This year was a pretty big year for Phablets as some call it. For those that don’t know what a “phablet” is, it’s the bigger phones, normally 5.5-inches or larger. Of course Samsung unofficially started that trend in 2011, with the original Galaxy Note. While Dell actually started it with their Streak 5, back in June 2010. Up until this year, if you wanted a larger phone, your only real choice was the Galaxy Note line of phones. But in 2013, HTC, Sony, Huawei, and LG all came out with their own phablets. Heck, even Nokia made a Windows Phone phablet. The first phablet announced this year was the Huawei Ascend Mate, at 6.1-inches. It was a pretty large phone, but I was actually pleasantly surprised when I reviewed it earlier this year. Then came the LG Optimus G Pro. This was the first phone that was available in the US that legitimately became a competitor to the (at the time) Galaxy Note 2. While many people thought it was just a copy of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2, it was a great phone, which I also reviewed earlier this year. Then came out the Xperia Z Ultra from Sony, which is a 6.4-inch device, and the HTC One Max, which is a 5.9-inch device – but it’s closer to a 6.3-inch because of the front-facing Boomsound Speakers.
Runner Up: LG Optimus G Pro
As we stated above, the LG Optimus G Pro was an amazing device. It was actually my first LG flagship I had ever used, well besides the Nexus 4. I had heard so many bad things about LG devices, but the Optimus G Pro proved all of those wrong. The LG Optimus G Pro features a 5.5-inch 1080p IPS+ display. And damn is it amazing. It launched on Android 4.1.2, which wasn’t bad considering at the time the Nexus family was on Android 4.2.2. It also had the Snapdragon 600 and a 3140mAh battery inside. That battery was simply amazing. During the time I was reviewing the device, I was able to get a good 1.5-2 days on battery, and that was on 4G LTE on AT&T’s network. The LG Optimus G Pro also had some nice features, nothing like the Galaxy Note 3 though. The main reason why it’s not the top phablet of the year is because of the exclusivity LG gave to AT&T. Here in the US, the LG Optimus G Pro was only available on AT&T. Which sucks. An amazing phone, stuck on one carrier out of four major carriers. Although it seems LG learned their lesson as they have the LG G2 on all four carriers right now.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 3
No surprise here. Now I’ll admit, that I’m not a huge Samsung fan. But the Galaxy Note 3 was a pretty amazing device. Now while it’s not my device of choice, it is a great device, and one that has probably sold 20 million or more by now. The Galaxy Note 3 has a 5.7-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display. Now I know what you’re thinking (well if you’re like me) and the fact that AMOLED is not the best display. Well it isn’t, but I will say compared to AMOLED displays on Samsung’s 2012 devices, the AMOLED display on the Galaxy Note 3 is much better. In fact, you can even see it outside without putting it at full brightness. The Galaxy Note 3 is also the first phone or tablet to feature 3GB of RAM. Now why do you need 3GB of RAM? I honestly have no idea. In the time that I had the Galaxy Note 3, I never came close to using all of it, even though Touchwiz uses up a good chunk. It’s also got the Snapdragon 800 which can clock up to 2.3GHz. That’s an insane speed for a mobile device. But it also makes the Galaxy Note 3 fly through stuff, maybe not fly as much as other phones with the Snapdragon 800, but it’s still plenty fast.
Now the real reason why we chose the Galaxy Note 3 as the winner. The software. While we aren’t fans of how Touchwiz looks, Samsung does have some nice features in Touchwiz that work really well on the larger screen. Some of my favorites are Pen Window and Multi Window. Which brings multi-tasking to a whole other level. There are plenty of other features as well as the S Pen stylus, which a few of our writers love.
In your opinion, what’s the best Android phablet of 2013? Let us know in the comments below.