When to consider a smartphone, a tablet


Smaller phones used to be the trend most companies were trying to set and follow. But recently, it's been the bigger, the better. Devices like the Dell Streak and the Motorola Droid X have taken larger, high-definition screens to the next level. 

But eventually, there is a line that is crossed for when a device is considered either a large smartphone or a small tablet. What is that line?

Today, the majority of smartphones are equipped with screens that measure 4.3" or smaller (with the exception of the aforementioned Streak). Tablets start at roughly 7". But for the devices that fall between those two screen sizes, it's hard to tell what exactly they are. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is widely considered a tablet, especially because of its name. But it has a lot of functionality which resembles that of a smartphone. Namely, it can call people using a voice plan from a variety of carriers.

On top of that, simply the design makes it hard to distinguish between the two. When someone holds a device the size of the Streak, you assume that it's a tablet and they're trying to get work done. And when they put it up to their face, it consumes about half of it. Also, a device that size weighs more than a typical smartphone, and you get very tired holding it up to your face. 

In my opinion, that little section between large smartphone and small tablet should actually be left to the latter. What are your opinions on it?

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Calob Horton

Calob Horton is an associate editor at Pocketables. He loves all technology, no matter which company it comes from. This unbiased view of the tech world allows him to choose the products that best fit his personal needs and tastes: a Microsoft Surface Pro, a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and a third-gen iPad.Google+ | Twitter | More posts by Calob | Subscribe to Calob's posts

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5 thoughts on “When to consider a smartphone, a tablet

  • I think there should be a seperate designation for these smaller tablets. Pocket Tablets or PTs should be any tablet between the sizes of 4.8 and 7 inches. This would set the maximum size of a Phone at 4.7 inches and a the minimum size of a Tablet at 7.1 inches. I think this would resolve the blurry lines between what is really a phone and what is really a tablet. I wish the Galaxy Tab had 3G voice out of the box in North America. I would have had one.

  • Isn’t that size device already called a MID?

  • mobile Internet device (MID) doesn’t have a specific size. UMPCs on the on the other hand did have a range. MID is just a term like Slate.

  • The split in size should be at 6″. Below 6″ (with a small enough bezel) will fit in the pocket and can be categorized as a phone. I still like to think of them as Pocket PCs. Those 6″ and bigger (upto <9") should be categorized as a tablets or MIDs.
    Personally, I think pockets in Trousers (Pants for US) and Jackets are two ways of defining size. The next size up (9" and bigger) requires a Bag. These are your pads, netbooks, mini-(or sub)notebooks. This is upto 12". Above this is a laptop.
    Obviously pure screen size isn't the real factor - merely a clue as to size. Size, I think, has a huge impact on use, portability and therefore usage and ultimately categorisation.

  • Aren’t weight and resolution more important than screen size?
    To me categories are:
    up to 120g – always with you, pokcetable,
    up to 250g – often with you, pocketable,
    up to 500g – sometimes with you, “big pocket able”. (e.g. Fujitsu UH900, 5,6″ screen)
    You can assign screen sizes and resolutions to each of the categories easily.

    Above 500g are not pocketable and I thing really interesting screen sizes there starts at 12″ (or 10″ with more limited use).

    Basically this corresponds with previous comment of Vakeros.


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