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Surprise: Big phones use big data, say analysts

Nov. 18, 2013 at 2:45 PM ET

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Devin Coldewey / NBC News
The HTC One Max, a so-called "phablet" with a 5.9-inch screen.

Six-inch phablets and more modestly sized devices like the iPhone may use the same networks, but the big screens tend to suck down more data, according to a study by the NPD Group.

The NPD Group's Smartphone Usage Report tracked several thousand devices over a three-month period, and found that phones with screens over 4.5 inches used up an average of 7.2 gigabytes per month, and smaller ones topped out at 5 gigabytes.

And that's not just because more screen real estate necessitates more data for images and video. Big devices used up more data in every category, from social media to maps to streaming music and video. It seems that people who buy these large, high-end devices simply tend to use them more — about 44 percent more, to be precise.

NPD
NPD Group

There's a lot more data in the report itself than these broad outlines, of course, but it's more for people in the industry than casual mobile users. In the meantime, expect more big phones: While the 4.5-inch-and-up devices only made up 11 percent of the options at the mobile store around this time last year, they account for nearly a third now.

We took a look at several of the newest and biggest phones out there earlier in this quick guide, and will keep you up to date on the latest and largest as they appear.

Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.

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