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Best Mini Mobiles: Our favourite compact phones reviewed

We review and compare the best mini mobiles and compact smartphones that you can buy in 2017, which feature screens of 5-inches or under. From the Sony Xperia XA1 and Xperia XZ1 Compact to Apple’s iPhone 7 and the Moto G5, these easy-to-handle handsets cover a full range of budgets.

Back in the day, the trend was for mobile phones to be as small as humanly possible, while still remaining functional. If you could accidentally inhale the thing while on a phone call, or comfortably fit it into your nasal passage for easy storage, then all the better.

Of course with the growth of video streaming services and the rest, our phones are now almost as massive as they were in the ‘80s. Even the mighty iPhone has blown up in scale, while the latest flagships such as the Galaxy S8 and LG G6 are as big as some tablets, packing enormous 6-inch displays.

The good news is, you can still pick up some compact phones in 2017 if you’re after a comfortable, easy-to-use handset. Here’s our pick of the best mini mobiles around right now.

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact

Price: £399
Release Date: September 2017
Our Review: Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review

If you want the ultimate dinky blower right now, look no further than the Xperia XZ1 Compact. For just under £400 you get almost the same premium specs of Sony’s full-sized flagship phone, the Xperia XZ1, in a miniature form.

Packed inside of that dinky frame is the Snapdragon 835 chipset, while the 4.7-inch 720p screen is bright, crisp and vibrant. We also love the powerful camera, which can burst shot using the autofocus and even capture a 3D model of your head. For, um, some reason we can’t quite figure out.

All of that is wrapped inside of a colourful metal chassis that’s rugged, water resistant and super easy to handle. 

Sony Xperia X Compact

Price: £350
Release Date: September 2016
Our Review: Sony Xperia X Compact review

Sony launched its previous Compact phone near the end of 2016, and like the Xperia XZ1 Compact, this mini 4.6-inch handset is a compressed version of an earlier Sony phone – the Xperia X.

You get the same mid-range Snapdragon 650 processor, which means no real performance boost compared with the even older Z5 Compact sadly. But performance is still relatively smooth and battery life is as solid as ever, with smart charging tech on hand to limit long-term cell damage.

You also get a very respectable 23-megapixel camera, with decent low-light functionality. A laser-guided autofocus and improved image stabilisation makes for blur-free photos, even when you’re chilling in a basement bar or club.

Sony Xperia XA1

Price: £220
Release Date: May 2017
Our Review: Sony Xperia XA1 review

Another entry for the Japanese giant, although only just. Sony’s Xperia XA1 narrowly squeezes into this category with its 5-inch screen, but this brilliant budget blower feels even more compact thanks to its stunning edge-to-edge panel. In other words, the bezels to the left and right of the display are practically non-existent, for a supremely comfortable fit in the hand.

The XA1 isn’t just easy to handle, though. That fantastic 23-megapixel camera is ideal for everyday snaps and one of the best to be found at this price point. You also get a colourful HD screen, solid battery life and some decent Sony features on board.

Apple iPhone SE

Price: From £379
Release Date: March 2016
Our Review: iPhone SE review

Apple has moved on from its 4-inch phones of yesteryear, or at least so we all thought. But then in early 2016, the Cupertino company took us back to the old school with its mini iPhone SE.

Thankfully, although the dinky dimensions were a blast from the past, the iPhone SE’s internals were bang up-to-date. You get the same super-powered Apple A9 processor from the iPhone 6s, as well as the same brilliant 12-megapixel camera tech. And that Retina screen is as sharp as ever, offering gorgeous, crisp visuals.

Apple iPhone 8

Price: From £499
Release Date: September 2016

The iPhone may have grown in size compared with the old 4-inch models, but the iPhone 8 still packs a relatively demure 4.7-inch display. Apple’s slim and light design makes it easy enough to slip into even super-tight short shorts, yet is still blessed with premium specs and impressive power.

You might not get the dual lens camera of the Plus model, but it’s still a solid snapper, while the rest of the hardware is pretty much a match. Given how easy the iPhone 8 is to handle and use, we’re willing to take that hit.

Check out our iPhone 8 vs iPhone 8 Plus vs iPhone X comparison to see how these Apple handsets stack up.

Apple iPhone 7

Price: From £599
Release Date: September 2016
Our Review: Apple iPhone 7 review

Although it’s been succeeded by the iPhone 8, we’re still big fans of the previous year’s dinky model, the iPhone 7. ANd the fact that you can get it for a lower price these days is a big bonus.

You get the usual pin-sharp Retina screen with support for Apple’s 3D Touch technology as well as an all-new 12-megapixel snapper. That sexy camera tech can capture decent low-light shots and produces life-like images, in almost any conditions.

The iPhone 7 was also the first Apple phone to boast full water resistance, so you can dunk it in your drink without suffering a trip to an Apple store. And it’s since been updated to iOS 11, to serve up all of Apple’s new software features.

Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)

Price: £249
Release Date: March 2017
Our Review: Samsung Galaxy A3 2017 preview

Samsung’s new Galaxy A3 is a solid update on the already-great Galaxy A3 2016. The 2017 model offers the same compact design, with a 4.7-inch display packed inside a mini frame that’s perfect for one-handed use. However you now also get a fingerprint sensor, for quick and effective security.

That 13-megapixel camera is great for social sharing of fun snaps, while the other specs make for a satisfying everyday experience.

LG Spirit

Price: £200
Release Date: Summer 2016
Our Review: LG Spirit review

If the Xperia Compacts and the mini iPhones are out of your price league, then check out this affordable mini mobile instead.

The 4.7-inch LG Spirit has some pretty unique features for a budget blower, including comfortable rear-mounted controls and LG’s own Knock Code security. Movie fans will be satisfied by the sharp screen resolution and the 8-megapixel camera is decent for the price, with a pleasingly simple app to shoot your everyday life.

Moto G5

Price: £169
Release Date: April 2017
Our Review: Moto G5 review

Another affordable compact phone is the Moto G5, a 5-inch budget blower released early 2017.

The new Moto G5 stays true to the winning Moto G series formula, with an emphasis on solid design, long battery life and a dependable camera experience – all for an affordable asking price. Certain elements, like the lack of storage, fall a wee bit short of the mark of course. Not surprising given those budget roots.

However, the Moto G5 packs in plenty of character and functionality and should appeal to social media butterflies. Not to mention anyone who wants a comfortable everyday experience.

Motorola Moto E4

Price: £119
Release Date: September 2017
Our Review: Moto E4 review

The Moto E4 delivers solid value for money, coming in cheaper than pretty much any other smartphone by a well-known manufacturer. Despite that low asking price you still get HD visuals, a neat metal design, dependable battery life and performance that isn’t frustrating, making this a great choice for students, festival goers and anyone else hunting for an affordable device.

Best of all, that compact 5-inch screen makes for a mini mobile that’s great for one-handed use, helped along by some neat software features.

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