People who love phablets are also those who like to standout from the crowd. They know that big screen smartphones are awesome because they give you more real estate for videos and getting stuff done.
With smartphone screen sizes getting bigger at a rapid rate, most flagships are now hovering anywhere from 5-5.5 inches. It’s funny to think that not too long ago; the top-tier handsets of the day only had a screen size of 4.3 inches. Remember how everyone reacted when the original Galaxy Note made its debut?
If you’re looking to buy a big-screen phone in 2016, its time to broaden your spectrum, and by that we mean going with something that’s bigger than the conventional 5.5-inch handset, yet smaller than a 7-inch tablet. The following is our list of the top 6-inch phablets for 2016.
Top Phablets 2016 – 6″ Display Size
- Sony Xperia XA Ultra
- Oppo R9 Plus
- ZTE ZMax Pro
- ZTE Grand X Max 2
- Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro
- Huawei Mate 8
1. Sony Xperia XA Ultra
Building on earlier mid-range Sony phablets like the Xperia C5 Ultra, the XA Ultra offers up a vivid 6-inch 1080p display and some serious camera action. Around front, it’s hard to miss the unusually large selfie shooter that sits right on top of the IPS LCD screen, and that’s for good cause. The Sony Xperia XA Ultra puts an impressive f/2.0 lens and a large 1/2.6 inch 16-megapixel sensor with OIS right in your face, and they even threw in a dedicated LED flash.
Around back, the main camera sports an upgraded 21.5-megapixel Sony Exmor RS sensor paired with Sony’s Bionz processing enhancements for low-light scenes in favor of OIS. The main lens has a slower f-stop of 2.2 compared to the camera around front, putting into question which shooter you might prefer for everyday shooting.
Storing all those photos on the XA Ultra won’t be a problem either, but you will need a memory card because you only get 16GB out of the box. Using the dedicated microSD card slot is your ticket to storing tons of photos, and it’s expandable up to 256GB.
Looking under the hood, we find a MediaTek MT6755 Helio P10 chipset with an Octa-core CPU fused with a Mali-860MP2 graphics processor. Sony did good fitting the XA Ultra with a healthy 3GB of RAM and powering all the hardware by a 2700 mAh battery, though it’s non-removable.
Bring out the graham crackers and chocolate because you’re getting Android 6.0 Marshmallow when you take the XA Ultra out of the box, but Sony has announced a plan upgrade to Android 7.0 Nougat.
2. Oppo R9 Plus
It may look exactly like an iPhone, but the Oppo R9 Plus offers a big screen with a surprisingly high amount of hardware and battery power to match. As the name implies, the R9 Plus is an upsized version of the earlier Oppo R9. Boasting a 6-inch screen, it has the same 1080p full-HD display as its little sister, with a slight drop in pixel density.
Aside from the upsized AMOLED display, the R9 Plus has an improved 16MP camera on the front and back that sports a Sony’s IMX298 CMOS sensor with a lens aperture of f/2.0, complete with Phase Detection Auto Focus for super quick photo action. The brains of this operation is driven by the Snapdragon 652 SoC with an octa-core 1.8GHz CPU and the Adreno 510 GPU. Top that all off with 4GB of RAM and its clear we are working with a flagship quality phablet and not some low-end budget stuff.
The Oppo R9 Plus comes in both 64GB and 128GB models with the ability to expand the storage capabilities via microSD. Running on ColorOS 3.0, the device comes with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box with no mention of an upgrade planned. Battery life is another huge bonus with the R9 plus as the non-removable 4120 mAh battery has an incredibly long life between charges. When charging is required, VOOC Flash Charge will get you from 0-75% in 30 minutes.
3. ZTE ZMax Pro
Have you ever heard of a phablet with decent specs you could buy for under $100? If that sounds like the beginning to a bad joke, keep reading. The ZTE ZMax Pro is a midrange smartphone with an impressive set of features. For starters, the phablet sports a 6-inch with a resolution of 1,920×1,080 – that’s Full-HD for those keeping score at home.
Under the hood, the ZMax Pro is equipped with a Snapdragon 617 chipset that sports an octa-core central processor coupled with an Adreno 405 graphics processor, supported by 2 GB of RAM. Don’t forget this phablet goes for less than $100. You even get a respectable 32GB of internal storage (same as found on the Galaxy S7 Edge) that is expandable up to 256GB via microSD – that’s huge!
Looking around back you will find a 13-megapixel camera fitted with a rather slow 20mm f/2.2 lens, but for a hundred bucks you knew sacrifices had to be made somewhere along the way. Looking on the bright side, at least you still get phase detection autofocus and an LED flash. Videographers will appreciate 1080p video recording and selfie lovers will have to suffice with a 5MP camera up front.
