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back to article Ten smartphones with tablet ambitions...

How we all laughed when Samsung launched the Galaxy Note toward the end of 2011. Who could possibly want a phone with a 5.3-inch screen? It turned out rather a lot of people did, and the unqualified success of the 4.8-inch Galaxy S III and 5.6-inch Galaxy Note 2 proved that what many punters want is a phone with a really, really …

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Ru

Funny thing, fashion

I picked up my Dell Streak 5 dead cheap cos the idea of a phone that big or a tablet that small was frankly laughable at the time. Shame it was so difficult to upgrade the OS, mind you...

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Paris Hilton

Re: Funny thing, fashion

On a related note, I read the name of Asus' handset three times before figuring it's called the 'P'adFone, and not 'F'adFone as I first thought.

The mind, it plays tricks.

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Anonymous Coward

People used to laugh at the size of my smart phone.

Phones were getting smaller, but the Nokia smartphones were getting bigger.

People waving their tiny phones about like a little thong compared to my granny-pants of a device, laughing at the space taken up by mine.

Now everyone wants a massive phone and think they are cool.

I'm a trend setter, but just too ahead of my time.

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Re: People used to laugh at the size of my smart phone.

Exactly the same for me. I had a Sony Ericsson P900, and a P990. Fantastic bricks.

Everyone thought it was large. Now, as you say, everyone wants a brick.

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Re: People used to laugh at the size of my smart phone.

quote: "Everyone thought it was large. Now, as you say, everyone wants a brick."

Actually, what they want is a massive screen; what they will put up with to have one is a big phone (as long as it is light). If they can make a 3" phone with a fold-out 7" screen it'll outsell everything, IMO.

I'm thinking that Asus should do a companion PadPhone with a smaller phone (3"ish) and a 7" plugin (plugout?) screen... I can see a lot of people accepting that as a viable tradeoff of easy to carry phone vs decent screen size when you want it. The phablet equivalent of the laptop docking station and 23" monitor ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: People used to laugh at the size of my smart phone.

I had a 9110 and 9210 communicator largely for the proper keyboard, texting was fun on those.

Plus WAV ringtones instead of those godawful mono bleep ringtones.

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Re: People used to laugh at the size of my smart phone.

The want a paving slab, not a brick. Big screen is good, but it needs to be as thin as possible while not compromising battery life.

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Star N9770

I have a variant of the Kogan Agora, the Star N9770. Slight differences are JB 4.1.1, not ICS, 3200 mAh battery rather than 2000 mAh (two batteries supplied in the box) and allegedly an 8MP camera (although there is some confusion on this point). As with the Agora, it is SIM free and dual SIM slot (1 slot is 3G, the other GSM only)

I find it runs perfectly well, and can do a whole day with all the bells and whistles turned on, and about 3 days if you shut everything down (data / wifi / BT / screen illumination all off)

Build quality is no worse than some other more expensive phones I've owned (SGS & Pre I'm looking at you), and the bonus of an extra battery and a integrated battery cover & microfibre front screen cover as well as a separate battery cover, means that I don't even have to buy a case for it.

Shipping was 9 days from order to door delivery, no import duty or extra delivery charges. Same price as the Kogan.

GPS is prone to dropping or taking a while to acquire a lock, but then my SGS was no better and it cost 3 times as much. I use the GSM slot with a network SIM and have Samba data only SIM running in the other slot. Therefore I have a free source of unlimited 3G data and a cheap voice contract in the other slot.

What's not to like?

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I like both the price and the dual SIM

Frankly, I think the lack of dual SIM device on the market is evidence that device availability is driven by network operators rather than client demand, so I'm going to watch that device very carefully.

At that price I may just get one to play with - the shiny stuff is insanely expensive in comparison.

Having said that, there are some pretty interesting devices coming onto the market so very happy with the article as both an overview and an update :)

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Terminator

Re: I like both the price and the dual SIM

I'm also keeping my eyes out on something like the Yuntab P500. If it turns out as good as it looks, I might be able to ditch ("gently retire") my P990. I had an old Cect P168 but it would only have one active SIM at a time, and suffered an accident involving water and quite a lot of quicksand-type mud.

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Anonymous Coward

Any word on whether any of the new crop of "phablets" have any of the features of the note 2? Things like pop-out browsers and video screens, and split-screen apps. They're what make the note 2 really shine. Not much point having >5" of screen if you can only do one thing at a time with it.

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Joke

I had loads of split screen apps after I dropped it..

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Would be nice if Samsung released the split screen as a patch for the Galaxy Tab 2.

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Don't know if you'll get it, but my Note 1 just did an update that gave it split screen (also the very, very handy feature that it can tell when you are reading the screen, so doesn't keep turning it off). I know that the SGSII update didn't get the split screen though, so you'll have to wait and see.

