Best Compact Smartphones: Which mini smartphone should you buy?
UPDATED: While most flagship phones are getting ever bigger there are plenty of people who’d prefer a small handset. Sadly as popular opinion at the moment seems to be that bigger is better the smaller handsets are usually a little underpowered, but that’s not always the case as there are still some great ones. Here then are the five best compact smartphones available.
5. Nokia Lumia 530
Small doesn’t have to mean cheap but in the case of the Nokia Lumia 530 it does. The handset comes in at just around £80 SIM free, which makes it spectacularly affordable.
It has more than just an attractive price tag too, as its 4.0 inch 480 x 854 display gives it a solid pixel density of 245 pixels per inch, while a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 200 processor and 512MB of RAM are enough to deliver slick performance.
Plus with Windows Phone 8.1 under the hood you can enjoy the latest and best version of Microsoft’s mobile operating system and while there’s only 4GB of built in storage it has a microSD card slot which supports cards of up to 128GB.
It’s not the best phone around, but it’s small, covers the basics and is incredible value for money.
4. Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
If you’ve got a bit more money to spend you could consider the Samsung Galaxy S5 mini. At around £380 SIM free it’s far pricier than the Lumia 530, but it’s a lot higher powered too, as it has a 1.4GHz quad-core processor and 1.5GB of RAM. Those aren’t quite top end specs but they’re pretty decent all the same.
Of course as the name suggests it’s compact too, with a 4.5 inch 720 x 1280 Super AMOLED display and a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch.
It also has a good 8 megapixel camera, 16GB of built in storage and a microSD card slot, along with a water proof body, a fingerprint scanner and even a heart rate monitor, so while it’s a slight downgrade from the full size Galaxy S5 it’s still a good mid-range phone that’s packed full of extras.
3. Apple iPhone 5S
While there are an increasing number of good compact Android 4G phones there still arn't many which can compete with the iPhone 5S. That’s no surprise, it’s Apple’s flagship after all, it’s just that while the likes of Samsung and HTC equip their flagships with big screens Apple has stuck to a small one.
The iPhone 5S has a 4 inch 640 x 1136 IPS LCD screen with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch, so it’s actually one of the smallest phones on this list, but its screen is incredibly high quality, with rich, natural colours and great contrast. It has a 1.3 GHz dual-core Apple A7 64-bit processor and 1GB of RAM, which on paper might make it sound worse than some of its rivals but in reality the iPhone 5S is blazing fast.
It also has a great 8 megapixel camera with a dual-LED flash, can shoot slow motion video and comes with a choice of 16, 32 or 64GB of storage. It’s arguably the best looking phone on this list too, with a distinctive two-tone metal and glass back. Plus it has a couple of stand-out features in the form of a fingerprint scanner and a motion co-processor, making it ideal as a fitness tracker.
However, the launch of a new breed of compact Android smartphones and the imminent arrival of the iPhone 6 stop it from topping our list.
2. HTC One mini 2
The HTC One mini 2 is going toe to toe with the Galaxy S5 mini and the two phones are closely matched, albeit with different good and bad points. The price though is pretty similar, coming in at an ever so slightly cheaper £360 SIM free.
It has a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor and 1GB of RAM, so it doesn’t win out in the power stakes, but its 4.5 inch 720 x 1280 Super LCD2 screen is just as good, with the same 326ppi pixel density.
It also has a good 13 megapixel camera, which trumps Samsung’s offering and even a 5 megapixel front facing camera, making it great for selfies. Unlike the original HTC One mini there’s also a microSD card slot, to boost it above the 16GB of storage that comes built in.
But the build quality is the real star of the show, as while the Lumia 530 and Galaxy S5 mini are both heavy on the plastic, the HTC One mini 2 has the same aluminium back and speaker grills as the HTC One M8, giving it a level of quality rarely seen on smartphones, let alone mini ones.
1. Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
We loved the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact which combined a high-end spec and premium design with a compact form factor. And the Xperia Z3 Compact is a more feature packed and even higher specification smartphone, which is why it currently tops our list of the best compact smartphones in the world.
Sony's smartphone has a 4.6-inch 720p display which puts it near the limit of qualifying for a compact handset, but the smartphone is just 8.4mm thick and weighs just 129g. It's powered by a staggering 2.5Ghz quad-core processor backed up by 1GB of RAM which blows its rivals away.
The 20.7 mega-pixel camera is capable of recording 4K video and is the only compact smartphone capable of such a feature. And when it comes to features it doesn't disappoint because it supports PS4 Remote Play, front-facing speakers and support for High-Resolution audio. And it comes fully connected supporting 4G LTE, WiFi, NFC, DLNA, MHL and delivers excellent battery life.
The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact might not quite feel as premium as the iPhone 5S or HTC One Mini 2, but it's still a very well built smartphone that brings waterproofing and dust-resistance to the party. While, it's feature set and high-end specification can't be matched by any other compact smartphone. And that's why it's currently our number 1 compact smartphone.