Smartphones are pretty much a necessity these days, and almost everyone wants to get the latest flagship models with beefed-up processors, crazy refresh rates, and large displays. There are some, though, who prefer to use small-sized smartphones that they can comfortably use with a single hand. They prefer to use their phones for essential functions like talking, messaging, checking emails, etc. Some prefer to keep such smaller phones as their secondary phone. However, it’s hard to define what a small smartphone is. In this article, we will be looking at smartphones with displays under 6 inches. Here are some of the best small smartphones under 6 inches in size available in the market today.
See also: Best smartphones under $500
Best Small Smartphones in 2021
The market trend in the new smartphones being released these days is towards displays of above 6-inches. There is a community of smartphone buyers who are not so much sold on the display size. They would be happy with the sub-6-inch smartphones as well. A small smartphone does not necessarily mean a compromise on many of the other key specifications. If you are searching for the best small smartphone in 2021, here are some factors you would want to take a look before making up your mind.
- Processor: A 5.5-inch smartphone can be as fast and performance-oriented as the larger phones. You will find many are fitted with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 series processors. If you are lucky, you could even get one with the Snapdragon 855 SoC.
- RAM: The smartphone’s ability to handle various apps with ease is highly dependent on the RAM that supports the processor. In small smartphones, you will find a minimum of 4GB RAM. It may go up to 8GB in some models. This range is good enough to handle the requirements.
- Camera: The market trend suggests that the fancy camera modules have shifted to the top-end phones that boast of 6-inch+ display sizes. The small smartphone models may have dual or triple-camera setups in the rear with the megapixels ranging from 8MP to 16MP and in combinations.
- Battery: Here again, the trend has moved towards 4,500mAh and even 5,000mAh batteries. When it comes to the small smartphones segment, you may notice the devices sporting much below these levels with an odd model having a 4,000mAh battery. That should not deter you since you will still get enough juice out of the devices.
- Playing Games and Watching Videos: While playing games, a small screen may not have the same kind of appeal as a large one. That is if you are a big game enthusiast. Similarly, if you are fond of watching videos on the mobile phone, a 5-inch screen may not offer full real estate. If these are not in your priorities while using smartphones, this factor should not be of great concern.
- Performance: The small smartphone performs well in all respects. You can make voice calls, use social media apps and check email or even do your banking and payments through them.
Best Small Smartphones
One of the Best Performance Small Samsung Smartphones
Samsung Galaxy S10e
The Samsung Galaxy S10e comes with a 5.8 inch Full HD AMOLED display, an in-display fingerprint sensor, 1080 x 2280 pixels resolution, and front/back gorilla glass 5. It has a 128 GB storage capacity, 6 GB RAM, and Exynos 9820 octa-core Snapdragon 855 processor. This smartphone, with an aluminum frame body, weighs only 5.8 ounces. Design-wise it sports a similar design language as used in the Galaxy 10 series, with the main difference being smaller screen size. It also doesn’t come with the traditional curved edges around the screen, making it easier to hold than the rest. The glass and aluminum combination gives a nice premium feel to it, but it might also feel a bit slippery at times. It would be a good idea to get a case with it for extra grip.
With the Snapdragon 855 processor, you get fantastic performance capability and a lag-free experience even when running multiple tasks. It easily beats its competition and is in a league of its own when it comes to performance. If you want more power, you can opt for the 8 GB RAM version, although it will cost you a little extra. Similar to other Galaxy S10 models, you can expand the storage space to 512 GB with a microSD card. You also get a great camera experience thanks to its 12 MP wide-angle rear and 16 MP ultra-wide rear cameras and its 10 MP front camera.
One cool aspect of this device is that it supports wireless charging as well as Samsung’s Wireless PowerShare feature. You can charge the S10e wirelessly by keeping it on the back of a compatible device. Charging it this way will be slow, but it’s a handy feature to have. As far as the battery life is concerned, you get a 3100 mAh cell, which is to be expected as the body of the phone is quite small. On a full charge, you can get about 4 hours with high usage. The Samsung galaxy S10e is the best performance small smartphone in the market today if you are a fan of the company.
Who should buy this?
- It’s perfect for those who are looking for a small smartphone with high performance and display.
- It’s ideal for people who want a small smartphone with a headphone jack.
One of the Best Mid-Range Small Smartphone
Google Pixel 3a
The Google Pixel 3a comes with a 5.6 inch OLED display and 2220 x 1080 pixels resolution. It has a fast-charging capability, Snapdragon 670 processor, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB storage capacity, and uses Android 9.0 pie. The Google Pixel 3a has a very compact and lightweight design with 6 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches dimensions. It weighs only 15.8 ounces. The two-tone pixel design with the matte and glossy surfaces looks quite good. It does not look nor feel like a mid-range smartphone. The only thing that gives away this fact is the polycarbonate backside. Instead of Corning’s Gorilla Glass, you get AGC’s Dragontail strengthened glass.
When it comes to performance, you get a seamless experience. The phone can perform several tasks. For gaming, it provides more power than most of its competitors at this price range, though it does get a little laggy when playing graphics-intensive games. As for the camera, you get a single 12 MP rear camera with f/1.8 aperture and an 8 MP front camera along with bokeh portrait mode, Super Res Zoom, and Night Sight. It quickly puts pricier smartphones to shame by providing high-quality photographs at a fraction of the cost.
It has a 3000 mAh battery which is better than the Google Pixel 3. The processor performs efficiently while consuming less power, allowing you to get a perfect battery life of up to 11 hours with high usage. Thanks to the fast-charging capability, you can get up to 7 hours of battery life with just 15 minutes of charging. With a good display, great camera, fantastic software, and an affordable price, the Google Pixel 3a is easily one of the best mid-range small smartphones out there today.
