Android Central

Is it a phone or a tablet? It's becoming harder to tell these days.

That's one from our own Alex Dobie of the HTC Sensation XL event in London.


Reader comments

Are they phones? Are they tablets?


Okay, someone please just put Honeycomb on a six inch slate and add a dialer.

Oh wait, that's ICS.

In 2007 a big phone was 3.5".
In 2008 a big phone was 3.7".
In 2009 a big phone was 4.0".
In 2010 a big phone was 4.3".
In 2011 a big phone is 4.5".
In 2012 a big phone will be 5.3"

Unless you are Apple, then all phones are made by elves.

I think once you hit 5 inch screens, it becomes a tablet with phone capabilities. Of course this is only my opinion.

I think I agree 5" = Tablet.
I thought my 4" screen on my Epic was perfect (actually the screen size is great) then I saw the Epic Touch and put my phone side by side and my Epic was barely smaller but much thicker cause the keyboard. So if I can get a little bit bigger screen but the phone is right about the same size I can live with that. I just worry about the battery life.

As it stands right now, I don't see any reason I'd want a 7" Tablet with the phones screens being 4+".

I'm thinking the Samsung Galaxy Note (5.3") is about as big as a 'phone' should get - anything in the 7" or higher size is DEFINITELY a tablet.

I checked out my friends Galaxy S2 (the 4.5 inch display) and it's NICE looking. Totally fits in the pocket, too.

If it doesn't fit in my pocket it's a tablet. Of course I've yet to test if a 4.5" Galaxy SII fits. Here's to hoping the new Prime will fit.

Yeah... I remember one friend showing me how his 7" Galaxy Tab fit in his khaki shorts pockets. He never got his calling on it, though, but even if he did, I doubt I'd want a phone THAT big.

I've got an old asus 901n that fits in my can i consider 9" and under tabs to be phones?

No, it really does sound gay. It sounds more like "fabulous" and "tablet" together than it does phone and tablet.

*gay man seal of approval*

There, now no one can yell at you. It's been homo approved by blyan.

Side splitting! I'll tell my gay friends that the phones that I like (read: Galaxy Note) are so gay...then they'll want one to. Now, if the Galaxy Note could be Verizon-gay...

Single hand operation = phone
Otherwise = tablet

Though personally I don't mind a tablet sized phone as long as it fits in my pocket

Difficult to tell, and it's driving me crazy. If this Android phone size fetish keeps up, I'm going to be forced to get an iPhone just so I can have something I can operate with one hand.

I really don't think the new Nexus Prime will be as large as you think. It may pack a stunningly large display, but once you get rid of the physical buttons, it will not seem as massive as it would otherwise be. Best of both worlds

What? They do, plenty of them. And they have ones with slide out keyboards and fixed keyboards. Way more choices. If you wanna find an excuse to go iCrap don't use that one.

I think the sweet spot for phones screens is 4', with 4.3 being the the highest a company should go. Ive been waiting for the Epic Touch 4G for awhile but when I saw Sprint/Samsung went to 4.5, I was disappointed.

Sure its slim, but slim doesn't mean make the phone bigger. Whats wrong with companies these days, it use to be a smaller, pocket size phone is better, now it's a large display is king, but now phones cant fit in our pockets. It sucks most with Android, because all these companies, IE: HTC, Samsung, LG, Moto etc. are all competing against each other, out doing, which means if a company goes 4.3, the next will go 4.5, and than next company will go 4.6, than the next will go 4.7, smh. It's a damn shame because based off this dumb history, 5' and above is around the corner and that's just OD retarded for a phone.

I think Apple got it right, they stuck to 3.5 and just improved the screen display. Im not saying 3.5 is the best size, its too small, 4' is the best which is the next iPhone 5. Stop making your phones so big, and just increase your screen display. The GSII Epic Touch 4G is 4.5 inches, yet is WVGA, wtf? 480x800? Yeah it has Super Amoled Plus, but would be nice to have a qHD display with Super Amoled Plus. Samsung missed the mark or was to stingy/cheap to pump more money into the phone.

HTC Sensation XL is now 4.7, 4.7! Whats that mean? Samsung/Moto/LG have a phone coming that is 4.8, yet our batteries will STILL drain even worse and we will have washed out colors and even bigger dead pixels. Bigger is not better.

