices, then there is no reason for you to choose either of them. By buying both of them, you are going to get the best of both worlds in the sense that you have a big enough smartphone in your hands and another device that can sort of act as a laptop but is also quite similar to a smartphone as well.


I'm Rob, the founder of I’m a Marine Corps vet with a master’s degree in Information Systems and have been working in the technology field for over a decade.

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