Gadgets

5 Best, compact smartphone choices 2022

Compact-Smart-Phone
Compact-Smart-Phone

Despite being smaller in size than the competition, the best small phones still have some great hardware and features. There are fewer small phones available, but those that do exist tend to be powerful. For the purposes of this roundup, a small phone is defined as any phone with a screen size of 6-inches or less. For some, that will still seem large, but when compared to the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra or the 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max, it is positively tiny.

If you want to go even smaller, there’s the 4.7-inch iPhone SE (2022) or the 5.4-inch iPhone 13 mini. Continue reading to see how the iPhone SE (2022) compares to the larger but still relatively small Google Pixel 5 at the 6-inch end of the scale. All of the best small phones are much easier to hold with one hand, which will appeal to those with small hands.

iPhone 13 mini

iPhone-13-mini

iPhone-13-mini

Specifications

  • Weight: 131g
  • Dimensions: 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.7 mm
  • OS: iOS 15
  • Screen size: 5.4-inch
  • Resolution: 1080 x 2340
  • CPU: A15 Bionic
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/
  • Battery: 2,438 mAh
  • Rear camera: 12MP+12MP
  • Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

  • Gorgeous display
  • Great battery life

Reasons to avoid

-More expensive than predecessor

The iPhone 13 mini is a rare small phone that still has high-end hardware. Its 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display looks great thanks to some high brightness levels. It’s the same technology as the iPhone 13, only smaller. Similarly, its camera is quite powerful. For low-light performance, it has a 12MP f/1.6 wide camera with 1.7m pixels, and a 12MP f/2.4 ultra-wide camera with a 120-degree field of view. Taking photos in low light situations also works well, with some of the best results we’ve seen.

The iPhone 13 mini is fast and capable of multitasking thanks to Apple’s A15 Bionic chipset. iOS 15 runs flawlessly in this environment. Just be prepared to pay for the privilege, as it is more expensive than the iPhone 12 mini that preceded it.

Asus Zenfone 9

Asus-Zenfone-9

Asus-Zenfone-9

Pricey but neat

Specifications

  • Weight: 169g
  • Dimensions: 146.5 x 68.1 x 9.1mm
  • OS: Android 12
  • Screen size: 5.9-inch
  • Resolution: 1080 x 2400
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
  • RAM: 8/16GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Battery: 4,300mAh
  • Rear camera: 50MP+12MP
  • Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

  • Easy to use one-handed
  • Neat navigation tricks

Reasons to avoid

  • Expensive
  • Only two rear cameras

The Asus Zenfone 9 packs a lot of punch for such a small phone. It is powered by the high-end Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor, which is ideal for gaming or video editing. You won’t have to worry about speed here, as you might with other small phones. While it lacks a third lens, the Asus Zenfone 9 has a respectable 50MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide lens, and a 12MP selfie camera on the back.

A double-tap on the back or swipes on the power button provide some useful shortcuts, as do some clever navigation tricks. The 3.5mm headphone jack will also be appreciated by audiophiles.

It packs a lot in for the size, as it should at this price.

iPhone SE (2022)

iPhone-SE-(2022)

iPhone-SE-(2022)

Packing a lot in for the price

Specifications

  • Weight: 144g
  • Dimensions: 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm
  • OS: iOS 15
  • Screen size: 4.7-inch
  • Resolution: 750 x 1334
  • CPU: A15 Bionic
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64/128/256GB
  • Battery: 2,018mAh
  • Rear camera: 12MP
  • Front camera: 7MP

Reasons to buy

  • Lower price than most iPhones
  • Thin and lightweight

Reasons to avoid

  • Could be cheaper
  • Low storage for base spec

The iPhone SE (2022) is the most affordable way to experience a new 5G iPhone. It looks identical to its predecessor, with no changes to the body and the same Liquid Retina display, but why mess with a design that works so well? Instead, it includes the A15 Bionic chip for fast performance that can even outperform Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU, as well as timelapse night photography with a tripod.

A 12-hour battery life should get you through the day, and while it’s not always exciting, the iPhone SE (2022) gets the job done well.

iPhone 12 mini

iPhone 12 mini

iPhone 12 mini

Compact yet feature packed

Specifications

  • Weight: 135g
  • Dimensions: 131.5mm x 64.2mm x 7.4mm
  • OS: iOS 14
  • Screen size: 5.4-inch
  • Resolution: 1080 x 2340
  • CPU: A14 Bionic
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB/128GB/256GB
  • Battery: Unknown
  • Rear camera: 12MP+12MP
  • Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

  • Smaller design looks great
  • Fantastic display

Reasons to avoid

  • 64GB isn’t enough storage
  • Battery life only okay

The iPhone 12 mini is that rare beast: a phone that is both genuinely small and genuinely high-end. It’s basically the iPhone 12 in a smaller package, with a 5.4-inch 1080 x 2340 OLED screen. That’s a high-quality display, and while it’s larger than the screen on the iPhone SE (2020), the iPhone 12 mini is actually a smaller phone overall due to the lack of bezels.

Aside from the screen and size, the iPhone 12 mini’s highlights include 5G support, MagSafe tech, which allows you to magnetically attach accessories, and top-tier power, which is provided by an A14 Bionic chipset (the same one found in the rest of the iPhone 12 lineup). The camera is also very capable, despite only having two rear lenses – a 12MP main and a 12MP ultra-wide shooter, so it lacks telephoto capabilities.

We’d like to see slightly better battery life, and the 64GB starting storage size is far too small, especially for the price, but niggles aside, the iPhone 12 mini is a fantastic small phone.

iPhone SE (2020)

iPhone-SE-(2022)

iPhone-SE-(2022)

The choice for those who want a cheaper iPhone

Specifications

  • Weight: 148g
  • Dimensions: 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm
  • OS: iOS 14
  • Screen size: 4.7-inch
  • Resolution: 750 x 1334
  • CPU: A13 Bionic
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 64/128/256GB
  • Battery: 1,821mAh
  • Rear camera: 12MP
  • Front camera: 7MP

Reasons to buy

  • Low price for an iPhone
  • Lightweight frame

Reasons to avoid

  • Battery life could be better
  • Old screen technology

The iPhone SE (2020) is Apple’s entry-level model, but it’s also one of the company’s smallest. In fact, at 4.7 inches, it has the smallest screen (as well as being smaller than almost any other widely available smartphone), but as previously stated, its actual dimensions are slightly larger than the iPhone 12 mini’s. Nonetheless, the iPhone SE (2020) is undeniably a small phone, and a very good one at that. While it lacks the power of the iPhone 12 series, it comes close, thanks to the A13 Bionic chipset found in the iPhone 11 series.

The phone also has a good – albeit single-lens – 12MP camera and a premium (read: metal and glass) if slightly dated design. Some of this may seem like platitudes, but this is one of the most affordable and arguably best value iPhones we’ve seen in years, and it also happens to be compact.

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