Top Budget Phablets of 2015

By definition, a phablet is a phone with a screen size that exceeds 5.5 inches. When I bought my Nexus 6, I posted about my change of heart regarding phablets. They definitely make a positive difference to the browsing, typing and viewing experience. Meanwhile, clever engineering and design ensures that they are still not too bulky to fit in your palm or pocket and give you a full day's worth of battery life.

You may want the benefit of a phablet, without spending the Rs. 40,000-plus on a Galaxy Note 4 or similar super-sized phone. Here are some great (and surprisingly cheap) workhorses that won't break the bank, but will give you a good working life.

1) The Google Nexus 6
I freely admit that I have changed my mind over this one, going from being a disappointed naysayer, to a big fan. The Nexus 6 is smooth, fast and problem free. Calls are clear and do not drop, the speakerphone works well. It is a good phone, and a good browsing device. And it falls in the budget list because Flipkart is currently running a promo as a result of which you can get it for as little as Rs.25,000 on exchange, compared to the old price of Rs. 44,000. At this price, it's a fantastic bargain, and worth a look. We can't guarantee that the sale will be on indefinitely, so rush to buy it if you are interested.

2) The Galaxy Note 3 
If the Nexus and Note 3 are in the same price range, I would recommend the Nexus, as a later piece of hardware, and for the updated Android firmware. But the older Galaxy Note 3 has an edge if you are looking for the productivity apps optimised for the larger screen size, which are missing in the Nexus 6. When it came out, it received universally positive reviews for its performance, battery life and user experience. And these factors do not change just because newer phones have come out in the market. At less than Rs.30,000, although its well over a year old, it still represents a bargain. You get the S-pen with it too!

3) Asus ZenFone 2
Asus may not have rocked the scene with laptops lately, but the Taiwanese manufacturer is quietly picking up a reputation as a manufacturer of modestly priced phones that deliver a performance way beyond their price. 'Quietly' is the operative word. Asus is like the budget counterpart of HTC, another understated company that delivers some truly awesome phones. The ZenFone 2 from Asus runs the latest version of Android Lollipop, and offers a smooth performance, full HD screen and decent battery life. You get two variants - with 2 GB RAM at Rs. 15,000 and with 4 GB RAM at Rs. 20,000.

4) Galaxy Note 3 Neo
To be honest, the Note 3 is a way better buy than its budget-priced counterpart. But at its current discounted price below Rs.20,000, the Note 3 Neo merits a second look. It is essentially the Note 3, with a slightly less powerful processor, a lower-definition screen and a poorer camera. If you are willing to trade off these aspects to save nearly Rs.10,000 then the Note 3 Neo is a decent compromise. As a bonus, it's also a tad smaller, lighter and sleeker than the Note 3.

5) The Asus ZenFone 6
An understated gem of a phone, I am constantly surprised that it does not attract more praise from users. It's truly a budget phone at Rs.16,000. It also has a nice metal finish, Gorilla Glass and a quietly efficient Intel processor that matches up to most daily user requirements without eating battery life. I speak from personal experience as my mom uses this phone. It ticks the basics like good call quality, battery life and performance. The only caveat is that it may be too large for you. The Nexus 5 does a magician's trick to make you forget that it's massive. The ZenFone is HUGE. You might want to look at its smaller and more affordable sibling, the ZenFone 5. But that's not a phablet, so it's outside the scope of this review.


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