Phablet or Tablet – Which is the best choice for you?

Woman holds smartphone with tablet and ring binder on a desktop. Above view of workspace. With clipping paths.

As the New Year rolls in, it’s the perfect time to start looking at refreshing your smart tech and moving to a newer handset or tablet. But first you’ll need to consider how you plan to use it.

Consumers have made it very clear to their smart device providers that they believe bigger is better. And providers have listened: screen sizes on smartphones continue to grow, with the trend of phablets now commonplace. Last year the iPhone 6S Plus and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ were popular choices among customers who love the capability of larger screens.

Nearly everyone you meet owns a smartphone these days. They’re basically a necessity in today’s communications world. Not only do you need a device to call and message friends and family, but accessing the internet on the go and using apps (especially those that provide email and map access) have become indispensable to daily life.

However, depending on your lifestyle, you might not need to rely on your smartphone as much outside of communication and a phablet may not be the best choice for you. Depending on how and why you use your devices, you might be better served with a tablet in addition to your phone. Let us help you decide which set up works best.

Internet browsing

When compared to your stock-standard smartphones, phablets certainly make it easier to get a better picture while you’re surfing the ‘net. Using a phablet for browsing is great when you have some time to kill on the go, such as when you’re on the train or waiting for a meeting to start. However, the phablet’s portability make it less of an advantage if you do most of your browsing at home.

If you’re looking for a portable way to lounge on the couch or snuggle up in bed with the internet, a tablet is probably a better call. If you prefer to browse when you’re out and about and find yourself disconnecting when you get home, you’re probably more suited to a phablet.



The larger size of phablets compared to other smartphones might not appeal to everybody. For some, the increased handset size will make be harder to slip into pockets and small bags. If you don’t think you will utilise the larger screen adequately while on the go, then you might be better off going with a different smartphone and saving your large screen needs for a tablet.

Watching video

The impressive screen size of phablets make them better than regular handsets when it comes to streaming shows or movies. But if you find yourself viewing regularly at home, you’re better off getting a tablet, which can provide an even larger screen and put less stress on your primary communication device.


Saving cash

One of the reasons for the phablet’s success is that they can serve the functions of both a smartphone and a tablet. This eliminates the cost of having to buy two different products. If you’re on a shoestring budget, get the benefits of two for the cost of one by grabbing a fabulous phablet.

Australian money background. Notes include $100, $50, $20 and $10.

The bottom line

So, what works best for you? Only one person can answer that. Make sure to keep your personal usage habits and budget in mind when drawing your conclusion to ensure you make the right decision.

So do you prefer the two-in-one phablet, or would you rather have a separate smartphone and tablet? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. Judith says:


  2. Joy says:

    I am 80 years old and have bought a Samsung galaxy tablet and have found it confusing. Is there one that that I would find it easier to use?

  3. Deb says:

    Tha makes a lot of sense

  4. thanks – good advice

  5. suzanne Lawrence says:

    Pity I didn’t know about this last year befor I got a new tablet and the pocket Internet for a new tablet. Otherwise I would have got that tablet phone.

  6. Erlo says:

    If I am out I look around me. There is enough to see. Use the mobile phone while travelling only. It usually does not work in places I really need it. Although I use computers as a tool since before DOS and Windows, I hate wasting lovely sunshine working on it. I have not figured out what the Apps are good for.

  7. Lyn says:

    Well, there you go. I never knew there was such a thing as a phablet. Two years ago I had a Samsung mobile phone. Then I switched to Apple iPhone. For me, it worked, and I’m not too much younger than your 80 years. Loved the articled re the phablet. It was easy to read, understand and absorb. Now I know which to go for. Thank you.

  8. Tracy says:

    Tablet is better if doing a lot net surfing and watching videos etc. Plus tablets have bigger screens which make it better viewing experience.

  9. Tracy says:

    Yes there is Joy it is the iiPad.

  10. Oliver says:

    The ipad is by far better for seniors Joy, my 70yo Dad cant use the Samsung tablet I bought him because it keeps popping up new windows to update this or sign in for that, and the commands arent so intuitive. OK for young folk but Apple is better for seniors I wish I got him an ipad.

  11. Michael Burns says:

    I suppose it’s horses for courses. I’m happy enough to use a smart phone when in Oz. I’m rarely far from my desktop computer, wi-fi etc. Bur going O/S throws up different issues e.g., using maps, getting directions, and we found the iPad good for this type of usage. Next time we go I imagine we’ll seriously consider a phablet.

  12. B. Davey says:

    i would like a little asistance -re- bill &plans – i also have a very basic m/phone -the plan at the moment is all calls from my home phone cost -nil calls to 19& 13 numbers are to becovered by the m/bile phone allowed $2- 400for calls to these numbers – cost 94.90 – why am i charged continually $96+ can you advise if you have a cheaper plan that covers my call etc- i do not wish to have separatecall payments – thanking you for the opportunity to discuss etc

    • Christian Polson-Brown says:

      Hi B.Davey,

      Please speak to our billing team to discuss this further (13 22 58). They will have full access to your account in a secure environment and can check to ensure you are only being charged in line with the plan you agreed to.

