For the past 3 years, we have seen some huge, huge smartphones come into the market. There was a time when I laughed at the huge size of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Today, I see everyone around me carry smartphones bigger than that one. There seems to be no place in the smartphone market for compact smartphones, which I, and I think so many others prefer buying.
The only compact smartphones easily available today are the iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone XS, iPhone X, iPhone 8, the archaic iPhone 7, the Samsung Galaxy S10E, Google Pixel 3, Pixel 4 & Pixel 3A. Yes, there is one from Sony, but be honest, who buys a Sony smartphone anymore?
If you have a careful look at the smartphones I just mentioned, you would know all of them are damn too pricey for budget-conscious people. Plus, I don’t even see why you should buy an expensive smartphone unless you spend your entire day using them, or perhaps if it is your job to use and review expensive smartphones.
Anyway, this post isn’t a rant. This is about 3 best small-size, compact smartphones that don’t drill a hole in your pocket.
What is a compact smartphone?
It’s nothing but mostly the size. A compact smartphone is smaller than most current smartphones in the market in terms of size. To put it objectively, a phone with a height of less than 155mm and width less than 72mm easily qualifies for a handy and compact smartphone.
Considering the same, I have only listed smartphones available at an affordable price (₹10,000-₹15,000) which are well around or below these dimensions.
1. Xiaomi Mi A3
Released: August 2019
Screen Size: 6.08 inch (15.46cm) Super AMOLED Display
Price: Starts at ₹12,499 (4GB/64GB)
The Xiaomi Mi A3 is considered by many as the worst of the three smartphones in the company’s A-series lineup of Android-one powered smartphones.
But for me, it is the best just because of its size. Xiaomi completely nailed it with the Mi A3 in terms of form factor. The Mi A3 comes at a height of 153.48mm and a width of 71.85cm. That’s not perfectly compact, but still less in size as compared to almost all budget smartphones released in 2019.
What makes it so handy though, is really its curved sides that lend an easy grip. But be warned- the Mi A3 has an all-glass body, so the back may be slippery so it’s best to slap a case on it.
Yes, it has faced a lot of flak for its 720p display resolution. But trust me, when you see and use the smartphone in front of your eyes, you’re not going to notice anything dull unless you’re already accustomed to a high-resolution display.
In fact, the perfect blacks of the AMOLED panel on Xiaomi Mi A3 more than makes up for the low resolution, at least for me.
2. Nokia 6.1 Plus
Released: August 2018
Screen Size: 5.8 inch IPS LCD Display
Price: ₹10,999 (4GB/64GB)
The Nokia 6.1 plus isn’t a recently released phone. However, it’s still one of the first devices to have received the Android 10 software update! That only highlights Nokia’s strength in being one of the first smartphone manufacturers to push the latest updates.
What’s sad though is that the Android 10 update will be it’s last, as the Android One program supports major version updates only for 2 years from release.
But if you’re not a power user,, then the Nokia 6.1 Plus is another great compact smartphone to buy. It’s compact dimensions make the phone handy, unlike any other phone in its segment. It’s even better than the Mi A3 in terms of size and priced lower too.
Note: In case if you haven’t noticed yet, I’m not rambling anything about phone specifications here. There is a personal reason for doing so. Most smartphones in the lower mid-range segment have processors good enough to get through all daily tasks and a bit of gaming. So it feels redundant to list every single specification and talk about them separately when in reality their performance is almost the same.
3. Moto X4
Released: October 2017
Screen Size: 5.2 Inch IPS LCD Display
Price: ₹14,049 (6GB/64GB)
Yes, I know. The Moto X4 is well over 2 years old at the time of writing. But there is a good reason why it is still on stock, and why this compact smartphone sells in decent numbers even today.
Firstly, it is the only affordable, low-budget phone that offers an IP68 Dust & Water resistance! This is a huge deal when you see that the next smartphone with a similar IP rating is priced over ₹47,000 (Samsung Galaxy S10E).
Yes, the Moto X4’s design is way too old by today’s standards. But for someone who just needs a budget smartphone for practical usage purposes and absolutely desires high durability, this seems to be a no-brainer.
Apart from the IP rating, this is a great compact smartphone because of its compact dimensions. However, I would like to tell you that it’s the Moto X4’s height which makes it compact. The width of this phone could feel a bit too much for some, although that doesn’t make it a deal-breaker.
Why Compact Smartphones are so rare?
The easy answer to this question is that a lot of consumers demand large-size smartphones. The larger smartphones feel more premium, are a better tool for media consumption, and have enough room for companies to pack in some nifty features.
But the greatest problem that those huge smartphones could never resolve is how they are used. They never fit quite well in the pockets and cannot be used by one-hand.
I can assume that people have gotten used to using their smartphones that way- with both the hands and often carrying them in their hands instead of pockets. But personally, I feel that their size makes such smartphones more like a decorated object meant to make a statement than a tool to be used for practical, convenient purposes.
I don’t know if I’m the only one who feels that way. If you would like an argument on the same, just jot down a comment below and we’ll have some words.