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Best small phone of 2021: best compact phones

As with so many things, larger smartphones aren’t always better, and this list best represents the best choice for low-cost small phones on the market in 2021.

Why do you need a small phone?

When the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 was released, many were outraged by the increase in size. This screen size is considered ridiculously small these days.

Simply put, phones have gotten too big. Bezels on phones have decreased significantly over the past few years, but that doesn’t mean people suddenly want to own a 6.9-inch beast like the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

People with smaller hands will find it uncomfortable to use a phone with a constantly two-handed phone, not only when it is in the hand, but also when it constantly pokes out of jeans pockets. The smaller handsets can be used with one hand, are much easier to fit in a pocket or bag, and can do everything a large phone can do in a more compact body.

Foldable devices such as the revived Motorola RAZR and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and Z Flip 3, which use the old clamshell design but combine them with new foldable display technology, give you the best of both – a device with large screen in a compact body.

Best Small Phone of 2021

  • Pros: Lightweight and compact | High performance | Great cameras
  • Minuses: Limited battery life | Relatively expensive | No ProMotion display

By far the best small phone in the world – considering its size-performance ratio, it impresses with its (still 60Hz) 5.4-inch OLED Super Retina XDR display.

The 13 Mini is powered by the same cutting-edge A15 Bionic chipset found in the rest of the series, and has more base storage and a bigger battery than its predecessor (even if longevity still lags behind the competition).

The dual rear 12MP camera also gets improved stabilization from last year, improved sensors and new shooting options like Cinematic Mode, and the selfie is one of the best in the industry.

The screen can feel cramped for typing, so try it out in the Apple Store before you buy if you can and think carefully about the price, as the 2020 iPhone 12 Mini is still an excellent little phone that now costs even less.

Read our full Apple iPhone 13 mini review

2

iPhone 12 Mini is a fantastic all-rounder

iPhone 12 mini

  • Pros: Lightweight and compact | High performance | Great cameras
  • Minuses: Limited battery life | Relatively expensive | No ProMotion display

The iPhone 12 Mini is the smallest of the four phones in Apple’s 2020 lineup and, despite its successor, it probably still boasts the best size-performance ratio of any smartphone right now.

On the front, you’ll find a beautiful 5.4-inch display that stretches across the entire front of the phone (excluding the Face ID-enabled notch).

It also includes a pair of stellar cameras, MagSafe wireless charging compatible with iPhones, and what remains one of the most powerful SoCs in Apple’s own A14 Bionic. 5G is included too, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Read our full iPhone 12 mini review

3

iPhone 13 Pro – Best Camera

Apple iPhone 13 Pro

  • Pros: ProMotion Display | Excellent Cameras | Highest performance | Longer battery life
  • Minuses: Cinematic Mode and HDR Algorithm Needs Improvement | Expensive

Despite the lack of the “Mini” in the name, the size of standard Apple phones and “Pro” phones is still below average, thanks to some significant Android alternatives.

The iPhone 13 Pro sits on top of this heap, offering the latest and greatest in raw performance from its A15 Bionic chip, along with three excellent cameras that boast Apple ProRAW and ProRes support for photos and videos, plus a few more. experimental features like Cinematic Mode that, with a little tweaking from Apple, will leave you impressed.

Battery life has improved dramatically as well, and the 13 Pro also finally integrates ProMotion on iPhone with a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display that supports dynamic refresh rates up to 120Hz.

Read our full Apple iPhone 13 Pro review

4

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 – the best foldable

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G

  • Pros: Elegant folding design | Waterproofness | More affordable than ever
  • Minuses: No telephoto lens | Average battery life | Still need to be tougher

Samsung took its revolutionary foldable Galaxy Z Flip, improved everything from design to performance – and then made it cheaper!

The Z Flip 3 is a beautiful expression of the evolution of foldable smartphone technology and somehow manages to incorporate water resistance into its design. So you get a phone with a fairly large frequency of 6.7 inches and 120Hz. Full HD + AMOLED that folds in half making it more compact.

Battery life and dual cameras could be better, but despite flagship-grade performance in groundbreaking design, the Flip 3’s price tag also proves that foldable devices can dance in the same space as regular high-end smartphones without any major sacrifices. …

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G review

5

iPhone 13 – great performance

Apple iPhone 13

  • Pros: Brilliant performance | Possible Cameras | Long battery life | Great value
  • Minuses: Still 60Hz display | No telephoto lens | Slow charging

While it outperforms the 13 Pro’s high refresh rate display, the iPhone 13 still boasts cutting edge features like Apple’s latest A15 Bionic 5nm chip and the latest camera features like Cinematic Mode.

