Best Phablet 2018: Which big phone should you buy?

Best phablet 2018: All the best big phones reviewed and ranked

Looking to get a new big-screened phone? Then you’re in luck. Below you can see our pick of the best devices currently available, as well as an explanation of how we picked them out. All the smartphones in the list below feature a screen that’s in excess of 5.5 inches, the minimum size we’d look for in a phablet.

How we chose the best phablets

best overall android phone

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

Right now, the best overall Android phone if money is no object is the Galaxy S9 Plus. The 6.2-inch OLED screen is beautiful and the overall design remains appealing. Performance is no slouch and the cameras are also excellent. The dual aperture lens make the low-light performance excellent, too.

£869.00

Every one of the phablets here is put through the same series of tests. These include a combination of real-world use cases and repeatable benchmark tests for battery, camera and processor. You might also want to determine how your phone will cope with a Netflix binge or video call, so our battery-discharge tests take that into account, too.

Related: Best smartphones

In fact, we take these phones out and use them as our own over an extended period, living with them to learn their quirks and discover their hidden treasures.

So now you know how we select the best smartphones, let’s take a look at our highlights.

Related: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S9

Pros:

  • Feels great for a big phone
  • Fantastic OLED
  • Plenty of camera features

Cons:

  • Iterative update
  • AR Emoji needs work

What makes a perfect phone even better? Enlarge the screen into phablet territory, of course. The only real difference this year between the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and the 5.8-inch S9 is the larger screen, albeit with a beefier battery to keep the lights on.

There’s a beautifully vibrant AMOLED, WQHD+ Infinity Display that shines even more so when you’re playing games and streaming Netflix or YouTube.

Consider the sharp dual 12-megapixel snapper, svelte chassis and larger panel and this is the best phablet you can buy right now – although the Note 9 might change the stakes once we’ve put that through its paces.

OnePlus 6

OnePlus 6

Pros:

  • Lovely design
  • Great version of Android
  • Affordable
  • Dash Charge

Cons:

  • Camera still needs work

If you’re looking for a phablet that won’t break the bank, then look no further than the OnePlus 6.

The biggest update to this device is the display, which now stretches nearly edge-to-edge and features a notch. The aluminium body of the 5T has been swapped out, meaning the 6 is yet another flagship to tote a glass-backed design, making it feel more expensive than it is – and there’s that AMOLED panel, too. The camera on the rear of the device packs dual sensors, with one dedicated to aiding the improved portrait mode.

There’s also a super-quick Snapdragon 845 processor running the show – just like the (US version of the) Samsung Galaxy S9 – and this is paired with 6GB or 8GB of RAM.

Simply put: for the money, there’s no better Android phablet you can buy today.

Huawei Mate 10

Pros:

  • Good camera
  • Great performance
  • Excellent battery life

Cons:

  • Not available in the UK

The 3.5mm headphone jack is rapidly going the way of the Dodo. Since Apple chose to cut the connector from its iPhones, pretty much every Android smartphone maker has started to do the same – which is a real pain for anyone who’s invested in a decent set of cabled headphones.

Huawei’s Mate 10 is one of the few phablets to retain the input, making it a contender for music fans unwilling to make the jump to wireless – or deal with the faff of USB-C converters.

Luckily, the connector isn’t the only good thing about the Mate 10. The phablet sports the same beautiful design as its slightly more luxurious sibling, the Mate 10 Pro.

Under the hood, you’ll find the same super-fast Kirin 970 CPU and a gigantic 4000mAh battery. The above-average dual-lens rear sensor pairs a 12-megapixel colour camera with a dedicated 20-megapixel monochrome sensor.

The only slight issue is that you’ll have to import the phone into the UK – Huawei isn’t currently selling the regular Mate 10 here. But considering its lower price (roughly £530 after import), these are small sacrifices to be made in the name of the hallowed 3.5mm.

Related: Huawei Mate 20 rumours

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Galaxy Note 8

Pros:

  • Stunning design and build
  • Great screen
  • The S-Pen

Cons:

  • Disappointing battery life
  • Expensive

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is the original phablet and remains the best – or at least it did until Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 9. Until the 9 arrives in stores, however, the Note 8 is still one of the only devices of this ilk that really makes full use of that huge display, not least because of the S-Pen with which you can jot down notes.

That 6.3-inch screen is stunning thanks to AMOLED tech and HDR support, and it remains one of our favourite screens on any device. The Snapdragon 835/Exynos 8895 CPU plus 6GB of RAM also makes it snappy in use.

The dual 12-megapixel cameras are great too, the software is much-improved, and Samsung’s industrial design is fantastic.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Pros:

  • Great screen
  • Pretty design
  • Strong camera

Cons:

  • EMUI

The Huawei Mate 10 Pro is the flagship in Huawei’s current phablet lineup, sitting above the company’s regular Mate 10, which isn’t being sold in the UK.

This phone features some of the best hardware we’ve seen in a phablet. The HDR-ready FHD+ OLED screen is one of 2017’s finest, and coupled with the phone’s near-bezel-less design, makes streaming video and playing games a pleasure.

Add to this the gigantic 4000mAh battery and super-speedy Kirin processor, and the Mate 10 Pro easily earns a place among 2018’s best phablets.

The only slight downsides to the phone are its use of Huawei’s Emotion UI, which adds a lot of unwanted bloat and the impending arrival of its successor, the rumoured Mate 20 Pro, as well as Samsung’s newly-announced Galaxy Note 9.

Google Pixel 2 XL

Pixel 2 XL

Pros:

  • Stunning camera
  • Great version of Android
  • Feels great

Cons:

  • Poor screen

The Google Pixel 2 XL improves on the first in a number of ways – but mostly, it just looks a whole lot better. The thin bezel around the 6-inch OLED display is modern, proving a huge screen in a device that’s comfortable in the hand.

But it’s the software that really wins here. Google’s approach to Android is fantastic, and the Assistant is an AI that’s already better than Apple’s Siri. The whole OS feels fluid and quick, and it’s far more attractive than Samsung’s TouchWiz.

The camera is stunning, too. It’s a 12-megapixel single sensor that takes brilliant photos in all conditions, and it’s packed with portrait mode tricks too. The Google Pixel 3 XL is supposedly just around the corner though, so like the Note 8 and Mate 10/Mate 10 Pro, its days are very much numbered.

iPhone 8 Plus

iPhone X vs iPhone 8 Plus

Pros:

  • Great screen
  • Qi charging is nice to have
  • Super speakers

Cons:

  • Very heavy
  • Boring design
  • No OIS on the secondary camera

Apple’s latest phablet looks just like the 6S Plus and 7S Plus, but there are plenty of features still worth getting excited about with the iPhone 8 Plus and it’s easily still one of the best phablets on the list.

On the rear of the device, you’ll find two 12-megapixel sensors that add depth to photos and let you zoom in without the loss of quality.

Apple has improved performance, too, upping the CPU to an A11 Bionic chip that’s built for AR gaming. Storage starts at 64GB, up from 32GB.

The 5.5-inch 1080p display is smaller than many on this list, even though the phone itself is bigger – but it’s still one of the best. The DCI-P3 colour gamut offers up a wider array of hues and it’s perfect for videos and games. There’s Apple’s True Tone tech in there too, which adapts the colour temperature to the environment you’re in.

The battery is excellent, seeing you through two days most of the time.

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