Smartphones are getting bigger and bigger. So many devices today, especially flagships, now offer displays measuring at least 5.5 inches. Large smartphones have their share of problems. They are not easy to use with one hand and are slightly harder to carry around.
Some consumers actually still prefer small Android phones, and by “small” we mean devices that have a display of 5 inches or less. But are there any options left? Actually yes, though it depends on what you’re looking for. Unfortunately, you also mostly have to settle for slightly older phones, or phones with less powerful hardware inside.
Google Pixel 2
If you’re in the market for one of the best small Android phones, definitely look at the Pixel 2. Though it is no longer brand new, Google’s 2017 flagship is still great at just about everything.
The device has a 5-inch OLED 1080p display with a pixel density of 441ppi. It doesn’t have a fancy 18:9 aspect ratio screen or a bezel-less design, but it has front-facing speakers above and below the display. Inside, it comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, along with 4GB of LPDDR4x RAM. You can buy the phone with either 64 GB or 128 GB of onboard storage, but there’s no microSD card to add additional storage, nor does it have a headphone jack.
If you like taking photos with your phone, you’ll be very pleased with the Pixel 2’s 12.2MP camera. Not only was it named as the best smartphone camera on the market at the time by DxOMark, we found the Pixel 2’s main camera to be incredibly impressive in most situations. There’s even a portrait mode on the front and back cameras, even though the phone doesn’t have a dual-camera setup. It ships with Android 8.0 out of the box but you can not only update it to Android 9 Pie, but it is guaranteed to get updated to the next version of the OS as well, the currently named Android 10.
Google no longer sells the Pixel 2 directly, but Amazon sells the unlocked version, with the starting price of $558.
- 5-inch OLED display, 1,920 x 1,080 resolution
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor
- 4GB of RAM
- 64/128GB of on-board storage, no expansion
- 12.2MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
- Non-removable 2,700mAh battery
- Android 8.0 Oreo (Update to Android 9 Pie)
- 145.7 x 69.7 x 7.8 mm, 143 g
Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact
The successor to the Xperia XZ1 Compact is Sony’s latest phone to squeeze in high-end smartphone features in a small form factor. It may only have a 5-inch display, but the Xperia XZ2 Compact still has a very powerful chip inside, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor.
It also has 4GB of RAM, 64GB of onboard storage, and a 2,870 mAh battery. In addition, it has IP68 dust and water resistance and a 19MP rear camera with Sony’s Motion Eye technology, which is supposed to capture photos a couple of seconds before the user actually takes the photo for better visuals. Slow motion video at 960fps is still available but now has been upgraded to 1080p resolution and the camera natively supports HDR video recording for richer colors and more details. The 3D Creator app Sony implemented last year for creating 3D model scans has also been improved to support this phone’s 5MP front-facing camera.
The Xperia XZ2 Compact is currently available to purchase unlocked on Amazon for $488. It will only work on GSM carriers like T-Mobile or AT&T. It is certainly the most advanced of the small Android phones on this list in terms of hardware.
- 5-inch FHD+ HDR display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
- 4GB of RAM
- 64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
- 19MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
- Non-removable 2,870mAh battery
- Android 8.0 Oreo
- 135 x 65 x 12.1 mm, 168 g
Looking for a really small phone? The Unihertz Jelly is a tiny phone with just a 2.45-inch 240 × 432 display. It’s a phone you can take anywhere with you, without having to deal with holding or dealing with a phone with a big screen. It has a 1.1 GHz quad-core processor, 1 to 2GB of RAM, 8 to 16GB of onboard storage, an 8MP rear camera, a 2MP front shooter, dual-SIM support and a 950mAh battery. It comes with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box.
The Unihertz Jelly Pro, with the 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, is still available for sale. You can get it on Amazon for just $125.
- 2.45-inch 240 × 432 display
- 1.1GHz quad-core processor
- 1/2GB of RAM
- 8/16GB of onboard storage
- 8MP rear camera, 2MP front camera
- 950mAh battery
- Android 7.0 Nougat
- 92.4 x 43 x 13mm, 60.4g
HMD Global relaunched the Nokia brand in 2017. At the moment, the smallest of the company’s devices is the Nokia 1, with a 4.5-inch 480 x 854 display. Inside, there’s a MediaTek MT6737M processor running at 1.1 GHz, along with 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, a 5MP camera in the back and a 2MP camera on the front. It also comes with a 2,150mAh battery and runs the Android Go edition of Android 8.1 Oreo.
You can get the Nokia 1 for as little as 70 pounds (~$92) in the U.K. via Amazon. It’s a worthy addition to the best small Android phones list.
- 4.5-inch 480 x 854 resolution display
- 1.1 GHz MediaTek MT6737M
- 1GB of RAM
- 8GB of onboard storage, microSD expansion up to 32GB
- 5MP rear camera, 2MP front camera
- Non-removable 2,150mAh battery
- Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Edition)
- 133.6 x 67.78 x 9.5mm, 131 g
It may only have a 2.45-inch display, but the Atom has been given the highest IP68 rating for water and dust resistance, which means not only does this phone fit nearly anywhere, it should be able to take a lot of abuse. You could even wear it comfortably on your arm as you run. In fact, Unihertz is selling optional running, biking and body clips for the Atom so it can be securely placed on your body or your bike.
The phone uses an unnamed octa-core 2GHz processor, and the Atom still crams in 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage. It also has a 16MP rear camera, an 8MP front-facing camera, and a 2,000mAh battery. It even has a USB Type-C port, a headphone jack, and a fingerprint scanner, along with a programmable key on the side that can be set to quickly launch an app, take a quick picture and more. The phone works on AT&T, T-Mobile and even Verizon Wireless in the US. The Unihertz Atom small smartphone is available now on Amazon for $260.
- 2.45-inch display, 432 x 240
- Android 8.1 Oreo
- Octa-core 2Ghz processor
- 4GB of RAM
- 64GB of storage,
- 16MP rear camera, 8MP front-facing camera
- 2,000mAh battery
- 96 x 45 x 18mm, 106g
Palm was one of the most well-known names in the early smartphone era. However, the original company behind it shut down long ago, and its brand name has been bought by more than one business over the years. The startup company that now owns the Palm IP bought it in 2017 from TCL, who helped this new company design and make this new and small phone that shares the Palm name. This startup believes the Palm is perfect for people who want to go to places where having a normal or big-screen smartphone is less convenient.
The new Palm phone has a tiny 3.3-inch display, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of non-expandable onboard storage, along with a super-small& 800mAh battery inside. This tiny phone manages to pack in a 12MP rear camera, a 5MP front-facing camera, and an IP68 water resistance rating, too. It comes with Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, with its own UI skin designed for this small a screen.
The new Palm is a Verizon Wireless exclusive, and it’s priced at $350. However, you must have a Verizon smartphone and line already set up as the new Palm will share your main phone line and account. Recently, Palm announced it would sell a stand-alone version of the phone for the price of $300 (with a two-year contract). During the month of April, that price will be lowered to $199.99.
- 3.3-inch display, 720 x 1280
- Snapdragon 435 processor
- 3GB of RAM
- 32GB of storage,
- 12MP rear camera, 8MP front-facing camera
- 800mAh battery
- Android 8.1 Oreo
- 50.6 x 96.6 x 7.4mm; 62.5g
There you have it. Those are our picks for the best small Android phones on the market right now, with a look at what’s to come in this sub-genre. Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.