8 of the best "mini" smartphones

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8 of the best "mini" smartphones
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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