8 of the best "mini" smartphones

8 of the best
Forced by the swift and constant increase in screen size, a few years ago smartphone manufacturers started releasing "mini" handset: smaller (and almost always less advanced) variants of their flagships. Since there are quite a lot of mini smartphones out there, we decided to search for the best models, and we think we found them.

Unlike the best compact smartphones, or the greatest handsets with screens under 5 inches, the devices that we're presenting below aren't necessarily compact. Even more, a few of them don't feature displays under 5 inches, despite the fact that all have the word mini in their names. Here they are, in alphabetical order:

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 mini S

That's quite a long name for a mini smartphone, but we'll forgive Alcatel for this, because the Android-based OneTouch Idol 2 mini S is a looker that's partially made out of aluminum. It's not really impressive when it comes to specs, though, offering a 4.5-inch display with 540 x 960 pixels, LTE, 8 MP rear camera, 2 MP front-facing camera, quad-core 1.2 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of expandable internal memory. The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 mini S isn't available in the US, but you can find it in Europe for less than $200.


Huawei Ascend P7 mini
 
There's one very interesting fact about the Huawei Ascend P7 mini: it was announced a bit earlier than the regular Ascend P7. At 7.8 mm, the Ascend P7 mini is one of the thinnest mini handsets released until now. It, too, has a 4.5-inch display with 540 x 960 pixels, as well as LTE connectivity. But it's got some pluses over Alcatel's Idol 2 mini S, including a 5 MP front-facing camera, and a Snapdragon 400 processor. You can buy an unlocked Ascend P7 mini from Amazon for $220.


HTC One mini 2

Here's another mini smartphone that sports a 4.5-inch display. However, this one offers a 720 x 1280 pixel resolution, which partially explains its higher price. Launched last year, a few months after the HTC One (M8), the One mini 2 features BoomSound speakers, a Snapdragon 400 processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of expandable storage space. Also notable are its 5 MP front-facing camera and 13 MP rear camera. Just like its bigger brother, the One mini 2 has a unibody aluminum chassis. The handset can be bought for less than $400 unlocked.


Motorola Droid Mini

Motorola's Droid Mini was launched in the summer of 2013, being the oldest handset on this list. However, it remains a decent option - especially knowing that it's going to be updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop in the near future. The Droid Mini features a 4.3-inch display with 720 x 1280 pixels, LTE, 10 MP rear camera, and a 2 MP front-facing camera. Powered by a dual-core 1.7 GHz Motorola X8 processor, the handset further offers 2 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of non-expandable internal memory. The Droid Mini is exclusively available at Verizon Wireless for free on contract, or for $349.99 off contract.


Oppo N1 Mini

This smartphone is called "mini" only because the original N1 is a huge, 5.9-inch device. At 148.4 x 72.2 x 9.2 mm, the Oppo N1 Mini - which sports a 5-inch 720p display - is taller than some handsets with screens larger than 5 inches, like the Galaxy S5 (142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm). Similar to the larger N1, the Oppo N1 Mini features a 13 MP rotating camera, 2 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of internal memory. It's quite pricey if you want to buy it in the US: about $530.


Samsung Galaxy S5 mini

The Galaxy S5 mini is the only water-resistant handset on our list. It's essentially a shrunken Galaxy S5, featuring a 4.5-inch 720p Super AMOLED display, Snapdragon 400 or Exynos 3470 processor, 8 MP rear camera, 1.5 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal memory, and microSD card support. The handset costs around $360, unlocked.


ZTE Nubia 5S mini

Initially released in Asia, the ZTE Nubia 5S mini can be bought in the US from Amazon, being one of the few Nubia-branded smartphones available Stateside. This is another Snapdragon 400-powered handset with a 720p display (4.7 inches). Other features include a 13 MP rear camera, 5 MP front-facing camera, 2 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of expandable storage space. An unlocked Nubia 5S mini costs $260, and you can get it from Amazon.


