The best small compact smartphones in the UK 2023

When it comes to smartphones, the trend is "always bigger". This allows you to enjoy quality screens. On the other hand, the smartphone becomes too big to handle with one hand! To get back to something more reasonable, opt for a small compact smartphone. In fact, this segment is full of little gems from Poco, Google, Apple or Samsung. This guide to the best small compact smartphones will help you find the right model for you.

Google Pixel 5 1

Best value for money

Google Pixel 5

Best small compact smartphone

The Google Pixel 5 is a small premium compact smartphone with an incredible camera module and good battery life. This charming smartphone benefits from a clean Android interface and an unbeatable price/performance ratio.

503 £ on Boulanger

Google smartphones are remarkably minimalist in terms of design, and the Pixel 5 is no exception. The 6-inch display nearly covers the front of the smartphone and boasts a higher screen-to-body ratio than the Pixel 4. It is a crisp and bright Full HD Plus OLED display that has a maximum refresh rate of 90 Hz (it can be reduced to 60 Hz).

Under the hood, the Google Pixel 5 packs an 8-core Snapdragon 765G processor paired with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of non-expandable internal storage. The Google Pixel 5 runs on Android 11. One of the Pixel 5's biggest improvements over its predecessor is its 4,000 mAh battery. This model comes with an 18W fast charger and supports Qi wireless charging.

On the back, the Pixel 5 features a dual-lens camera system: a 12.2MP main lens and a 16MP ultra-wide lens that replaces the telephoto lens used on the Pixel 4. The main lens captures accurate colors, even in low light conditions. Most users will find the addition of an ultra-wide lens more useful than a telephoto lens, especially since Google's Super Res Zoom technology is so effective at achieving lossless digital zoom.

Google Pixel 4a 2

Best value for money

Google Pixel 4a

Best small entry-level compact smartphone

The Google Pixel 4a is aimed at photo enthusiasts. Apart from its thin, light and compact appearance, this smartphone sold for less than 400 euros surpasses the Pixel 3a with better performance, a better camera and a more competitive price.

255 £ on Boulanger

Not easy to pass after the brilliant Google Pixel 3a. But with a 5.81-inch OLED screen and very thin bezels, the Google Pixel 4a surprises everyone! To sum up, it'sa small smartphone with a big screen. To achieve this feat, the OLED panel dominates the front of the Pixel 4a, thanks to a perforated selfie camera design and very thin borders. Incredibly, the Pixel 4a is exceptionally light, due to its premium polycarbonate construction. It's also quite thin

Google's own Android experience is smooth and enjoyable on the Pixel 4a, thanks to the Snapdragon 730G processor, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. But the main draw of the Google Pixel 4a is its 12.2MP rear camera module that has a ƒ/1.7 aperture. These shots are simply stunning and rival what high-end Android and iOS smartphones can offer. The only negative point on this model remains the rather poor battery life of 3,140 mAh.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini 3

Best premium smartphone

Apple iPhone 12 Mini

Best small high-end compact smartphone

The iPhone 12 mini offers the best price/power ratio of the entire Apple catalog. This smartphone brings remarkable features and fits easily in 2 small hands, or even one.

639 £ on Boulanger

The iPhone 12 mini is Apple's best small compact smartphone, ahead of the equally impressive iPhone SE 2020. It's also the best small compact smartphone you'll find, if you don't consider price. Despite a 5.4″ OLED display that's larger than many recent smartphones, including the 2020 iPhone SE, Apple manages to present it in an ultra-thin form factor that fits easily in the palm of your hand.

Moreover, there's more than just the size that impresses here. The powerful A14 Bionic processor that powers the iPhone 12 mini comes to mind. To put it simply, this little Apple smartphone has as much processing power as the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the flagship of the Apple brand! The 2 rear cameras of the iPhone 12 Mini produce some of the best shots we've seen. And while we wish the battery would last longer, Apple's MagSafe accessories make charging the device easier.

Apple iPhone SE 2020 4

Best small compact iOS smartphone

Apple iPhone SE 2020

Best small iOS compact smartphone

The 2020 iPhone SE offers the latest iOS apps and Apple features for hundreds of dollars less than the more refined models appearing in the 2020.

391 £ on Boulanger

They just don't make small, compact smartphones as good as the new iPhone SE anymore. This little 4.7″ handset features the A13 Bionic processor, which is still lightning fast even though the new iPhones are equipped with the A14. And yet, even with all that power, the 2020 iPhone SE costs much less than the iPhone 12 Mini. The iPhone SE also brings more refinement, something rare on small, compact, cheap smartphones. This includes wireless charging, IP67 water resistance and a high-end metal and glass design.

