Top 6 best small and compact phones: mini smartphones for one-handed use (2017)


I am looking for a new phone and I want it to be small. Small enough, so that I can use it with a single hand and carry it in my pocket most of the time.

And in 2017, it seems like there is less rather than more choice in this category.

There are much less small phones overall, and there are even less good small phones.

For this particular quest, I was looking for phones that come with a 5-inch or a smaller display, that do not go over 70mm in terms of width, that run well and that provide good battery life. I could not pick all that many great options, but sometimes less is more. So help me out, which of these four phones would you go for if you had to choose a good small phone in 2017?

#1: Apple iPhone 7 | iPhone 6s | iPhone SE



Apple has remained one of few companies to offer a full set of truly 'mini' phones that you can handle easily with a single hand: both the 4" iPhone SE and the 4.7" iPhone 7 and 6s fall in that category. Of course, it is the affordable iPhone SE that best fits the bill and Apple has recently updated the model to have a 32GB base storage option and a 128GB version for those who need extra storage. The iPhone SE starts at $400. At $550, you have the iPhone 6s, an excellent 4.7" phone that supports 4K video and Apple's Live Photos, while the newest iPhone 7 is the most expensive out of the bunch with its $650 price, but it also has the best performing processor of any phone, improved battery life and camera performance.

#2: Google Pixel



The 5" Google Pixel is not quite as compact as the iPhone series, but it fits our criteria and it's a genuinely great device (if you can find it). The Pixel offers the smoothest performance of any Android phone that we've used so far, and it's also got the best camera in a mobile phone to date. This, coupled with the guarantee for day one updates, makes the Pixel the best Android option for those looking for a compact Android phone and are not afraid of the Pixel's $650 price tag.

#3: Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)



Small and affordable phones are not that common any more, so that's why we were happy to see the 4.7-inch Galaxy A3 (2017) make an appearance in the beginning of 2017. This very affordable phone has a great glass and metal design, water protection, the new USB-C port, as well as Samsung's modern interface. The Galaxy A series are not available in the United States, but they are in Europe and if you can get your hands on one, it's a great fit for 'best, compact and affordable'.

#4: Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime



Last but not least we have the Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime. This one is the best value for the money out of all the aforementioned options, but it also comes with one important downside. The Redmi 4 Prime, a 5" monster powered by a 4,100 mAh battery and the modern Snapdragon 625 system chip, is not available officially in the United States and / or Europe. You can import it, but the price grows higher if you do, and it features the confusing MIUI custom skin that in some cases ruins notifications for some messengers. If you are willing to take a risk, though, the Redmi 4 Prime provides a killer battery life, good-looking display and a good camera for under $200.

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28 Comments

1. Phonehex

Posts: 763; Member since: Feb 16, 2016

Galaxy S8 should be on top of this list. Its narrower than most of these phones.

3. jellmoo

Posts: 2588; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

No it shouldn't, and it's narrower than two of these phones, not most.

4. Phonehex

Posts: 763; Member since: Feb 16, 2016

Only 1mm width between S8 and outdated 6s and 7 , and junk Redmi 4. S8 is King of compactness. Only the extinct SE is narrower. Maybe your girlfriend finds 1mm more exciting , but in most cases its not.

7. jellmoo

Posts: 2588; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

The S8 is an engineering marvel, and very compact *for it's screen size*. It is not, however, a compact phone. Despite how narrow it is, it is considerably taller than any of these devices which will definitely affect one handed use.

11. libra89

Posts: 2281; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

+1 Height is very important when it comes to one hand usage. I have given up phones that are too tall.

20. Vega007

Posts: 78; Member since: May 18, 2017

You are still wrong and should learn the proper use of "most".

14. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1060; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

I get why they didn't do the s8 because of height, but then why not include the s7, its no bigger than pixel or iPhone, and is now more affordable

2. civicsr2cool

Posts: 269; Member since: Oct 19, 2016

Not suprised to see 5 inch phones on this list compared to a 4 inch phone, and why no x compact but you have redmi and pixel..? Android OEMs pull your head out of your ass and bring back 4 inch flagships.

5. shortkey

Posts: 53; Member since: May 19, 2017

Screw you. With the exception of iPhone SE, none of those are "small" nor "compact". Anything with a screen the size of 4.5" and bigger is just big.

6. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Exactly this Loving my SE, it is one of its kind And no X compact here? What a joke

9. billylegoat

Posts: 7; Member since: Apr 17, 2017

What would you expect ? they hate Sony

26. domfonusr

Posts: 1085; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

I agree wholeheartedly that only the iPhone SE from this list is truly "compact." There is no way I would ever spend $400 on one, so that is out, but I am not going to get a phone as small as I have had in the past. My Moto E, with a 4.5" screen, is near my upper limit on one-handed usability, and I am not going to get a phone that is less than 5 inches for less than $100 that still has a minimum of 16GB of ROM. I may have to settle for two-handed use from now on.

8. fonephreak

Posts: 24; Member since: Feb 11, 2017

Redmi 4 prime should be on top, the author should atleast try to gain some knowledge about the products before writing an article since the notification access is granted to all the known apps by default and importing one doesnt raise the price significantly just $20 and including everything can be bought for $170. Secondly while mentioning pixel why do people forget S7 not the demented one which on any day is a much better phone than overpriced crap like pixel

10. Hama22

Posts: 60; Member since: Jul 17, 2015

Are u serious not putting the X Compact in? LOL

12. libra89

Posts: 2281; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

I have had the X Compact 2 times and it's an okay phone. The iPhone SE not only performs better, it also takes better pictures too.

22. cocoy

Posts: 457; Member since: Oct 30, 2015

Really? the SE takes better picture to you? What taste do you have? My 2015 Huawei P8 takes better picture than Iphone 7 and my SE sucks a lot. You probably didn't own a phone which takes better picture than your SE that's why you don't know it sucks on that. Or you don't know how to use the manual mode on X Compact.

23. cocoy

Posts: 457; Member since: Oct 30, 2015

Oh, I mean eyes not taste. Wrong choice of words.

25. libra89

Posts: 2281; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Fair point about the manual mode. For those who will use it, it can take nice pictures. Some people shoot manual and that is fine, but a decent number of people do not, which is why I said that. It isn't a good point and shoot in my experience and that is how I prefer to take pictures. Actually, I do own a phone that is one of the top camera smartphones today so I do know what I'm seeing. I should have said that it isn't a good point and shoot, my apologies.

13. libra89

Posts: 2281; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Great list! Thanks! I would love to try the Galaxy A3 2017 but I can't find the version that would actually work well here, stateside. As a result, I have the Pixel as my only Android phone. One hand usage on that is 10/10, I'm a fan. I wish the Redmi 4 Prime would have bands that are NA friendly but this list is very solid.

16. Moose

Posts: 418; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

The Redmi 4 Prime has LTE Band 7, like most Chinese phones, and is compatible with LTE on 4 carriers in Canada that offer LTE Band 7 - Rogers, Fido, Bell & Virgin. Just thought I would throw that in as you referred to "NA friendly" as if all NA countries were the same as the US.

17. libra89

Posts: 2281; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Fair point there, I stand corrected. I should have just said US friendly. I had no idea that a different band is used up there. In my experience, phones made for Latin America/Mexico (I know they aren't the same but they do get a lot of the same model phones) usually also work in the US.

15. Moose

Posts: 418; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

I agree with the Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime, my first choice, but a couple of other 5 inch phones deserve consideration too. I have tried the Huawei Nova and really liked it, got nearly 2 days battery life and now on Android Nougat. Also, the Lenovo Zuk Z2 is a great 5 inch phone with high end specs now available for under $200.

18. libra89

Posts: 2281; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

I wanted the Nova for ages but lucky for you and unlucky for me, it's impossible to even try to buy one in the US that would work on American carriers.

19. zenun12

Posts: 205; Member since: Oct 31, 2016

Where did X Compact go? If my calculations is right, it's much more potent than the A3(2017)

21. jimjam unregistered

The samsung S7 is smaller than the pixel and a heck of a lot better than the A3. Though the A3 is smaller. Just had to get the pixel in there didn't you. No Xperia X Compact?!

24. cocoy

Posts: 457; Member since: Oct 30, 2015

The author probably hates sony that much to exclude the x compact on this list.

27. Alin03

Posts: 36; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

The Sony Xperia. X compact should also be in that list

28. dirtydarko

Posts: 12; Member since: Nov 03, 2014

These are all way too big! This list has only two compact phones, the SE and A4. Where is the Sony X Compact or the Kickstarter Jelly?

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