With the recent barrage of smartphones, phablets, and tablets hitting the market recently, it seems appropriate to break things down a bit to put items in their proper perspective, lest we become confused, as many customers are today when they walk into an electronics store to shop. The size offerings of the various manufacturers have clouded the line between phone and tablet and one must understand what they're buying.
Smartphones are phones that make voice calls and text messages. Tablets are handheld PCs that process data. . . or so it seemed. With more offerings coming our way, there has become a new niche due to the varying screen sizes available. This new niche is the phablet. A phablet is a hybrid that can make regular phone calls since it has a smartphone form factor, but it also has a larger display than the average smartphone, between 5 and 7 inches. If you frequently surf the Web, play games and videos, the phablet is for you. Although phablets only constitute 3% of the total market, the beauty of that larger display size attracted 25 million sales in 2012, and many predict that number will climb steadily upward.
Tablet Strengths and Limitations
Remember that tablets are not phones per se. The don't make voice calls or text messages, although you can make some types of calls using software, as with Skype. There are also apps that will enable you to make land-line/mobile calls. SIM card swap-outs from phone to an iPad tablet are possible provided you are using software. Some have a costly fee; it is not cheap. The tablet is a versatile portable PC that allows you to use more sophisticated applications, surf the Web, and watch videos and movies.
The attractiveness of the tablet is that they are generally cheaper when purchasing a carrier's plan than a smartphone. The carrier Sprint offers some choices in the $25-30 dollar range for a tablet data plan, which is very attractive to many customers. Of course the amount of data transferred determines the price point, and Sprint as well as other carriers, offer varying choices in this area.
Phablet vs Smartphone Question
The question is not about whether you should buy a phablet or a tablet. The question you need to ask yourself is should I buy a phablet or a smartphone. Phablets and tablets are very distinct devices, with clear functions. A phablet is really a phone that is used more for making daily routine phone calls. A tablet is a handheld PC used for sophisticated applications that need a larger screen for displaying graphics.
Now that you understand the nuances of shopping in this niche of high-tech electronics, you should be able to fully understand what you're buying. I will not go into the carriers since their pricing varies throughout the market. Do your homework on the carriers available in your area, compare plans, and decide what plan features are most important to you. If you're looking for the least expensive carrier, many believe that Sprint would be your choice. Sprint has been slow to implement their 4G LTE service so make sure you check for coverage before deciding. Verizon and AT&T both have good 4G LTE service, so you need to look at the choices offered and decide based on what you value the most for plan features.