CES 2013: Are Phone/Tablet Hybrid Devices the New Trend?

It’s been an interesting CES this year, as the mobile space was surprisingly lacking with the handfuls of device that are usually announced. While we saw a few Windows Phone 8 handsets pop up from both Samsung and Huawei, an odd amount of tablet/phone hybrid devices, annoyingly aka phablets, were announced. While we wouldn’t go as far to say that 2013 will be the year of phablets, it’s definitely been interesting to see the amount of them coming out of CES this year.

Take a look below to see some of the best phablet devices announced this year.

Lenovo K900

Lenovo came out swinging with the K900, it’s latest Intel-based Android smartphone, and it’s one of the best devices announced at the show. Rocking a 5.5 inch 1080p display, the new Intel Clover Trail+ CPU, 2GB, and 13 MP camera, the K900 stands out even more with a beautiful design made of a composite of stainless steel alloy and polycarbonate. The lack of US availability is definitely bummer, and hopefully Lenovo will eventually begin to make a push here at some point.

The follow-up to Lenovo’s previous Intel-based Android handset get high marks across the board in specs and style, making it one of our favorite devices to come out of CES 2013. Phablet devices aren’t necessarily a must-have

Xperia Z/ZL

Sony’s newest flagship handset, the Xperia X, comes in with a 5 inch 1080 HD Reality display, which should be enough to get anyone’s attention. Borrowing from its one BRAVIA HDTV tech, the handset has quite a few interesting tweaks that you just don’t see every day. For starters, the power/lock switch is rather large and sits right in the middle of one of the device’s sides and the Xperia ZL’s front-facing camera is actually found below the display.

Overall, Sony’s Xperia Z line is most definitely the company’s best set of devices to date and we look forward to seeing them land on store shelves, whenever that might be.

Huawei Ascend D2

Huawei’s successor to the Ascend D officially lands it into phablet territory with its 5 inch 1080p IPS + display with a PPI of 440, and packs a punch with a 1.5GHz quad-core CPU. Yet another device that won’t be coming to the states, the Ascend D2 offers up a handsome set of specifications that are on par with just about every other device the category. Other features you’ll be happy to see are a 13 megapixel rear-facing camera, and 3000 mAh battery to get you through the day with that large display.

While the Ascend D2 may look a bit small when next to its brother, the Huawei Mate, there’s plenty of screen to go around with this device.


Huawei Ascend Mate

The Huawei Ascend Mate is one hell of a phablet, and the biggest of its kind so far. The Mate rocks a massive 6.1 inch 1280 x 720 HD IPS+ display that’s almost laughable the first time you pick it up, but it quickly becomes something to admire. While we have little doubt that Samsung will likely crank out another Galaxy Note with an equal or greater size display, the Mate is the go-to device if you’re looking to blur the tablet and smartphone line.

With such a large display, one could only imagine that the battery life on the device would be downright awful. Luckily, Huawei threw in a massive 4050mAh battery inside the Mate, which should definitely help you get through the day. Thrown in the 8 megapixel camera with LED flash, 2GB, and the bells and whistles you’d come to expect from a 2013 smartphone, and the Huawei Ascend Mate is one of the most stand out devices of the year… So far.

ZTE Grand S

Last but not least, we have the ZTE Grand S. This is actually quite a nice looking handset that shares a majority of the aforementioned devices’ specs and will ship in an assortment of colors.  Mostly composed of plastic, the Grand S still feels surprisingly good in the hand and fits quite nicely as well.

Specifications of the Grand S include a 5 inch 1080p HD display, 1.5Ghz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, 13 megapixel camera, 2GB RAM, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the Box. Better yet, it was recently confirmed that the ZTE Grand S will indeed become available in the US later this year.

The New Trend?

The phablet market was essentially single-handedly carved out by Samsung with the Galaxy Note (we’ll pretend the Dell Streak never existed), and now the Galaxy Note II. Due to the popularity of the device, we can’t say that we’re too surprised that we’re seeing more devices of this type to ship from the competition, but we’d be lying if we said we expected this many at CES this year. Only time will tell if other phablet devices will be able to sway potential Galaxy Note buyers away, but it looks like this market is here to stay.

As screen sizes on smartphone increase with seemingly every generation, would you consider buying a phablet as your next primary device? Sound off in the comments below!



  • Anonymous

    People are having bigger hands these days. And bigger pockets. 🙂

  • I’d like a 7″ phone. I have a smaller phone that I can flip my SIM card into if I’m going out on the town or dining. 98% of the time I want a huge phone that works for everything. Web surf, camera, video, GPS, apps etc. Why is so hard to believe we don’t want to carry a phone and a tablet and sure the heck don’t want to pay for 2 plans. I’ll never do it so I’ll wait and wait till they get to my 7″ phablet. I don’t care about thin size, but give me ALL day battery life with full usage. I wear a BT headset so I don’t care what it looks like up to my ear. btw, speaker phone technology is so good you don’t have to put it too your ear.

  • Phil

    I agree with Steve Jobs. Why would anyone wish to have multiple devices? A tablet, a phone, a laptop? I think having them all in one with a bluetooth earpiece would be stellar!

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