The rear camera system is now positioned diagonally, primarily to accommodate the impressive sensor-shifting OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) that was exclusive to the 2020 iPhone 12 Pro Max (though telephoto is still not present), and on the front despite those the same 60 Hz. the refresh rate remains the same – you still get a stunning 6.1-inch OLED display with a 20% smaller notch.

As with the 13 Pro, the iPhone 13 has the best battery life, but fast charging speeds are still lagging far behind.

Read our full Apple iPhone 13 review

6

Google Pixel 5 – Best for Android

Google Pixel 5

  • Pros: Excellent long term software support | High performance | Small 5G phone
  • Minuses: Competitors Offer Beautiful Displays | Uninteresting design

While the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are already here, neither can be considered “ small, ” so the 2020 Pixel 5 should do all the hard work for those after one of the rare worthwhile small Android phones.

Upgraded to Android 12 with the arrival of the Pixel 6 and a longer lifespan of security updates than a regular Android phone, the Pixel 5 still has a lot to love beyond its size.

The company’s clever imaging solutions make the camera’s dull hardware surprisingly formidable, and battery life has improved dramatically from its predecessor to the point of actually being usable.

Good little Android phones are hard to find and are the best option in terms of power to size ratio.

Read our full Google Pixel 5 review

7

iPhone 12 is a great all-rounder

Apple iPhone 12

  • Pros: Stylish industrial design | Great display | Solid cameras
  • Minuses: Still only 60Hz display | Slow charging

The Mini may be the epitome of today’s “small iPhone,” but at 6.1-inches, the display on the standard iPhone 12 remains pleasingly compact.

Although it may not be enough Being pocketable, it boasts the same great specs as the 12 Mini (including 5G), but uses a larger area to house a larger battery and faster 15W wireless charging system (instead of 12W).

The balance achieved also made it our pick among the 2020 iPhones overall, even when compared to the 12 Pro.

Read our full Apple iPhone 12 review

eight

iPhone 12 Pro – still great

iPhone 12 Pro

  • Pros: Stylish industrial design | Great display | Solid cameras
  • Minuses: The frame attracts fingerprints | Still only 60Hz display | Slow charging

The iPhone 12 Pro is a phenomenal smartphone built around a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display at 60Hz that’s crisp and vibrant.

Its price has kept its greatness at bay last year, which became less of an issue when the iPhone 13 lineup arrived.

Three excellent rear-facing cameras deliver industry-leading video capture and overall performance remains one of the best in the industry.

Despite the addition of MagSafe for iPhone, we just wish Apple would focus on faster charging.

Read our full iPhone 12 Pro review

nine

Samsung Galaxy S21 is a great option for ease of use

Samsung Galaxy S21

  • Pros: Beautiful 120Hz display | Good user interface | High performance
  • Minuses: Some downgrades compared to the S20 | Plastic assembly

Samsung kicked off 2021 with one of the world’s most powerful Android phones – with the next-gen Exynos 2100 / Snapdragon 888 at its core (market dependent).

Beyond pure performance, the Galaxy S21 boasts a great design, full feature set, and is significantly less expensive than its predecessor.

Its 6.2-inch display is already relatively compact, but One UI’s flexible one-handed operation also helps expand the benefits of this compact Galaxy S.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S21 review

ten

Asus ZenFone 8 is a great Android alternative

Asus ZenFone 8

  • Pros: Nice little Android phone | Crisp 120Hz display | Great performance
  • Minuses: Impressive battery life | Mediocre design | Poor heat management

There are very few compact Android phones worth buying, especially those with screens below six inches.

Asus surprised us with a more modest version of its 2021 ZenFone flagship. While the ZenFone 8 loses out to its sibling’s iconic PTZ camera, it makes up for it with an impressive compact design led by a 5.9-inch 120Hz AMOLED display.

It also combines flagship-grade performance with a matching rugged duo of front-facing cameras. Battery life could be better, as well as heat management, but in our eyes it’s still a worthwhile choice.

Read our full Asus ZenFone 8 review

On the subject: How we test smartphones

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