Even though American PC maker Dell pioneered the big-screen smartphone revolution in 2010 with the launch of the first 5.0-inch handset, Streak 5, it failed to capture the attention of consumers like Samsung did with the Galaxy Note series.
Since the successful launch of the first Galaxy Note in 2011, Samsung continues to dominate this niche handset segment, now known as 'phablet'.
The year 2013 saw Samsung's rivals - Sony, HTC, LG and former leader Nokia coming out with high-end phablets, giving stiff competition to the reigning smartphone leader.
Here is the chronology of phablet launched in the year 2013:
LG Optimus G Pro:
Samsung's South Korean counterpart LG launched its first phablet of the year Optimus G Pro in February.
- One of the first 5.5-inch smartphone to boast full HD phone display with pixel density of 400 ppi (pixels per inch)
- 2GB RAM, 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 series quad-core processor.
- Smart-gesture features - Smart Video; Camera apps like dual-camera recording, QRemote for using smartphone as smart TV remote controller
- 13.0-megapixel main camera and 2.1-megapixel front camera
It is available at online stores and local retail shops for around ₹29,500.
Sony Xperia Z Ultra:
Like LG, Sony also brought its first flagship phablet Xperia Z Ultra in the market in June.
- 6.4-inch full HD display with pixel density of 342 ppi
- The device is one of the first phablets to boast of a 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 series quad-core CPU. It also features 2GB RAM.
- 8.0-megapixel main camera and 2.2-megapixel snapper on the front
- It also the only branded phablet (5.0-inch plus size) to boast of IP55/IP58 dust-proof and water-resistant certifications
It is available in the market for around ₹45,000
Samsung Galaxy Note 3:
Undisputed phablet leader, Samsung pulled the wraps off its 2013 flagship device Galaxy Note 3 in September this year. The new handset's display size was incremented and came with a fancy faux leather stitching to cover the plastic shell.
- 5.7-inch full HD Super AMOLED display with pixel density 388 ppi
- 3GB RAM (except Galaxy J and Galaxy Round, no other branded smartphone boasts this feature)
- It is available in two variants 3G (Exynos 5 Octa-core processor) and 4G-LTE (2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 series CPU)
- It houses 13.0-megapixel main camera with 4K video recording (feature only available in LTE variant), 2.0-megapixel front camera and also features smart-camera gesture features like smart dial, smart video pause, smart scrolling and more.
- It features S Pen functionality such as Air Command, Action Memo, Scrapbook, Screen Write, S Finder, Pen Window S Note, Multi Window, new Easy Clip, Direct Pen Input.
In India, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is priced around ₹43,500.
HTC One Max:
Buoyed by the huge success of its smartphone HTC One, the Taiwanese firm introduced the blown-up version of the flagship device dubbed as HTC One Max.
- 5.9-inch Super LCD 3 full HD (1920x1080p) display with pixel density of 367 ppi
- Finger print-sensor on the back-side below camera module (HTC One Max is one of the only two handsets in the market to come with this feature. Apple iPhone 5S is first to come with this biometric technology)
- 2GB RAM, 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 series CPU
- Innovative 2.0-Ultra-pixel (equivalent to 4.0-megapixel) camera and 2.1-megapixel front camera
Currently, HTC One Max price is hovering around ₹54,000 in the Indian market.
Nokia Lumia 1520:
Former phone leader Nokia was a bit late to enter the phablet segment, but has made a strong comeback with the launch of Lumia 1520. It is the company's most powerful and biggest smartphone since its inception.
- 6.0-inch full HD AMOLED display with pixel density of 368 ppi
- 2GB RAM, 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 series quad-core processor
- 20-megapixel main camera with 6-element Carl Zeiss lenses, OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) and 1.2-megapixel camera on the front
- Sturdy unibody shell made of tough polycarbonate material
Nokia India is expected to launch Lumia 1520 along with its budget variant Lumia 1320 at an event in New Delhi next week (16 December). Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320 are expected to be priced $749 (₹46,554) and $339 (₹21,063), respectively (excluding local taxes).
Apart from normal big-screen phablets, the current year also witnessed the advent of a curved display phone. South Korean tech giants Samsung and LG made remarkable stride in the smartphone flexible screen technology.
Samsung Galaxy Round:
Samsung's flagship Galaxy Round made its debut in early October this year.
- 5.7-inch curved (horizontal) full HD Super AMOLED display
- With curved display, it comes with innovative features like 'Roll Effect', 'Gravity Effect', 'Bounce UI' and 'Side Mirror' [For more information, Click Here]
- 3GB RAM, 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 series CPU
- 13.0-megapixel main camera and a 2.0-megapixel front camera
- Only available in South Korea for 1,089,000 Won (approximately ₹62,945 in terms of Indian denomination).
LG G Flex:
The new phone G Flex made its debut in late October in South Korea. Touted as the 'real-curved' smartphone, the device has an ergonomically designed vertical curved body to minimise the distance between the phone's microphone and the user when held against the ear.
- 6.0-inch curved (vertical) P-OLED HD (720x1280p) display with pixel density of 245 ppi
- 2GB RAM, 2.26GHz Snapdragon 800 series CPU
- 13.0-megapixel main camera and a 2.1 -megapixel snapper on the front
- Other than curved display, it also boasts of another striking feature - self-healing back cover. The glossy shell is made of elastic plastic material coated capable of self-fixing minor nicks and scratches within seconds. (Warmer the environment, faster the healing process)
LG's curved phone G Flex will be made available in India in February 2014 for around ₹60,000 to ₹65,000.