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I'm waiting for the update to my Note 1, but I'm on EE, and I understand that they are slow to push updates through.

Only six months on the warranty, then time to start rooting and getting updates when I'm ready.

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Meh

Re: No Nokia in this roundup then.

I was just thinking, what we need here is for a total dickwad to post something entirely unrelated to any of the phones in this article and not even related to the category they fall into.

And reliably enough, there's Eadon.

While you're here, perhaps you could drop into http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/02/27/mastercard_masterpass_drives_into_mobile_payments/ and make a "joke" about how those new Mastercard and Visa "payments" don't make you "pay" remotely as much as using Windows! Ho ho fucking ho.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No Nokia in this roundup then.

He's not even a good troll. Just a socially awkward moron who rarely leaves the house.

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Re: a socially awkward moron who rarely leaves the house

Hey! I resemble that remark... :(

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Pint

Re: No Nokia in this roundup then.

@ dogged

We're all so with you on this, have one

<----

Young Eadon should take a chill pill first, then either get his lobotomy reversed, or his wisdom teeth put back in!

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Re: No Nokia in this roundup then.

or his wisdom teeth put back in

He'd have to grow them in the first place. Along with the rest of his adult teeth...

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jai
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Take two devices into the shower?

No, I just take one HUGE one that's too big to fit into the shower anyway!

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Piano player, I ain't

I have a enough trouble using a Galaxy S2 with one hand. My thumb barely reaches the other side of the screen and often bumps the back button.

Unfortunate that the PadFone 2 is even bigger, otherwise it would be perfect solution. I'd like to have something the size of (or smaller than) a Nexus S, but powerful enough to drive the 10" tablet when plugged in.

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Re: Piano player, I ain't

I must say I don't understand that. Surely the point of having a phone with a tablet to slot into is that all the big stuff can be handled by the tablet screen. Which allows you to make the phone a bit smaller. I still make more calls than I use data, so I want a phone that's comfortable to hold up to my ear for long periods while I try to solve ridiculous engineering problems with guys on noisy building sites. It's good to shout...

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Re: Piano player, I ain't

Whilst I don't have any problems with the Note 1 (I can easily reach across the screen, but don't - if I used it one-handed it would be damaged or lost by now!), I do like the idea of a phone small enough to go on a belt-holster without too much overhang that can be docked with a 7" or 10" screen for other use. I'm keeping an eye on this format for the replacement of the Note when it becomes necessary.

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Re: Piano player, I ain't

I quite like the idea of a dumbphone, perhaps with all the smartphone internals, but maybe just the radios. This then docks with a tablet - which has the screen, and whatever bits don't fit in the phone.

I'd like it to be a Motorola RAZR V3 shaped, clamshell phone with at least the radios and GPS, which can do email, calendar and contact synching with MS Exchange plus some combination of CardDAV/IMAP/EAS/CalDAV to deal with my personal stuff. Link that to a relatively dumb tablet or phablet sized thingy to do the pretty-pretty, handle media content, web-surfing and maybe act as the map screen - and I'd be very happy indeed.

Or maybe the tablet should be the boss, and the phone merely the dumb terminal. I'm not quite sure the best way to make it work, but the problem with modern smartphones is that they're getting worse as phones, as they become better mobile computers.

Maybe this is just me having a problem, as apparently data usage is rapidly overtaking voice calling. But for work, my phone gets much more call usage than data - and that's still true for our road-warriors as well. It's dead useful to have my emails on it, but if I could have a WiFi hotspot mode on a dumbphone, I'd be very tempted to abandon smartphones as a bad job. If only the manufacturers didn't seem to have murdered the flip-phone, even though it's the most ergonomically sensible shape for a mobile phone.

Those 2 RAZRs, despite their several faults, were the nicest phones I've ever used. I abandoned the smartphone in about 2004 (having had a Sony Ericsson P800), and went back to dumphone and Filofax, then replaced with a tablet. I've now had an HTC Wildfire, Nokia Lumia 710 and an iPhone 5, and there are still many times I think I'd be better with a dumbphone that could do email, a Filofax and paper maps.

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Another vote for the old RAZR physical format

The physical format of the v3i was as close to perfect as I've ever had a clamshell. Mechanics as well as design dimensions were *just* right. All it needed was (a) a non-shiny keyboard and (b) a decent OS and it would have been perfect, also because it could go for days on a *removable* battery. Which reminds me, I better buy a new battery for mine before they can no longer be bought.

It also had another good thing: the top display. It was far more discrete than your smartphone popping up a window over the screen lock and announcing to the world that ex no2 is calling..

If someone would buy that specific design and put a better OS in it I would buy it immediately.

