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Best mini mobile phones reviewed

We review and compare the best mini, compact phones that you can buy in 2016, including the Sony Xperia X Compact and Xperia Z5 Compact, Apple's iPhone 7 and iPhone SE, the LG Spirit, Samsung's Galaxy A3 and more.

By 2016, we honestly thought that we’d be rocking phones the size of ants. Voice control would be essential as the screens would obviously be too small to poke. And if you accidentally inhaled during a phone call, you’d be forced to wait a full 24 hours to reclaim your precious miniature mobile from the toilet bowl.

Instead, phones are now almost as massive as they were in the ‘80s and even the mighty iPhone has blown up in scale. Hence, manufacturers are obliged to release ‘mini’ or ‘compact’ versions of their mobiles for those who demand a more comfortable one-handed experience (and something that won't split their shorts open).

Here’s our pick of the best mini mobiles we've reviewed, which you can buy in 2016. And for the record, that's any phones that are under 5-inches in size.

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

Price: £350
Release Date: September 2015
Our Review: Sony Xperia Z5 Compact review

This 4.6-inch beast may be much dinkier than its big brother, the Sony Xperia Z5, but it still packs the same highly versatile 23-megapixel camera, water resistant design and capable Snapdragon 810 processor.

The no-compromise specs and fun, colourful aesthetics make the Xperia Z5 Compact one of the best mini mobiles you can buy right now. And as it's a year old, you can grab it at a much reduced price of around £350 from some retailers.

Check out our 2016 re-review to see how Sony's mini mobile holds up a full year on.

Sony Xperia X Compact

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

Sony launched its latest Compact phone near the end of 2016, and like the Xperia Z5 Compact before it, 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 on the Z5 Compact sadly. But performance is still smooth and battery life is as solid as ever, with smart charging tech on hand to limit long-term cell damage.

You also get Sony's latest 23-megapixel camera, with new low-light functionality. A laser-guided autofocus and improved image stabilisation makes for blur-free photos, even when you're in some basement bar or club.

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 7

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

The iPhone may have grown in size compared with the old 4-inch models, but the iPhone 7 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 shorts, but the iPhone 7 is still blessed with premium specs as you’d expect.

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 is also the first Apple phone to boast full water resistance, so you can finally dunk it in your drink without suffering a trip to an Apple store.

Apple iPhone 6s

Price: From £499
Release Date: September 2016
Our Review: iPhone 6s review

Although it's now been succeeded by the iPhone 7, you can still pick up the excellent iPhone 6s from Apple's online store and high street shops. And with its new reduced price, this 4.7-inch mini mobile is still very enticing.

You get another solid 12-megapixel camera, nippy performance from the A9 processor and most of the iPhone 7's best features, minus the water resistance, bigger storage options and a few other bits. Considering the lower price, anyone on a budget should definitely take a look at the iPhone 6s.

Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016)

Price: £229
Release Date: March 2016
Our Review: Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 review

Samsung's new Galaxy A3 is basically a Samsung Galaxy S6 Mini by another name. This 4.7-incher is an updated version of last year's original A3 and it's a serious improvement of an already-awesome mini phone. Not only does the new A3 borrow the slick glass-and-metal design of the S6, but it actually improves Samsung's 2015 flagship in a few areas, including the excellent battery life.

You also get a very strong 13-megapixel camera and 720p HD visuals, all for a shade over £200, making this one of the best and most affordable mini Androids of 2016.

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.

Motorola Moto E (2015)

Price: £80
Release Date: Summer 2015
Our Review: Moto E review

Motorola’s surprisingly cheap mini mobile boasts loads of great features for well under £100, including 4G support, customisable cases and a clean Android Lollipop interface. Fair enough, the camera is very basic, but otherwise the Moto E is a very strong all-round compact smartphone.

If you can't afford most of the other compact handsets in this round-up, the mini Moto E is well worth considering. The basics are well handled, with an asking price that definitely won't break the bank.

Microsoft Lumia 435

Price: £40
Release Date: September 2015
Our Review: Microsoft Lumia 435 review

Microsoft’s chunky Lumia 435 is a steal at just £40. With its dinky 4-inch screen, this is one of the smallest mini mobiles in this round-up, alongside Apple's much more expensive iPhone SE. And yet the compact, lightweight frame packs in plenty of appealing features.

You get dual cameras which are perfectly serviceable for day to day snapping, as well as two days of battery life between charges. The Cortana voice assistant can help you accomplish simple tasks and that mini screen is actually not bad considering the ridiculous asking price.

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