10 great smartphones with screens under 5 inches that you can buy right now

Almost all high-end smartphones now feature displays of at least 5 inches. While that's fine with most of us, some users still prefer having a smaller handset for everyday use.

With that in mind, not long ago we presented 5 of the best compact Android smartphones, as well as 4 compact handsets with excellent battery life. Now it's time for an extended list of sub-5-inch smartphones, not just from Androidland, and not necessarily with high-end or mid-end features.

All the smartphones included below can be purchased in the US (and many other markets). They're listed by price, from the cheapest to the most expensive ones.

Nokia Lumia 635

This is one of the last Lumia smartphones to carry the Nokia brand (newer models are Microsoft-branded), and can be bought for less than $100 off contract. It will obviously not satisfy users in need of high-end or mid-range features, but, for its price, the Lumia 635 is an excellent smartphone. It's got LTE connectivity, Windows Phone 8.1, a 4.5-inch IPS display with 480 x 854 pixels, a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, and a long-lasting 1830 mAh battery. There's only 512 MB of RAM, but Windows Phone is optimized to work pretty well with just that. The Lumia 635 could be updated to Windows 10, though it will probably not get all the features that the new OS is bringing.

Nokia Lumia 635 review.


Moto G LTE

You can get an unlocked Moto G LTE from Amazon for less than $200. Obviously, this is the first generation Moto G, the one sporting a 4.5-inch 720p display (the second generation Moto G doesn't quite fit in our selection, as it offers a 5-inch screen). With an update to Android Lollipop coming soon, the Moto G LTE remains a great choice for anyone not willing to spend too much on a new smartphone.

Moto G (2013) vs. Moto G (2014)


Blu Vivo Air

While Blu is an American company (based in Miami), its smartphones are usually rebranded models originally made by Chinese manufacturers. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, we really liked the Blu Vivo Air (a rebranded Gionee Elife S5.1), as the handset offers plenty of features for the $199.99 price tag (unlocked). At 5.1 mm, the Vivo Air is one of the thinnest smartphones in the world. It runs Android 4.4 KitKat, sports a 4.8-inch display with 720 x 1280 pixels, and is powered by an octa-core MediaTek processor (not exactly a performance champ, but most of the time it gets the job done).

Blu Vivo Air review.


HTC One (M7)

While you can get the One (M7) off-contract for less than $200 in the US, you have to pay at least $300 to buy it unlocked. In both cases, the price is excellent, as HTC's former flagship is one of the few smartphones with a 1080p display that's smaller than 5 inches (4.7 inches, to be exact).

HTC One (M7) review.


Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini

The Galaxy S5 Mini offers some of the features that the regular Galaxy S5 has, including a water-resistant body (IP67-cerrtified), fingerprint scanner, and heart rate monitor. However, its 4.5-inch 720p display and weaker processor (Exynos 3470, or Snapdragon 400 on some models) make it a mid-range handset that costs around $370 unlocked.


Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Considered by many one of Samsung's best-looking smartphones, the 6.7mm-thin Galaxy Alpha is built around a metal frame, and is fairly compact, sporting a 4.7-inch 720p display. It's also quite powerful, featuring an octa-core Exynos 5 5430 processor, and 2 GB of RAM. The Alpha is available unlocked for about $470.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha review.


Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

The Xperia Z3 Compact is one of Sony's best smartphones to date. Despite its small size, it packs almost all the features of the regular Z3, including a Snapdragon 801 processor, 20.7 MP rear camera, and a water-resistant body (IP68-certified). What's more, it offers outstanding battery life. The handset's 4.6-inch 720p screen could be perfect for users who don't like larger displays. Right now, you can buy an unlocked Xperia Z3 Compact for $499.

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact review.


iPhone 5s

The iPhone 5s is Apple's last flagship to feature a 4-inch, 640 x 1136 pixels display, and it's now a year and a half old. But it remains a premium smartphone, though maybe its high price (starting at $549 unlocked) isn't justified.

iPhone 5s review.


BlackBerry Passport

Some people still prefer having a physical QWERTY keyboard on their smartphone, and BlackBerry certainly knows how to make handsets with hardware keyboards. The company's newest flagship, called BlackBerry Passport, offers both a QWERTY keyboard, and a square 4.5-inch touchscreen display with 1440 x 1440 pixels. Be warned, though: this isn't a traditional BlackBerry keyboard, so you'll need some time to get used to it. Make no mistake, the Passport is a unique-looking, high-end smartphone, that's why it costs $599 unlocked.

BlackBerry Passport review.


iPhone 6

Launched in September, the iPhone 6 helped Apple have a fantastic quarter (sales-wise), and is arguably the best iPhone yet. Its 4.7-inch, 750 x 1334 pixels display brings it closer to most Android flagships in terms of screen estate, and iOS users seem to appreciate this a lot. Of course, not everyone is ready to pay $649 - or more - for an iPhone 6, but those who do appear to be very happy with their purchase.

iPhone 6 review.


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18 Comments

1. Rager722 unregistered

S5 mini is way over priced.

5. alexvv

Posts: 165; Member since: Oct 16, 2013

it currently costs 265 euros so not that much... sure you get a g2 at that money but there are few better options at around 4.5"

7. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

Yeah, especially when the Galaxy Alpha is also on the list.

8. iLovesarcasm

Posts: 589; Member since: Oct 20, 2014

Yeah, that's why I took the regular S5.

2. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

Happy with my HTC One M7...

4. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Xperia Z3C wins this round.

14. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Yeah. Hands down

17. alex3run

Posts: 715; Member since: May 18, 2014

If there was no Galaxy Alpha and iPhone 6 then maybe...

9. jojon

Posts: 435; Member since: Feb 11, 2014

If you can still find one, a N925, sub 5" and got it all, inc Pureview

16. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Agreed, Lumia 925s are overlooked but gorgeous and well-balanced. I'd still use mine if I didn't have a 1020, though I'd probably have gotten a 1020 or 1520 by now for the cameras.

10. Niva.

Posts: 440; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

I guess the nexus 5 doesn't qualify for this list as it's at 5 inches exactly, but I feel it rather stomps all the other phones on this list except possibly the iPhone 6.

12. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1185; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

It‘s actually 4.95 inch... It should have made it on the list, though people could argue about it.

13. TyrionLannister unregistered

Same with my galaxy S4. It's 4.99 inch.

11. JITHISH

Posts: 13; Member since: Feb 07, 2015

Z3c the real champ..

15. dimas

Posts: 3394; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Wait, iPhone 5s is still more expensive than the beefy Z3 Compact and S5 Mini? Apple's trying to do some stand up comedy with that price.

18. alexvv

Posts: 165; Member since: Oct 16, 2013

iphone 6 is the size of a 5incher, i'm not sure it's good for this list.

19. jacko1977

Posts: 428; Member since: Feb 11, 2012

this post is paid by apple

21. zzzxtreme

Posts: 3; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

i'm always on the lookout for compact smartphones. Z1 compact is $276, and I feel that's a bit too much to spend for phones. I'm currently using Zenfone 4. As one might expect, it's laggy at times, and the screen is almost impossible to see in bright daylight. most phones listed above is too big for one-hand operation. there's a variant of zenfone 5 with 2Ghz cpu + 2GB RAM + 16GB ROM + LTE + dual sim + microsd slot + IPS display - I couldn't understand why they can't release a smaller variant with same specs. People who wants small phones seem to be a minority, not big enough of a market

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