If you’re still not impressed by all of this, would throwing in a fingerprint scanner help seal the deal? If not, ZTE also threw in a USB-C port on the ZMax Plus just for you. That’s two awesome features more commonly found on devices that go for triple the price. If we had it our way, we would trade the USB-C port for NFC so the ZMax can be used with Android Pay.
The ZTE ZMax Pro has a 3,400mAh non-removable battery to keep you going all day long and comes with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out of the box. Not bad for $99 after rebate, but the ZMax is exclusive to Metro PCS.
4. ZTE Grand X Max 2
Looking to build on their success from the prepaid market niche, Chinese smartphone maker ZTE is back again with its Grand X Max 2 on Cricket Wireless, a 6-inch phablet with plenty of processing power for only $200.
Taking a closer look at the Grand X Max 2, we see hardware specs that nearly resemble the aforementioned ZTE ZMax, with an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 chipset alongside an Adreno 405 with 2GB of RAM. As for internal storage, the big surprise here is that the more expensive Grand X Max 2 has half the internal storage found on the ZMax Pro at 16GB and is only expandable to 64GB via microSD compared to the 256GB.
Around back, you get a 13-megapixel primary shooter just like with the ZMax Pro along with touch autofocus and LED flash. YouTube fanatics will enjoy shooting video in 1080p and the 5MP front camera will keep selfie fanatics happy. The 3,400mAh power plant should be able to hold you off for most of the day and fast battery charging will help keep things short when you do need to plug up.
5. Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro
The Galaxy A range offers up devices that look just as good as Samsung’s flagship phablets but are more affordable as they don’t pack the most up to date hardware. If you have been following Samsung’s recent launches, you will find the A9 Pro’s design looks just like a larger version of the Galaxy Note 5 with its glass and metal design language. With a 6-inch Full-HD OLED display, the A9 Pro offers up plenty of real estate for media consumption and extended web browsing sessions.
Out of the box, the A9 Pro runs on Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow) with Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface (UI).The phablet is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 652 chipset coupled with a healthy 4GB of RAM and 32GB internal storage. Putting the right memory card in the A9 Pro can expand its storage capabilities to almost 300GB.
The A9 Pro has a camera interface that mirrors Samsung’s high-end smartphones like the Galaxy S6. You can double tap the home screen to launch the camera app, even with the screen off, and you also get a mode for adjusting settings manually. Around back, the A9 Pro has a 13 MP camera fitted with a respectable 28mm f/1.9 lens. Selfie lovers will appreciate the slightly wider 24mm f/1.9 lens up front with an 8MP sensor, which offers up higher resolution than the Galaxy Note 5.
If you have two mobile numbers you will be pleased to learn that the Galaxy A9 Pro has dual nanoSIM slots in addition to a dedicated slot for microSD expansion, so you don’t have to choose between carrying around a second phone or having more memory like you find with other dual SIM phablets currently on the market. One noticeable feature missing from this “pro” phablet is a notification LED to alert users of any new notices from their phone.
6. Huawei Mate 8
Fresh off the back of the hugely successful Nexus 6P, Huawei has earned its place as the third biggest handset maker on earth, behind Apple and Samsung. Following in the footsteps of the Mate7, the new phablet from Huawei is one seriously good-looking smartphone with premium specs.
The Mate 8 features an aluminum unibody with a 6-inch Full-HD IPS-LCD display. With a screen resolution of 1080 x 1920, pixel density is well above what Apple coined as “Retina” display at 368ppi. In the photography department, the Mate 8 sports a 16 MP Sony sensor around back with optical image stabilization and phase detection autofocus.
When it comes to video quality, the Huawei Mate 8 is capable of recording videos up to 1080p at 60 frames per second. Mounted above the main display you will find an 8MP 26mm selfie shooter, also capable of recording in Full-HD.
In terms of processing power, the Huawei Mate 8’s Kirin 9520 packs all the punch you need and then a lot more. The Mali-T880 MP4 graphics processor along with an optional 4 GB of RAM ensures that the Mate 8 can hang with the best of em’ in 2016. An optional 64GB of storage paired with a 256GB microSD will ensure plenty of room for apps and media on the road ahead.
The Mate 8 comes fitted with an extra large 4,000mAh battery that supports fast charging which can bring the phablet to full power in 2.5 hours. You might be disappointed to learn there is no wireless charging support, but keep in mind that a mere 30-minute charge is rated to provide a full day of usage.