Supersize me: Giants of the smartphone world (pictures)
Supersize me: Giants of the smartphone world
Humongous smartphones. Phablets. Call them what you will, it's evident that the trend of ultralarge phone displays over 5 inches is here to stay. Travel back in time with us, from some of the most recent to the first of their kind.
Talk about surprise. The 6-inch ZTE Grand X Max+ didn't make a stellar first impression, but after spending some quality time with this well-priced phablet (now on sale in the US and other markets), the Max+ has really grown on us.
It's been a long time since we've seen a smartphone screen size balloon to 6 inches, but the Motorola-made Google Nexus 6 has that dubious honor. More or less an inflated version of the likable Moto X (second generation), the Nexus 6 really is a darn big phone; one that's stuffed with high-end features as well.
For the Note's fourth anniversary, Samsung kept its Galaxy Note 4 at 5.7 inches. Instead of increasing screen size, the vendor focused on refining the stylus-equipped device with the most competitive specs and a few new software capabilities.
With the Note 4 under way, the arrival of the more expensive Samsung's Galaxy Note Edge came as somewhat of a surprise. A curved portion of the display acts as a second screen for launching apps and viewing notifications, but it also turns into a menu strip when you open certain apps.
The way Apple carried on about its 4-inch phones, it's almost a wonder that the iPhone 6 Plus is here at all. The 5.5-inch screen is Apple's biggest yet -- by a long shot -- and also has the iPhone's most advanced camera, one that comes in optical image stabilization.
LG's 5.5-inch G3 is a smartphone beast that finally shows what LG can do. It's one of the first phones to have a 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution, plus a 13-megapixel camera and ultrafast quad-core processor.
Start with the G3 and turn it down a couple notches. What you're left with is the LG G Vista. Sold in the US with Verizon, it houses a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 8-megapixel camera. The 5.5-inch screen drops down to a 720p HD resolution, making the Vista a much more budget option for those on the hunt for a large-screen phone.
The 6.1-inch Huawei Ascend Mate 2 4G steps up the Mate line in this sequel with LTE support, Android 4.3, a quad-core processor, and a 13-megapixel camera. The 5-megapixel front-facing camera is also an impressive spec.
As if taking a bow, the LG G Flex folds its 6-inch OLED display forward toward its toes. Strangely featuring Android 4.2, the G Flex has LTE, a 13-megapixel camera, and a 3,500mAh arched battery developed by LG Chem. No longer limited to South Korea alone, you can also buy the Flex stateside with AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.
The 6-inch Vivo Xplay 3S may never leave China, but it did earn bragging rights for being the first smartphone with a 2K resolution display (2,560x1,440 pixels). High-flying specs make it on par with the Huawei Ascend Mate 2 4G in the previous slide.
Start with a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and bend it slightly from edge to edge. This, in a nutshell, is the Samsung Galaxy Round, the electronics giant's twist on smartphone displays. Like the LG G Flex, the Round uses a flexible AMOLED display that Samsung helped pioneer. While sales appear to be limited to South Korea where the G Flex is not, the Round is the better phone of the two.
The first large-form Windows Phone sports all the high-end specs you'd want to see, including a 20-megapixel camera, a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, and a full-HD screen. We take you into the slim, stylish Nokia Lumia 1520 here.
The HTC One Max retains the same aluminum body as the original, but then adds in a fingerprint scanner on the back, and a microSD card slot. The larger screen size isn't as sharp as the original One, and all that premium metal makes for a heavy-handed experience. The phone also oddly loses Beats Audio. Check out our One Max review.
The third iteration of Samsung's Note line, the Note 3 brings on the muscle with a 5.7-inch display and top-shelf hardware, including a 1080p HD screen resolution, a quad-core LTE processor, and the same 13-megapixel camera seen in the Galaxy S4 flagship.
A bounty of software to support the stylus -- including a terrific redo of the S Note app -- make this the most useful phablet around. Read the pros and cons of Samsung's all-around excellent Galaxy Note 3.
Somehow, the Samsung Galaxy Mega's rounded edges make its undeniably oversize dimensions easier to palm. Videos and images viewed on its 6.3-inch, 720p HD screen are notably noisier and fuzzier than watching the same videos on incredibly dense superphones with smaller screens (like the Galaxy S4 and HTC One), but the price -- about $150 on contract -- makes the phone a budget bargain. Read our full Samsung Galaxy Mega review to find out if this phablet's right for you.
A relative phablet pipsqueak at 5.2 inches, the LG G2 is the phone-maker's most ambitious model yet. And yes, with its screen size larger than 5 inches, it's absolutely in phablet territory. Piling on a 1080p HD display, a 13-megapixel camera, and a powerful quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, LG is revving its engine to compete against its most deadly rival, Samsung. Read our full LG G2 review.
The second in the series, Samsung's Galaxy Note 2 pushed the envelope at its October 2012 release with a 5.5-inch screen and more-streamlined productivity tools with its stylus. Now that the Galaxy Note 3 has been revealed, the Note 2 will become the bargain version of the Note line.
Measuring 6.1 inches, the Huawei Ascend Mate reigned as the largest phone around when we first saw it at CES this past January. Enormous by any standard, the Mate's best feature is in showcasing Huawei's inventive Emotion interface. Read all about the Huawei Ascend Mate and its fun UI.