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Re: Another vote for the old RAZR physical format

I've probably got a spare somewhere. When I got the V3i, I gave the old V3 to friends, who had it stolen from them in Nigeria. I would have gone back to the V3i, in despair at not being able to find a decent replacement, but unfortunately my 2 year old nephew found it - and it's gone to join the choir invisible.

It was just so pleasant to hold in the hand, the speaker covered your ear, and the mic was near your mouth - so the call quality was naturally good. Plus it fitted in your pocket perfectly and you couldn't accidentally press any buttons, them being covered up. With modern tech you could probably get Android and a 3" screen on one, which would be enough for email, and some apps - with all the heavy lifting left to a second device.

The little screen on the outside of the flip could then be eInk.

What a sad pair we are, reminiscing about phones past! But this is the one I think of with affection. My old Motorola MicroTac and green-screen Nokias had great battery life (the MicroTac should have - it was still a half-brick!), and the Sony Ericsson P800 was fun for being such a brilliant try at being a smartphone, but the V3 was such a great combination of being good-looking and functional. It was a pleasure to hold.

I'll shut up now.

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Kogan Agora 5.0

I suspect the Kogan Agora 5.0 would be frustrating to own. Only 512Meg of RAM is going to be a serious restriction.

My old handset used to have 512, and would get bogged down quite easily with Gingerbread. All the modern OS phones/tablets have 1gig+ for a reason.

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Re: Kogan Agora 5.0

If the quick fiddle I had with the Agora is anything to go by it's not that bad - certainly felt no slower than my old HTC Desire HD or the Samsung Android pmp I referenced. Of course I wouldn't want to try NOVA 3 on it...

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External storage capabilities.

What's with the lack of micro-SD cards on these devices?

Seems silly to me - not sure I could survive without my external microSD on my Samsung.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: External storage capabilities.

Frankly very few users have any use for them. Unless you're storing tens of gigabytes of music or video on your phone and don't want to/can't juggle it around from a pc or over a network, there really isn't any need. So manufacturers prefer to save the space for more battery.

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Re: External storage capabilities.

agreed uSD is a must for me. Especially if you are having a "mini tablet" that will be a prime candidate for watching thngs on commutes etc.

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Re: External storage capabilities.

For me the formula is quite simple - no external storage, no sale. I don't carry lots (my phone doesn't even have any music on it), but I want to separate my data from the machine just in case of failure. (Yes, everything is backed up, but I'm old-fashioned enough to want to be able to remove my data from the machine easily).

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Re: External storage capabilities.

The nice thing* about no micro-SD card is that it lets the device have a unified storage space. Which means there's none of this "running low on storage space" when you've still got 23 GB left on the SD card, if (like me) you installed the Humble Android Bundle (10 games, >1.5 GB of APKs).

This is why Nexus devices don't do SD.

* if you're an OS

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Anonymous Coward

Re: very few users have any use for them

can you provide a reference for this assertion?

I rather think the reason micro sd slots are disappearing is to encourage us to use paid-for streaming services or cloud apps, plus the obvious that phones are coming packaged with more memory

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Trollface

Re: very few users have any use for them

Apple started this unwelcome trend not only to buy ludicrously expensive RAM in upgrading, but forcing you to buy more storage on the iCloud, which pleases the Carriers with increased data usage with streaming. ( thus justifying their promotion of Apple phones @ its un subsidies high margin price).

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Happy

Bigger batteries

Seems like a lot of these are getting higher capacity batteries (granted there is more screen real estate to power)

In general this pleases me.

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JDX
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Magic Touch tech which means you can fondle your slab while wearing gloves

That's what I want. I'm sick of tugging my thumb out of my glove to use my phone.

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Ru

Re: Magic Touch tech which means you can fondle your slab while wearing gloves

Have you tried running a few loops of conductive thread through the tips of the fingers on your gloves?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Magic Touch tech which means you can fondle your slab while wearing gloves

You can get gloves that work with touchscreens now; they even sell them in ASDA.

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Re: Magic Touch tech which means you can fondle your slab while wearing gloves

Just use your nose...

I'll admit to having done this a few times on the clickwheel thingy on my iPod.

[obligatory] You're holding it wrong.

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JDX
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Re: Magic Touch tech which means you can fondle your slab while wearing gloves

I don't want to buy special gloves, I have ones which I like.

Sewing thread isn't an option on waterproof ones but you can buy little finger-stickers or so I hear. Maybe worth a look on Amazon

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Anonymous Coward

Name Change

I wish they were called 'phoblets', sounds much better than 'phablets'

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Re: Name Change

Or tablones, why does the phone it have to come first?

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Pint

Re: Name Change

tablophone (or tablofon) sounds steampunky

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Re: Name Change

Or vaguely like Swiss confectionery?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Name Change

how bout 'tomes' ?

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Happy

Re: Name Change

Suggest Mopads as the phone side is a small proportion of actual use.

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