Phablet… Fab or Fad?

Chris Clark, Managing Director of Prosperity 24.7 has recently embarked on a strange challenge, namely to wean himself off his daily reliance of Apple products. Some may claim that he is an addict, he thinks that ‘they just work’…

So what does Chris use today?

“It is getting a bit daft” Chris advises, “I use ‘the trilogy’ every day (iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro) and I would really like to lighten the load, just a little. To be honest, I am doing this already, when I am on a 48 hour or less business trip away, unless it is essential, I just take my iPad and iPhone – which is not bad at all – however, I wanted to try something a little different to reduce these two essential devices (in my mind) down to a single, always connected, device… This is where the ‘Phablet’ comes in”.

Whatever is a Phablet? I hear you cry…

A Phablet is the latest hybrid device integrating a phone and a tablet, yes I am sure you are cringing here as well, but bear with us. Chris is trying out the very latest hybrid device, namely a Nokia 1520 which runs Windows Phone 8 / Nokia Black update operating system and comes in a form factor (shape) that he can just about bear being seen with, without it constituting the social stigma of appearing to be Dom Jolly.

How long have you had the device and why are you documenting the process?

“I only got it yesterday and I wanted to start a ‘mini blog’ through our news articles to share my experiences with Industry, good or bad, warts n’ all. There are a couple of reasons for doing this, one, I am an acknowledged technical cynic and I don’t think it will necessarily be a positive outcome but wanted to show others that change can (might) be positive. Secondly, I am aware that Gartner posted a notice stating:

Gartner recommends that Blackberry Enterprise clients take no more than six months to consider and implement alternatives to Blackberry.

Therefore wanted to undertake a little Research and Development on behalf of our clients and friends to ascertain whether Windows mobile has matured suitably to act as a viable competitor to BES and therefore help them to mitigate their potential exposure to the old ‘Crackberry’ devices by testing a very different phone against my own criteria of ‘just working’ without any real migration hassle”.

So what is the experience like so far?

“Well, I am not a Windows 8 user so the tile interface is a change from my Windows 7 desktop experience, it is also a major change from Apple’s inherently simple IOS, is the user experience cumbersome? Surprisingly not. There are a couple of things that I will share but I am already ‘over them’ so to speak, twelve hours into using the phone.

First things first – it is BIG, it makes my iPhone look like one of those Nano iPod’s realistically, however it fits in my pocket (trouser or jacket) with no hassle and once you work out where your head needs to be when taking a call (honestly, you do have to do this) then the audio for phone calls in the street is great. I did have to refer to the slip of paper it ships with to work out how you turn it on, use the camera etc. which is not as intuitive as an iPhone but this is a wholly different device that I am new to – give me a chance!

Secondly, you need a ‘nano-sim’ – Arrrggghhh! Yep, I should have read the manual – I thought a phone of these proportions would not require the tiniest sim in the World but I was wrong. If you have an iPhone 5 then you are already fine and you have one of these Sims however most other phones still use Micro-Sims so be aware that you need to get one at the time of purchase.

Surprisingly, so far I have not found any other real ‘gotcha’s’, there are a couple of applications that I would normally use on my iPhone or iPad that don’t work on the Windows mobile but at the same time, there are line of business applications, Office, Lync, SharePoint and Dynamics CRM that work seamlessly on the Windows phone with Office 365 which is a major ‘one-upmanship’ over the competitive device. Another stonking feature is the device security which is so much better than an iDevice. ‘Kids Corner’ enables you to securely partition your phone, what do I mean by this? Simply put, I can hand my phone to my 6 year old to enable him to play Temple Run, knowing full well he has no access to my work e-mail or applications, realistically it is emulating the behaviour of user profiles on a PC, this really is a very simple yet incredibly neat feature.

The final ‘icing on the cake’, (if you are a Mac user like me) is that you can install a tool to sync your iTunes music and image library to a Windows Phone – honestly! – – this was not expected and to be brutally honest, this has me very impressed.


Well, you could say that I am still in the ‘honeymoon period’, but then with a phone, this would probably be the period that I would feel the most angst. I am trying to write a fair review and before I started to write this I thought it would be far more negative, give it a weeks use, some RSI courtesy of the Dom Jolly proportions and I might be writing a different update!

If anyone wants to see the beast in the flesh, don’t hesitate to stop me in the street, I will be the guy talking loudly into a slim line brick.


Since initially publishing the article I have had requests for an image for ‘scale’, below is a comparison photo, looking frighteningly similar to an old ‘Two Ronnies’ sketch with John Cleese (iPad 2, Nokia Lumia 1520, iPhone 4):


The image below shows the Nokia with a range of devices in our office, from left to right, my traditional iPad, an iPad mini, the 1520, an iPhone 5 and my previous phone, an iPhone 4.

P247_ComparisonPhone2Below are a couple of quick test images taken using the 20mp on-board camera, I have not used the Lync features for Video Conference yet, nor have I checked out if I can use Citrix but hopefully by next week, I would have had cause to try all of these as well.

The following was taken last night at home in fairly low light conditions, I have scaled it by 60% from the original:


The following was taken at lunchtime whilst walking across a gloomy Royal Square in St. Helier, Jersey (in the rain), again it is scaled by 60%: