Where have small smartphones gone? Compact mobiles, once the norm, were slowly but inexorably replaced by larger ones. The few that remain, like the iPhone mini line, seem to be dying out or cost a lot of money.
Aside from the occasional compact phone, current market trends are definitely not geared towards those with smaller hands, or just those who prefer a phone that is easy to carry in their pocket.
But don't think that small phones are a thing of the past. In fact, for the last two years we have been witnessing a renaissance of small phones, although their niche prices are not as accessible as one might hope, and at the end we will discuss the reasons why.
If you want to get one, you are in the right place. We've rounded up the best cheap small smartphones you can buy right now. They may not be as cheap as they should be, but keep in mind that you can always find them second hand.
Table of Contents
Google Pixel 6a
The Google Pixel 6a is an ergonomic compact smartphone with a 6.1-inch screen and a weight of 178 grams. Its glass back panel with curved edges makes it comfortable to hold.
Powered by the Google Tensor chip, this device smoothly handles day-to-day operations without slowdowns. However, the highlight of this mobile is probably its camera, considered one of the best under 450 euros.
Thanks to Google's computational photography, the Pixel 6a offers excellent image quality and also promises Android updates for 3 years.
The only downside is availability, as Google hasn't released this device in many markets, but it can be found online or in second-hand deals.
Asus Zenfone 9
Small phones may be a rarity, but the Asus Zenfone 9 doesn't give up. This little guy is just the right size; It's not as small as the iPhones we'll be looking at in a moment, but much more compact than most brands' flagships.
The Asus Zenfone 9 is probably the most powerful compact Android smartphone under $700, powered by the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip. It comes packed with all the extras of a high-end phone, but weighs just 169g and has a screen 5.9 inches.
But the appeal of this phone does not end there, since it is a very well designed and built terminal. Its 120Hz Super AMOLED screen stands out at first glance, as do its pair of cameras, the main 50 MP one and an ultra-wide 12 MP one.
For missing something, the Asus Zenfone 9 does not have wireless charging, although it does have a fast charge of up to 30W and a very impressive autonomy.
Apple iPhone 12mini
An iPhone in a list of small and cheap smartphones? Being from two generations ago, the iPhone 12 mini is relatively accessible, and you can find a new or refurbished model for less than 500 euros.
The iPhone 12 mini is an excellent option for those who are looking for a compact and efficient smartphone with an iOS operating system. Weighing just 135 grams and with a 5.4-inch screen, it's easy to hold and carry in your pocket.
Despite its small size, iPhone 12 mini outperforms most competitive premium mid-range devices, and many years of Apple software updates are possible.
However, autonomy can be a problem, due to its small battery. If you are concerned about battery life, you can consider the iPhone 13 mini, which offers a longer battery life. Overall, the iPhone 12 mini is a great option for those who prefer iOS and are looking for a small and portable device.
Apple iPhone SE (2022)
This is already too much, two iPhones in a list of small and cheap smartphones? Well yes, and with a design that comes directly from the past. Taking the shape of the iPhone 8, but with modern innards, last year's iPhone SE earned a spot on this list.
Its 4,7-inch LCD screen is pretty small by today's standards, but it packs a speedy A15 Bionic processor inside. At only 144 grams, it feels excellent in the hand, although its "vintage" design wastes much of its size.
With a single camera on the rear, setup is a breeze compared to almost any smartphone today. It has a 12-megapixel sensor that offers acceptable color reproduction, although the processor bears much of the responsibility for this.
Why are there fewer and fewer small smartphones?
The current trend in the smartphone market is towards larger devices due to the demand for more advanced specifications and the need for more space to integrate current technology.
This has led brands to produce larger devices to meet user demands and maintain their position in the market. Currently, producing an average-sized smartphone is cheaper than a compact one.
However, there are still some brands that produce small smartphones, but these tend to be more expensive due to the lack of economies of scale and the difficulty of integrating all the technology in a smaller device.
Foldables as the future of small smartphones
Foldable phones are an emerging trend in the mobile phone market and are gaining more and more popularity. These devices combine the functionality of a smartphone and a tablet in a single format that can offer a more versatile experience.
However, it is also true that foldable phones are more expensive than conventional smartphones. There remain questions about the long-term durability of folding screens, and little content that is capable of taking advantage of this format.
So whether or not foldable phones will be the future of the mobile phone market is yet to be known, and only time will tell.