While most smartphone manufacturers have avoided developing high-end handsets with screens smaller than about 5.5 inches, the iPhone SE looks like a product straight out of the past. It may not have the flashiest design, let alone a camera equipped with the night mode present on more expensive iPhones. But the 2020 SE handles just about everything else perfectly. And a new iPhone at this price is pretty rare.

Buying guide • November 2023

Best small compact smartphone

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Best small entry-level compact smartphone

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Comparison table of the best small compact smartphones

Google Pixel 5 5
Google Pixel 4a 6
Apple iPhone 12 Mini 7
Apple iPhone SE 2020 8
Google Pixel 5
Google Pixel 4a
Apple iPhone 12 Mini
Apple iPhone SE 2020
The Google Pixel 5 is a small premium compact smartphone with an incredible camera module and good battery life. This charming smartphone benefits from a clean Android interface and an unbeatable price/performance ratio.
The Google Pixel 4a is aimed at photo enthusiasts. Apart from its thin, light and compact appearance, this smartphone sold for less than 400 euros surpasses the Pixel 3a with better performance, a better camera and a more competitive price.
The iPhone 12 mini offers the best price/power ratio of the entire Apple catalog. This smartphone brings remarkable features and fits easily in 2 small hands, or even one.
The 2020 iPhone SE offers the latest iOS apps and Apple features for hundreds of dollars less than the more refined models appearing in the 2020.
Screen size (resolution)
6" (2340 x 1080 pixels)
5.8 inches (2340 x 1080 pixels)
5.4" (2532 x 1170 pixels)
4.7" (1334 x 750 pixels)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G (1.8 - 2.2 GHz)
A14 chip
A13 chip
8 GB
3 GB
Internal storage
128 GB
64 GB
Main photo module
12.2 MP (wide), f/1.7
12MP (wide), f/1.6
12 MP (wide), f/1.8

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Buying guide - small compact smartphone

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How to choose your small compact smartphone

Choosing a small compact smartphone is the same as choosing a smartphone larger than 6.5 inches... well almost! It's not as easy as it sounds. However, the following criteria should make your life easier.

#1 - The features

Start by making a list of the most critical features you need in your small, compact smartphone. Use the list to compare existing models. Are you looking for long battery life or the model with the best quality? Do you need lots of storage space for your music, photo collection or games? Maybe you're a frequent traveler and need a dual SIM phone. Is the smartphone compatible with 5G? Answer all these questions and you can narrow down your selection considerably.

#2 - The operating system

There are only two operating systems to consider: Android and iOS. Both are easy to use and support a wide variety of apps and games. While you can switch from Android to iOS, or from iOS to Android, there are learning curves in both directions. To get familiar, try to stick with the platform you're used to, unless you want to switch. In general, Android offers a wider selection of smartphones in different price ranges, including small, compact smartphones. Apple's iOS offers a more consistent and accessible experience, and operations are more secure.

#3 - Performance

Like full-size smartphones, the performance of a small compact smartphone will be determined by two main elements: processor and RAM. For the processor, the newer it is, the better it is in terms of speed and power efficiency. Apple's A-series chipset tends to outperform the competition. For an Android model, Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 and 865 Plus are the cream of the crop right now. How much RAM you need in a small compact smartphone is debatable, but we recommend looking for at least 4GB, at least for Android models. This doesn't apply to iPhones, though, because they handle RAM differently and don't require as much.

#4 - Photo quality

Smartphone cameras have improved dramatically in recent years. The choice can be confusing, but note that determining good camera performance is about much more than the number of megapixels. If you're able to test the phone for yourself, you should certainly do so, but you'll also find useful information in reviews and user comments.

#5 - Battery life

Removable batteries are rare these days, especially on the most compact smartphones on the market today. And just like the camera, battery life is not judged solely by the mAh rating. This rating will give an indication, but the autonomy will also be affected by the screen resolution or the operating system. The way to get an accurate idea of the battery life is to consult the comments and user feedback.

Why are small compact smartphones getting bigger and bigger?

A few years ago, smartphones were very different in size than they are today. The iPhone 8 still had a 4.7-inch screen, at a time when many Android smartphones had already projected to 5- to 5.5-inch screens. Sony has also long released the Compact models as smaller versions of the current high-end products. But with each new generation of smartphones, the screens keep getting bigger.

Many screens now measure over 6 inches, with some smartphones even reaching the 7-inch mark. However, the devices themselves are not necessarily growing. Manufacturers are now dispensing with overly thick borders, improvements in display technology allow for this. The fact that cameras are now often placed in a notch or move away from the edge of the screen contributes to the fact that the edges are getting thinner and the screens larger without increasing the overall size of the smartphone. Smartphones with screens up to 6 inches are now considered compact because they are barely larger than previous models with much smaller screens.

