Tech companies have been blurring the lines between device categories for the past few years. Traditionally the lines have been most blurred between the tablet and laptop categories, as the arrival of Windows 8 spurred a wave of convertible 'all-in-one' devices.
However, thanks to the ongoing trend to create increasingly big screen 'phablet' handsets, the category definitions between what constitutes a smartphone and a tablet have also become blurred.
This is neatly demonstrated with the release of Apple's first phablet, the iPhone 6 Plus, which led many buyers to question whether they still needed to invest in a separate tablet.
With this in mind we've compared the two devices head to head to see whether Apple's latest phablet can truly remove the need for a separate iPad.
Design and build
The iPhone 6 Plus is significantly smaller and lighter than the iPad Mini 3, measuring 158x78x7.1mm and weighing 172g. By comparison the iPad Mini 3 measures 200x135x7.5mm and weighs 331g (WiFi-only model).
The iPhone 6 Plus also has a more up to date design than the iPad Mini 3, which looks all but identical to its predecessor, the iPad Mini 2.
The updated design makes the iPhone 6 Plus feel more cutting edge than the iPad Mini 3, the only noticeable change to past models being the inclusion of Apple's TouchID fingerprint scanner.
The TouchID scanner is an enterprise-friendly security feature debuted on the iPhone 5S and also featured in the iPhone 6 Plus. The scanner lets users set an iOS device to unlock only with a valid fingerprint swipe, adding an extra layer of protection to data on lost or stolen devices.
Winner: The iPhone 6 Plus
In one of his rare moments on the wrong side of history, Steve Jobs famously claimed that smartphone users don't want big screens. This statement has been proved wrong by the wave of people who rushed to buy devices with screens larger than 5in.
Aware of this, Apple finally delivered its own big-screen handset, equipping the iPhone 6 Plus with a sizeable 5.5in 1920x1080, 401ppi Retina HD display.
Testing the iPhone 6 Plus display against past smartphones we found the handset performs very well and, featuring great colour vibrancy, contrast and brightness levels, is one of the best screens currently on the market.
This remained true when we compared the iPhone 6 Plus screen with the iPad Mini 3's 7.9in, 2048x1536, 326ppi, IPS Retina display.
We struggled to notice a difference in colour vibrancy and contrast levels, but we did find the iPhone 6 Plus screen slightly sharper and brighter than the iPad Mini 3's. However, the iPad 3's extra screen real estate goes a long way to counteract the minor sharpness and brightness difference between the two displays. The extra screen space makes the iPad Mini 3 better for productivity as well as media consumption.
For example, typing an email or editing a document is possible on the iPhone 6 Plus, but it's fiddly and much more convenient to do this on the iPad Mini 3.
The iPad Mini 3's extra screen space won't be too much of a factor for people looking for a basic device to keep them connected to email and social media on the move, but it will be an important factor for businesses looking for a true mobile productivity aid.
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