You mean if I re-fit my 42" plasma tv so you can pick it up and make calls... you wouldn't want that?

Why not? :(

Same exact thing Ive been thinking. My atrix was perfect. Thinner better screen and camera and I would have kept it.

I agree...these sizes are getting crazy, especially because of the battery drain. IMO the Thunderbolt is too big and bulky...I don't think it's necessarily that the screen size is too big, but that phone is just too big.

I was thinking...does the 4.65" of the new Nexus include the area at the bottom of the screen where the on-screen back, home, and multitask buttons are?

Bigger is better. My definitive statement trumps yours. See how that game works?

Anything less than 4.3 is unacceptable. 3.5 inches is so inadequate. And no it is not right. I love it when they are trying to out compete each other. Cause guess what, we all benefit! When did more choices become a bad thing? You want the world to be full of bland Apple devices?

Is this site being occupied by the Wall Street Occupiers?

Bigger screens do help us 50+ y.o. sight-challenged geezers! I just moved up from my small screen Palm (Not HP) Pre to the Galaxy SII and I can now read it without having to enlarge every screen and scroll back and forth.

That's one of the plus sides to being a girl. We usually don't have pockets. And if we do we can't fit anything in them anyways because our jeans are soo tight. Thank goodness for purses. Honestly more guys need to wear start wearing more man bags. Then phone or tablet it wouldn't matter as it'd still fit :-D.

On a more serious note these phones are getting really big. I didn't mind when I pretty much started having to use my phone with 2 hands. However the way things are going I feel like pretty soon its going to be a kickstands and a Bluetooth keyboard. Might as well be a tablet/computer then.

Your comment is totally INSENSITIVE & OFFENDS me! If you don't have the balls to say what you really meant then don't say them at all. Day in and day out I, as millions of other people, read blog after blog of OTHER people's opinions. And that's what they are, OTHER people opining on a subject of their personal prefernce.

As for my public opinion - other nice things can and do inlcude a girls ass, demeanor, humor, natural beauty, the way she expresses herself, how she looks in a V-kini - or sheer bra & wears. Maybe even her scent, her smile, or the color of her hair. But are these the things you really want to say, I don't think so. Stand up & deliver - the truth shall set you free.

Damnit say TITS if you mean TITS, or breasts for crying out loud. But boobs? A guy can be a boob and hell, can even wear man-bro for his man-breasts. But when you say TITS everyone knows what your talking about, okay? Got that, cool, now on to bigger and better things okay?

Now about these sissy remarks about a phone being to big or if it can fit into your pant pocket. I trust you've packed a roll of quarters in your day haven't you? You know "creamin' in the jeans" yes? Don't be shy - we ALL have!

Have you people ever considered either saying no and not buying that device, or having heard that here in the United States of America we have the FREEDOM OF CHOOSE what we spend our money? Come to think of it, the freedom to choose the phone you'd like is pretty much world wide now isn't it? How about thinking of people with bigger hands or perhaps someone with Arthritis? They would welcome the Galaxy Note from Samsung JUST AS MUCH AS I DO and I'm not afraid to say what I mean.

per chance did you mean "here in the United States of America we have the Freedom of Choice?" because if not, your whole argument just flew out the window just there

Please GO as BIG as you want OEMs, I'm hoping the smaller sized phones will become cheaper, due to this fad. Like mentioned above a 4" screen is a good sized phone, which I would think equals better battery and slightly faster and smoother UI experience, then the same CPU/GPU pushing a 5" and up screen.

I bet if Phone Manufactures stopped fawning over the rapid release of CPUs and bigger screens, and leaned on battery manufactures to create better tech. This might allow the industry to level out, and give the end-user a better overall experience. Then again I am not an expert in this industry, and know not what I am talking about. Just thinking out loud!

my droid X2 seems like a sweet spot for me, I love the feel and screen size. It's really nice, but would have liked a better screen... oh well its still a beast

I used to think 4" was huge, then I got an EVO and i'm loving the large screen. You get used to it. My 2 year old daughter can operate it perfectly (though with 2 hands obviously). It is a stretch to the far corner for your thumb, but very few tasks require that if any. This would have been brutal trying to hit the x (close) button on the upper corner of the old windows mobile phones, but with android, there is nothing vital in the corners. Now i'm happily deciding between the 4.65" Nexus Prime if it comes to sprint or the 4.5" Epic if it doesn't

...i think my GALAXY S2 is perfect size but i would like to try 4.6. I think the GALAXY S3 will be 4.6. Cant wait for that...besides i NEVER carry my phone in my pocket.I love CASES and BELTCLIPS (OTTERBOX/BODYGLOVE).

