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:

The Galaxy S8's 5.8-inch display may sound huge on paper, but due to its 18.5:9 ratio, it really isn't. Well, it is noticeably tall, sure, but also quite narrow. When we combine this with the edge curves on the screen's sides and the almost-not-there bezels, we have a phone that is extremely easy to hold in one hand, really good reachability, and generally \u2014 something that we would call a \"compact handset\" in this day and age.","title":"Samsung Galaxy S8","module":"articles"},{"type":"image","id":1,"image_id":308360,"width":1600,"height":1067,"name":"3-iPhone-8.jpg","comment":"
$329.99 Apple iPhone 8 ON AMAZON
Sans the iPhone X, Apple's \"mainstream\" handset hasn't moved an inch (harr harr, puns) for the past 4 years \u2014 the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 is still as easy to wield as its predecessors. From here on, it's up to you to choose \u2014 an iPhone 6s (from $450) that has a headphone jack, but no water-proofing, no Taptic engine, and no OIS for the camera, an iPhone 7 (from $550) that has all of these, with the exception of a 3.5 mm jack, and an iPhone 8 (from $700) that adds a glass back and wireless charging to the mix.","title":"Apple iPhone 8","module":"articles"},{"type":"image","id":2,"image_id":308361,"width":1600,"height":1067,"name":"4-XZ1-Compact.jpg","comment":" Of course, Sony's Compact series has a place in this pick. Every other year, the manufacturer releases an Xperia that has specs on-par with its most current flagship, but in a tiny, light body, with a 4.6-inch display. In fact, Sony is the only Android phone manufacturer that still caters towards the \"small, but powerful phone\" niche, which is one of the reasons it still gets respect points from many users out there.","title":"Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact","module":"articles"},{"type":"image","id":3,"image_id":308358,"width":1600,"height":1200,"name":"2-Huawei-P10.jpg","comment":"
$299.99 Huawei P10 ON AMAZON
The Huawei P10 sports a 5.1-inch display with the classic 16:9 aspect ratio. However, thanks to some really, really thin side bezels it feels guite manageable in the hand. It's only 1.2 mm wider than the Galaxy S8 and, due to the display not being as tall as the one on the Sammy flagship, it's sort of easy to stretch for the notifications shade, too. The P10 is not officially available in the US, but due to it being sold in Canada, it's easy to grab a hold of one through Amazon, Ebay, and other such sites.","title":"Huawei P10","module":"articles"},{"type":"image","id":4,"image_id":308362,"width":1600,"height":1067,"name":"5-XA1.jpg","comment":"
$249.29 Sony Xperia XA1 ON AMAZON
The XA series is Sony's take on the bezel-less look... well, if you don't count the over-emphasized \"chin\" and \"forehead\" the phone sports. Still, it's quite easy to wrap your fingers around the midrange, 5-inch Xperia XA1. It costs half the price of the Xperia XZ1 Compact, too, though, the difference in hardware class is noticeable.","title":"Sony Xperia XA1","module":"articles"},{"type":"image","id":5,"image_id":308363,"width":1600,"height":1067,"name":"6-Q6.jpg","comment":"
$109.99 LG Q6 ON AMAZON
The Q6 was the first widely-available midrange phone to sport the all-new 18:9 screen aspect ratio. LG introduced it shortly after the LG G6, which is why it quickly drew comparisons and was labeled as a \"mini G6\", but it's really not. It's a lower-midrange type phone with some obvious corner cutting in its build. That said, it's pretty compact and can be had at a bargain via Amazon Prime, if you can live with the lockscreen ads.","title":"LG Q6","module":"articles"}]},"gallery-efd06e7b-c17c-40a4-bb27-b7a765f87f08":{"type":"imageGroup","data":[{"type":"image","id":0,"module":"articles","image_id":308365,"name":"Sony-Xperia-XA1-18.jpg","width":"1600","height":"1067"}]}}}

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21 Comments

1. BGChicago

Posts: 224; 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: 293; 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: 7187; 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: 224; 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: 2210; 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: 2193; 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: 454; 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: 224; Member since: Nov 16, 2014

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

6. wesley.

Posts: 209; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Missing the Pixel 2 and Nokia 8.

9. BGChicago

Posts: 224; Member since: Nov 16, 2014

None of which is compact.

12. libra89

Posts: 2271; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Ha, both are way taller than the iPhone X.

10. libra89

Posts: 2271; 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: 224; Member since: Nov 16, 2014

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

15. libra89

Posts: 2271; 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: 293; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

You win, sir

18. Joosty

Posts: 471; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

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

19. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3122; 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: 1762; 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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