The best compact smartphones of 2017


In 2017, the concept of what a "compact phone" could be was flipped around and old notions were shaken up. Since the introduction of the 18:9 aspect ratios, saying that a phone's display has a 5.7-inch diagonal size doesn't really mean that you'll be holding a large phablet in your hand. On the contrary — it might just be a nicely narrow, easy to wield phone.

So, in this new age of smartphones, what is to be considered a small handset? Manufacturers have been stubbornly sticking to a 5-inch minimum for most of their screens in the recent past, which made it hard enough to find phones that we'd call "compact" with a straight face. For the most cases, it has become commonplace to call a phone that you can mostly use with one hand (though the use of another helps sometimes) and that is light and easy to pocket "compact".

We thought we'd take a look at the phones that came out this year and pick out some that we can call "small" or "easy to handle". Here's what we came up with:

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21 Comments

1. BGChicago

Posts: 227; Member since: Nov 16, 2014

4/6 are not even compact. XZ1 C and iPhone8 are the only two that are significantly smaller than the rest.

2. paul.k

Posts: 303; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

So, in this new age of smartphones, what is to be considered a small handset? Manufacturers have been stubbornly sticking to a 5-inch minimum for most of their screens in the recent past, which made it hard enough to find phones that we'd call "compact" with a straight face. For the most cases, it has become commonplace to call a phone that you can mostly use with one hand (though the use of another helps sometimes) and that is light and easy to pocket "compact".

4. sgodsell

Posts: 7605; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Even Apple cut production of its new iPhone 8 by 60%. Yet it increased production of the iPhone X and iPhone X. That tells me more people want longer battery lifes, and larger screens with higher resolutions. That speaks volumes to me. Other OEMs have seen this as well. Look when many 5" smartphones that have screens with the same resolution as an iPhone 8 plus. Yet are roughly the size of an iPhone 8. Then why make anything smaller. Especially when the vast majority of the population uses their smartphones as their primary computing device. Then having that higher resolution with a slightly larger display, and in a more compact device is always better.

7. BGChicago

Posts: 227; Member since: Nov 16, 2014

For me, iPhone7/8 with slightly bigger screen jammed inside. So 5" screen, 75% screen to body ratio. The real problem is, aside iPhones (which I dislike) and Sony compact (which is really compact but screen to small for comfortable typing), there no other flagships with small footprint. None. They either cut down RAM or proccessor or battery significantly. Typing this on G S7 and I wish it was 15% smaller.

14. TheOracle1

Posts: 2340; Member since: May 04, 2015

Zuk Edge is 5.5" and about the same height as my P10 with full flagship specs and a decent battery.

20. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 896; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

Smartphones are getting too damn big if you ask me. I remember how stupid I looked for carrying around my 6" HTC One MAX back when it first came out, and now it's a common place to have phones that big.

3. whatev

Posts: 2428; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

Ok, so you left out the best of all, the iPhone X which is more compact that some of the phones listed. I also wanted to mention that despite not being released this year, the iPhone 7 and 6S are still better options than most of the phones in this list

5. WAusJackBauer

Posts: 456; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

5 - 5.3" is still the sweetspot in my opinion. With modern day bezels its even nicer.

8. BGChicago

Posts: 227; Member since: Nov 16, 2014

True, but with thin bezels, 75% StBR. Doesn't exist yet (with flagship specs)

6. wesley.

Posts: 217; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Missing the Pixel 2 and Nokia 8.

9. BGChicago

Posts: 227; Member since: Nov 16, 2014

None of which is compact.

12. libra89

Posts: 2317; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Ha, both are way taller than the iPhone X.

10. libra89

Posts: 2317; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Why not the Samsung Galaxy A3 2017? The S8 is too tall to be compact imo, also why not the iPhone X? It's way shorter than the S8.

13. BGChicago

Posts: 227; Member since: Nov 16, 2014

A3 is way undespeced. I believe it only has 2gb RAM?

15. libra89

Posts: 2317; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

You are correct about the RAM. It's more of a mid-range phone.

11. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Should've been Best Compact SMARTPHONES of 2017. I could slap a 3310 in there.

17. paul.k

Posts: 303; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

You win, sir

18. Joosty

Posts: 491; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

The XZ1 Compact is a beast... Loved it while I used it.

19. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3168; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Forget screen size, let's concentrate on overall footprint. The BlackBerry KEYone has the smallest display at 4-1/2" but is taller than most phablets.

21. 420BenchPress

Posts: 7; Member since: Nov 14, 2017

I know it’s a little older but the iPhone SE is going to be one of the best compact and value phones on the market. I’m going to rock my 128GB SE until the wheels fall off.

22. Phullofphil

Posts: 1832; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

All I know is none of these are compact phones. Yeah the iPhone 8 is the smallest iPhone but come on it’s not small. Maybe the iPhone se could be considered compact but even that said what’s concidered compact these days I am confused

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