Ok so I get that size matters. But i'm still a little lost, so is it the length that matters, or is it the thickness and width?

I'll say it. MINE IS BIGGER THAN YOURS ...... My Zoom is long and thick, but certain ports suffered from E.D. in the beginning. E.D.="Electronic Dysfunction"
Just to let you know it can stand up just fine, being as thick as it is.

Bottomline I support innovative technology solutions where manufacturers have good clean respect for eachother a fun experience that is Samsung and Htc nobody beats either one. I applaud Samsung and there innovative ways they are not tied to the court room with useless lawsuits. Samsung has risen the bar there 5.2 inch Galaxy Note is a special device and I believe Htc is now moving in that same direction and I appreciated and applaud that 100%. Next year's EVO BRAND in 2012 will definitely be a 4.7 to 5.0 inch screen device running on a new Snapdragon S4 platform that will have a 1.5Ghz to 2.5Ghz Quadcore processor with 1.5gb of ram with a 10meg camera 16gb of internal storage. 2012 will be about HTC and SAMSUNG nobody will even come close CES in January will be special and so will Mobile World Congress in February 2012. CTIA in May 2012 will show everyone who's BOSS in technology

and now for a more meaningful post: We need some sort of clasifications/standards for this crap. Size may be an acceptable classifaction however I dont think the ability to make and recieve calls is (goes back to the dell streak argument). More fuel to the fire, is an iPod Touch a tablet? What if Apple renamed it the iPad nano? Who should make this decision?

I would buy a 7 inch phablet. If it had bluetooth for taking calls, and let meand a nice business dayplanner type case and could surf web and talk on phone

Now if a device could do what the kyocera 2 screen phone does, but in a way that gives you a more standard widescreen 7" without a line down the middle, then we'd really have a merging of phone and tablet.

I now own the Epic Touch and absolutely love it. The screen size is wonderful. I'm a woman and it fits in my hand just fine. My tablet is getting lonely. I wish my tablet was not WiFi only. As long as it's light weight, call it what you want.

I think we may need a different product type. I like the suggested Phablet!
I agree with many comments here that anything over 5 inches should be considered a Tablet. I have a Samsung Tab (the old 7 inch variety) and certainly would not want to carry it around like a phone. However, I often have it on my desk and would love to use it as a speaker phone.
I can carry my Tab in my pocket but it is too huge to fit comfortably in my hand as a normal phone. I would probably be dropping it or pressing the "End Call" button with my ear.
I also have a Samsung Epic 4G and use it regularly. However, I quit carrying it in a holster because I was always hanging it up as I removed it. That still happens when I remove it from my pocket but less frequently.

Just upgraded from the iphone 4 to the lg thrill 4g. loving the big screen. my next phone will have a screen size of upwards of 4.7 inches i am sure if things keep going the way they are but that is good in my opinion because i have big fingers. oh yeah and i dont care how big the galaxy note is as long as it is super thin which is a given for samsung.

Meh, my nook color fits in the pocket of all my pants and shorts. I'd still call it a tablet.

First... phablets? Nice.

Second... I have long fingers so a 4.3" or 4.5" phone is perfect. I bet I would be fine with a 5" screen as long as the bezel isn't super wide. I didn't like using my wife's iPhone because I had to keep it on my fingers rather than my palm so my thumb could comfortably touch both the near and far sides of the screen. Now that my wife switched to Android (just 4 days ago and she loves it), a 4" screen is about as big as she can use with her small hands. I just hope that there are still 4" Android phones when her contract is up so she doesn't go back to a fruit phone. As far as tablets go, I like the 7" variety and use a pen to take notes in meetings. If the new Viewsonic 7x turns out to be nice and has the phone capabilities like its predecessor, I may just try ditching the phone all together for a bit. I'd just hate to have a Bluetooth headset with me all the time.

Third... Tablone? Plural Tablonies?

I am thinking 5" will be the sweet spot for me. 5.5" at the largest but its hard to make them too big in my opinion!