      – Christian

  13. J.R. Dawe says:

    Good advice! I like a phone pocket size. To Joy: I would say get an iPad, it is much less confusing I find.

  14. Hans J. Schaefer says:

    worth mentioning is that phablets usually have larger batteries =lasting longer between recharges

  15. superstar says:

    could be a cost thing though my tablet isn’t connected to internet except by wifi at home
    If this is going to be a phone too the server costs will be increased


    Thank you,
    What size is the Phablet,please?

    • Brianna Burgess says:

      Phablets are available in various brands and sizes, Yolande. Best to shop around for a device that it perfect for you!

      – Brianna

  17. Phillip Robinson says:

    I’ve had an iPad air2 now for over 12 mths and use it for everything from emailing to mapping, paying bills and social media.

  18. Josef Stone says:

    I prefer to use a tablet than the smart phone (iPhone 6plus) as I find the screen bigger and easier on my eyes
    And when are you going to have the iPhone tablets in ???

  19. Janice Key says:

    I have both a smart phone and a ten inch tablet.
    The smart phone is the ideal size to fit into my bag and I can still access emails if needed. My tablet I use when travelling as it takes the place of my PC for emails, skype and books, I find the size is better for these actions.

  20. Debs says:

    Really great advice thanks iinet

  21. Peter says:

    Nokia Lumia, phone basic internet
    10in Tablet, on the go,
    15in Lap top in office at work (and back-up)
    A real PC (twin screen) at home
    Use a portable personal Wifi with all above

  22. Chris says:

    I think I shall stick with my desktop and laptop. My mobile phone is just that! No pictures. If I want that my laptop and/or desktop does it all. At 84 I need the exercise to walk to the study!

  23. MARG says:


  24. Tony says:

    I agree with the advice provided. However, it’s not that simple. If you decide that a phone and tablet suits you best you then have to decide whether to get a mini-tablet (iPad mini for example), a regular sized tablet or a tablet with an even bigger screen (like the new SurfacePro). It’s confusing! Maybe an article from the iinet for next month’s newsletter?

    • Brianna Burgess says:

      Thanks for the suggestion, Tony! Considering it can be quite a large expense, it is definitely worth exploring all options.

      – Brianna

  25. Ginny Black says:

    I am in my 70’s. I use my late husbands blackberry but feel it a bit complicated, I am thinking of getting an iPhone, Samsung or apple. Have not heard of a Phablet. Totally confused.

  26. Mike Wagner says:

    Thanks for your good advise.

  27. Pat says:

    Thanks for the info – found all the comments helpful. The Tablet sounds like the way to go when I’m ready. Have just about had enough of the old PC.

  28. Rachel says:

    I think Ipad by Apple extremely user friend for kids to oldies

  29. Felicity says:

    What is this ‘portable personal Wifi’ of which Peter speaks?
    Would love to see an article on that.

    • Christian Polson-Brown says:

      Hi Felicity,

      Peter is likely referring to “mobile broadband”, which are still wifi devices using SIM cards to provide a portable wireless signal using the cellular reception.

      – Christian

  30. Gordon says:

    I’m 70+ and have been using an iPad for some years, BUT I find the touch screen difficult to use – especially in the bus or tram. Recently got a Sony Xperia smart-pnone/phablet and it’s terrific. (I now prefer Android over iOS too) Although small, it actually has an easier-to-use touch screen than the iPad, believe it or not! And I’ve switched to reading the morning paper on it rather than on the iPad. It is so thin it makes a nice coaster too (it’s water resistant!). So … the smartphone-phablet is my choice for home and away. If I want to do any serious computing then there’s the serious computer with a keypad and decent screen.

  31. chris jolly says:

    I’m over 70, prefer to use my Nokia Lumia as a smart phone camera and the Samsung 10.1 for web use and for travel, with Skype installed. I like the larger screen which is good for movies when travelling rather than the smaller screen.

  32. Joan Walker says:

    My computer has a iinet modem attached will a phablet work with that ?

  33. Marian says:

    Being 73 years young and using a Lap Top , this Smart Phone Phablet sounds the way to go but how much do these things cost in Queensland
    dear iinet provider ?

  34. Sandra Ford says:

    Ive just bought a phablet for my son in law for xmas. Does it need a sim cared? He will be using it to browse the internet ect most of all. have I bought the wrong thing.

    • Leo Yarnold says:

      Hi Sandra,

      If the phablet has Wi-Fi built in and he won’t be using it outside the home, then you should be ok. If it needs to be used in other locations, then it may need a data SIM, which we no longer retail.

      – Leo