Small wonders: the 5 best compact Android phones under 5 inches

Small wonders: the 5 best compact Android phones under 5 inches
In the world of 5"-6" smartphone displays, one has to wonder what happened with those compact, powerful munchkins that you could easily operate with one hand, and went unnoticed in your pocket or purse. Fret not, as there are still a few of those being built, and some of them dwarf their larger brethren, if not in size, then in specs, looks and manageability.

If you are looking for a compact Android handset in a year when most flagships come with 5"-5.5" display panels, and phablets extend that range all the way to the gargantuan 6" mark, look no further than our humble roundup below. It offers a refreshing set of phones with sub-5" displays that lay comfortably in your palm, and let you text or answer calls easily while carrying a bag of groceries in the other hand, for instance. 

Don't be fooled by the adorable munchkins' one-handed manageability, though, as they also feature some of the best specs and forward-looking features your money can buy at the moment, so check them out, and tell us which one would you get if you were in the market for a compact, yet powerful Android handset.

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48 Comments

48. RoyPen

Posts: 2; Member since: Dec 16, 2015

If you're looking for a true compact smartphone, follow us up on: igg.me/at/powerofmu

47. ashcro11

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 06, 2015

I've heard a lot about major cracking issues on the Sony Xperia Z3 compact, does this not factor in at all? I was really keen to get this phone, now seriously reconsidering...

44. gosselin

Posts: 90; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

Z3 Compact is the best of 2014.

42. afraaa

Posts: 138; Member since: Oct 23, 2014

Cat got your tongue when you saw prices for the above compacts hovering in the $500 range off-contract? NO phonearena NO , chines phone is chines

40. GalaxyS5

Posts: 430; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

I'm between getting the Alpha or the Z3 compact, but since Z4 is on the way I'm getting an Alpha, if not tomorrow I'll get it on monday as my GS5 is pretty banged up now it has taken hundreds of falls, it works like new but the body on the outside is in a bad shape, I would imagine if I had an iphone, lol it would've been RIP from the first 5 ft fall my GS5 hads 5 months ago.

34. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Nobody wants anything under 5". /penis joke

31. gaara6775

Posts: 738; Member since: May 20, 2014

I still love my m7. Only drawback is battery back which is around 4hrs of sot

30. tyger11

Posts: 299; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

Nexus 5 is 4.95 inches. :)

24. KinqElessaR

Posts: 45; Member since: Dec 04, 2014

Just because HTC One has screen below 5" doesn't make it compact. If it's compact, than S4 and S5 are also compact.

22. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Moto X (2013) is still a great option if you can get your hands on one...

13. JaroB

Posts: 112; Member since: Feb 13, 2013

HTC M7 .....137,4 mm SONY Z3C 127,3 mm

18. Genza

Posts: 576; Member since: Mar 12, 2014

GS4 136.6 mm XZL 131.6 mm

28. JC557

Posts: 1927; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

Despite the price I would go for the Xperia Z3 Compact for the massive battery life.

7. realjjj

Posts: 375; Member since: Jan 28, 2014

HTC One M7 is not compact at all, you can get 5 inch screen in that body size.

17. assassinsaad

Posts: 11; Member since: Dec 29, 2012

I agree with this....it is not suitable for one handed use

6. alex3run

Posts: 715; Member since: May 18, 2014

Galaxy Alpha is the best of these phones.

9. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

This is a funny guy ^^

23. maherk

Posts: 7084; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

And you're pathetic my friend. As always slamming those who don't favor your beloved Sony phones. Why would he bother choose the Z3 compact? You were one of those who always complained about the "cheap" plastic Samsung uses and how premium Sony phones are. Well, it is the other way around, the Z3 compact has a glossy fingerprint magnet plastic back, and a plastic trim as well, whereas the Alpha is a truly premium phone that feels great in the hand(trust me, those aren't just my words). Anyways, the Z3c MIGHT be better, but mocking someone for his choice of a phone tells more about the immature kid you are. Make sure to take a sip of the I Hate Samsung glass you keep drinking from before going to bed Kiddo.

25. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Did I ever mock him? I dunno but you sure are mocking me AGAIN. Maybe you secretly like me you always verge on me xDDDDDDDDDDD. Ok. Yeah the Z3c is plastic. Also, I've never said there's something wrong with plastic. Also, I've never said the problem with Samsung design is the material (okay at some point the materials were horrid). IMO the Alpha just doesn't look good and that dimpled back panel is horrible looking (not feeling though). Z3c still looks stunning, even though it does feel worse than Z3 for example.

41. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Eh, I had the Z3 compact but kept the Alpha over it based on the looks and thinness. The Alpha is just flat out sexier. However, I am currently using the Z3 non compact over the Alpha now. The screen is just too small and 720p Z3 over the Alpha but Alpha is well ahead of the Z3 compact in all areas except battery life IMO, yes that includes looks.

27. JC557

Posts: 1927; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

Same would go for the ardent Samsung defenders and fans. There are plenty of instances of this happening on PhoneArena.

39. Odiin

Posts: 373; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

Z3C has glass back and only sides are plastics. Alpha's only sides are metal. Back side is still plastic How come it makes it Alpha a premium phone? Side metal rim and back plastic makes it premium and side plastic, back glass make Z3C is not?

10. JaroB

Posts: 112; Member since: Feb 13, 2013

ha ha ha :D :D :D

5. Micah007

Posts: 266; Member since: Oct 09, 2014

Question for anyone who has had a bigger phone then switched back to a smaller more compact device and vice versa. Is the switch hard? Once you've gotten use to a bigger or smaller device.....is it hard to go back to using the other?

8. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

I haven't made the switch but using a smaller phone feels very weird. But IMO the size is not the hard one, but the smaller resolution feels horrible.

11. Micah007

Posts: 266; Member since: Oct 09, 2014

I thought going from a larger device to a smaller one wouldn't feel the same as it used too. I'm about to make the switch from my 4.7 inch device to either 5.5 or possibly 5.9. I agree the resolution would be a big issue.

14. Awalker

Posts: 1987; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

Several reviewers want back to smaller phones after using the Nexus 6 so I don't think it would be too hard. I switch between my Nexus 7 and Nexus 5 and I have no problem with that.

16. Micah007

Posts: 266; Member since: Oct 09, 2014

I see. Well when the Nexus 6 becomes available, I'll give it a shot.....see if I like it.

37. Professor

Posts: 223; Member since: Aug 02, 2013

The nexus 5 at 4.95" also fits in that category since it is technically less than 5". And for its price ($349) also a really good deal!

38. bur60

Posts: 981; Member since: Jul 07, 2014

Z2 to Z3 compact, yea at first it bothered me with multimedia, but with everyday use i really love the compact form. I dont have very big hands and i used to drop my z2 all the time due to the size of it xD

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