Small compact Android smartphone or small compact iOS smartphone?

Small compact Android smartphone

When it comes to smartphones with a compact form factor, there are many models running Android. The advantage of Android is that it offers many more customization options and Google's excellent suite of integrated application services.

Small compact iOS smartphone

At Apple, there are far fewer small compact smartphones. In fact, currently there are only two models to choose from: the 2020 iPhone SE and the iPhone 12 Mini. The main thing about the iOS models is that they have excellent security capabilities. In addition, you also get exclusive features such as Siri, fingerprint scanning, FaceTime and iCloud.


If you already use Google Maps, Gmail, Google Docs and Google Assistant, Android may be the best choice for you. Although you can download iOS versions of all of these tools from the App Store.
And if you already have a MacBook or an iPad, an iPhone will probably make the most sense for you. You'll also find a wide selection of iPhone accessories unlike the lesser known Android smartphones.

Why buy a small compact smartphone?

Very portable

The trend of larger screen phones has dominated the market in recent years. But try sitting with a larger phone in the front pocket of your jeans. It sticks out awkwardly, as if it's about to fall to the ground. These larger phones don't fit in normal-sized pockets. A small, compact smartphone fits in your pocket, even a t-shirt pocket, and it doesn't strain the seams. Women like the size of the smaller phone because it fits in a small purse.

It only takes one hand

Let's say you're rushing to a meeting trying to hold the larger phone and a cup of coffee. Usually, you end up with hot liquid splashing all over you as you try to text or read an email. But only need one hand for the compact little smartphone . Text, scroll and answer the phone, all by yourself, without spilling your coffee.

It's more robust

With small compact smartphones, all the parts stay together and the cases are more rigid, eliminating any possibility of bending.

Small and powerful

Just because the smartphone is smaller and compact doesn't mean it lacks power or functionality. Webmasters today plan for all screen sizes when configuring applications and websites. Most websites use adaptive layouts to look the same on a phone or laptop. And small, compact smartphones didn't go away once the larger screen phones started selling. So don't worry, your movies, videos and games will play the same.

Not too distracting

The benefits of a smaller phone include fitting in your pocket, being lighter, one-handed and not being as distracting. So take a break and enjoy the world around you. Look out the window once in a while or just sit back and relax, it's easier if you don't notice your phone.


Charge the battery correctly

To prolong the life of the battery, you can adopt simple charging habits. Avoid using the smartphone when it is charged. If possible, prevent the battery from going completely flat and use a suitable charging case.

Update your system

Updates are regularly offered on the operating systems (Android and iOS) and on the applications. These updates increase and improve the capabilities of your smartphone, but also strengthen its protection against external risks.

Free up space in your storage space (on Android)

To save space in the storage space of your Android gamer smartphone, proceed as follows:

  • Go to "Settings".
  • Click on "device maintenance
  • Choose the "storage" menu
  • Finalize the operation by clicking on "clean".

Avoid using your small compact smartphone while it is charging

In general, the power cable of a gamer smartphone is quite short, and this is not without reason. Indeed, it prevents you from using your phone when it is charging. This will allow for a longer battery life.

Follow the terms of use carefully

The fast charger for smartphone is an electronic product. So it is important to follow some precautions when using it. Make sure it is plugged into the wall socket, has no connection problems and its wires are not stripped. Avoid contact with or splashing of liquid on the charger.


What is the best small compact smartphone?

The best small compact smartphone depends on your needs and your budget. Read our buying guide to find out which products are the best.

Can you charge your small compact smartphone all night long?

Some types of chargers automatically terminate the charging process of the battery once it is fully charged. However, this method is strongly discouraged, as there is always a risk of damaging the smartphone.

How to clean the screen of your small compact smartphone?

To clean the screen of your small compact smartphone, it is recommended to use a computer screen wipe or a special screen spray. Avoid putting the device directly under water!

How to improve the speed of a small compact smartphone

If your phone is too slow, it may be due to a full memory. To save space without deleting files, you can always clear the cache or transfer data to a micro SD card to make room.

How to block a contact?

To get rid of unwanted callers, enter the number to be blocked in the "blocked numbers" list if it is an iPhone. Some brands offer the "blacklist" option on the contact to be blocked.


Note: Below are some of the sources we have consulted in writing this article. Links to other sites are not continuously updated. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. Please use a search engine to find the desired information.
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March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

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Our selection
Google Pixel 5 9
Google Pixel 5
Google Pixel 4a 10
Google Pixel 4a
Apple iPhone 12 Mini 11
Apple iPhone 12 Mini
Apple iPhone SE 2020 12
Apple iPhone SE 2020


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