ZTE Nubia Z7 mini
 
Another mini from ZTE? Well, yes, but this is a high-end smartphone, and it's a mini only if we compare it to the regular Z7 (which has a 5.5-inch screen). The Z7 mini is equipped with a 5-inch 1080p display, and is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor. The list of features also includes a 13 MP rear camera, 2 MP front-facing camera, 2 GB of RAM, microSD card support, and 16 GB of internal memory. Unfortunately, the Nubia Z7 mini seems to be available only in Asia.


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39 Comments

1. MahmoudHamsharii

Posts: 70; Member since: Aug 28, 2013

Z3 compact?, and don't tell me it's not here for his name!

11. Florin.T

Posts: 318; Member since: Dec 16, 2013

13. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

You could have re-named the article ;)

18. hmd74

Posts: 546; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

it's not about the names! it's about their Sizes

37. GalaxyS5

Posts: 430; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

no, PA takes mini as a stripped down version of a flagship plus a smaller screen ..

21. dorianb

Posts: 617; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Well you did put mini in parathesis so one could of assumed this article would of been about the best smaller version of a flagship model phone.

24. Remmy

Posts: 189; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

Well they called it compact for a reason, which is to differentiate them from smaller, watered down "flagships" so technically it's still a mini Z3 :)

25. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

Z3 compact should be in the list and considering the sizes of these so called mini they're still larger that z3 compact.

38. seanwhat

Posts: 321; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

what a poor reason for not including the z3 compact.

2. Credo

Posts: 749; Member since: Apr 19, 2012

Oooooo no iPhone 5 i'm surprised

4. darkkjedii

Posts: 31757; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Your post made zero sense. There is no iPhone 5 Mini, how could they list it?

9. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

After iPhone 6 & 6+ , isn't iPhone 5/5s/5c considered mini?

15. Carlitos

Posts: 693; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

No after the iPhone 6/6+ the iPhone 5/5s/5c are still regular iphones. Doesn't make them mini just because the latest iteration has a larger size.

17. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Your opinion. Not going to argue but it won't change my opinion.

22. darkkjedii

Posts: 31757; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

No, their considered the 5/5s/5c. There is no 6 mini, or 5 mini. Don't be the jackass you usually are.

33. kent-gaga

Posts: 609; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

so why didn't anyone consider a Galaxy S2 a "mini" when the S3, S4 and S5 came out? the S2 is smaller right? there's a hugh hole in your argument, don't you see?

36. GalaxyS5

Posts: 430; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

the iphones were still mini since they were launched .. a 4 inch screen? what's that? a gs2 gs3 gs4 had the excellent size when they were launched ..

19. Credo

Posts: 749; Member since: Apr 19, 2012

Where did i say "iPhone 5 Mini"? Since when is a 4" smartphone not considered mini?

34. GalaxyS5

Posts: 430; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

lol an iphone 5 mini .. lmao it would compete with the galaxy pocket. a "retina" 2.8 inch screen A7 processors and all the usual shhh they sell you guys ..

8. nwright94

Posts: 211; Member since: Oct 14, 2014

Of course someone had to go and bring up iPhone in a non-iPhone article. I'd expect nothing less from PA.

3. darkkjedii

Posts: 31757; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Gotta go with the S5 mini as tops.

27. buccob

Posts: 2981; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Top of this particular list but the old Z1 Compact is still a better buy... $330 on amazon and no small android device to compare it with... The iPhone 5s is the only one on par

5. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

This is a new low, PA! Comeooon add the Z3 C lol

12. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Any explanations Florin?

26. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

Nah they won't change it. It's hard to accept that Sony makes good phone that's underrated by most people.

6. Astoni

Posts: 649; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Yea ehm, Z1,2,3 compact and Iphone 5/5s. They are now mini's and should be in this list.

7. may_czos

Posts: 957; Member since: Nov 22, 2014

Where are Z1 and Z Compact? Where's LG G2 Mini which is much better than Alcatel?

10. Neros

Posts: 1016; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

Galaxy alpha, iphone 6, z3 compact.

14. SonyPS4

Posts: 347; Member since: May 21, 2013

"despite the fact that all have the word mini in their names" The reason why Z3 Compact and Iphone5s not in the list. Read the article before comment.

29. may_czos

Posts: 957; Member since: Nov 22, 2014

So where's LG G2 mini? It has "mini" in its name and it's much better than Alcatel.

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