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 X 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 XA1
|Release Date:||May 2017|
|Our Review:||Sony Xperia XA1 review|
Sony's Xperia XA1 only just fits 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.
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
|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
|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
|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
|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
|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 (2017)
|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.
|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.
|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 E (2015)
|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.