Who should buy this?
- It’s perfect for those who are looking for a small smartphone with a great camera.
- It’s ideal for people who want a small smartphone with great software.
- It’s an excellent choice for those who need an affordable mid-range small smartphone.
One of the Best Small but Powerful Smartphone
Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact
The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact comes with a full HD 5-inch display, 18:9 screen aspect ratio, and Corning Gorilla Glass 5. It has S-force Front surround speakers, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB Storage (expandable to 400 GB with MicroSD), fast charging capability, and Android Oreo 8.0. The Xperia XZ2 features a different rounded rectangular design rather than the traditional blocky one we see on most smartphones today. What’s interesting here is that the phone looks more like a device with a 4.5-inch screen, thanks to the 18:9 aspect ratio. It’s like a breath of fresh air for the user as it fits nicely within your palm.
When it comes to watching movies and playing games, the XZ2 is as good as a 5-inch smartphone with its 4 GB RAM and Snapdragon 845 processor. Even games like Asphalt 8 runs surprisingly well. You also get pretty good sound quality thanks to the front-facing driver at the bottom. As far as consuming media content, you can expand the storage capacity to a whopping 400 GB via a MicroSD card to carry your favorite movies, TV shows, and songs with you wherever you go. You get a 19 MP rear camera and a 5 MP front camera along with a gyro-based image stabilization system, 3D selfies capture, and super slow-motion video capture capability.
The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact comes with a 2870 mAh battery, which has a decent battery life of 12-14 hours with light to medium usage. This might seem a bit low, but the high resolution of the 5-inch display drains a fair amount of power throughout. You do get a great, crisp display even though it’s at the cost of the battery life. If you are looking for a great, small smartphone that can pack a punch, the Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact is one of the best options to go for.
Who should buy this?
- It’s perfect for those who are looking for a small smartphone with a great camera.
- It’s ideal for people who want a small smartphone that delivers very high performance.
- It’s an excellent choice for those who need a small smartphone with a sharp display.
One of the Best Affordable Small Smartphone from Nokia
The Nokia 6 comes with a 5.5 inch full HD display, smart amplifier, 1.4 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 Octa-core processor, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB storage capacity (expandable up to 128 GB via MicroSD), and Android 9.0 pie. It has an aluminum body and design-wise it looks imposing. It looks and feels premium, especially at such alow price. All the buttons are easy to reach, but the flat edges do take some time to get used to as most smartphones come with rounded edges. The 5.5-inch display looks gorgeous and is ideal for gaming and video playback.
When it comes to performance, it does a decent job, which is not to say that it is terrible or disappointing, but you get enough for this price point. You can play games easily, but it isn’t suited for high-end games as you might experience frame drops. Where you get real value on this phone is from its camera. The 16 MP rear camera and the 8 MP front camera are a treat to click pictures with. It doesn’t over-process images and renders the capture with its natural textures. You can also get some good details on macro shots. Night shots are a bit weak, but then again, very few low-budget phones can handle low light photography well.
The 3000 mAh battery does a decent job as well, allowing you to use the phone for almost a full day on a single full charge with light to medium usage. When you look at everything you get at this low price point, it is a great smartphone that provides excellent value. If you need an affordable, small smartphone for basic use, then look no further than the Nokia 6.
Who should buy this?
- It’s perfect for those who are looking for a small smartphone that comes at an affordable price.
- It’s ideal for people who want a small smartphone with a premium design.
- It’s an excellent choice for those who need a small smartphone with a reliable camera.
One of the Best Small Smartphone for Gaming
Razer Phone 2
The Razer Phone 2 comes with a 120 Hz Ultramotion QHD 5.72 inch display, wireless fast charging, and Netflix-ready content. It has an 8 GB RAM, 64 GB storage capacity, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, Android 8.1, and even a custom vapor chamber cooling system. It looks similar to its predecessor in design except for a few minor changes. It comes with a sheet of flat glass rather than the all-metal body of the Razer Phone that came out a few years ago. You also get a very cool illuminated logo on the backside of the phone, which looks great. Almost every part of the design in this phone is based on improving the gaming experience, from the front-firing speakers to its ergonomic body shape. The 120 Hz refresh rate feels fantastic when you navigate the UI and play games.
With the 2.8 GHz, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, and the 8 GB RAM, this phone is capable of delivering a superb performance. At the time of its launch, it was the very best among smartphones of its genre due to its sheer power, until the Kirin 980 chipsets came out. The vapor chamber cooling system prevents the phone from overheating and allows you to have stable and seamless gaming experience. When it comes to the camera, you get a dual 12 MP rear camera with an f1/1.75 aperture and a 2x telephoto lens with an aperture of f/2.6. It does take a bit of time to get used to the camera on this phone, but once you do, it gives a pretty good output.
The battery is a whopping 4000 mAh cell, which provides up to a full day’s worth of battery life even at medium usage. You also get wireless charging and a gorgeous RGB charging dock with QuickCharge 5. With only 64 GB RAM, it would be advisable to get an SD card and use it to store all your photos and videos to keep the phone storage space for heavy games. The Razer Phone 2 is an excellent option if you are looking for a small smartphone that can run pretty much all the demanding games out there.
Who should buy this?
- It’s perfect for those who are looking for a small smartphone that can run pretty much any game.
- It’s ideal for people who want a small smartphone with a slick design.
- It’s an excellent choice for those who want a small smartphone with great speakers.
One of the Best Value Budget Small Smartphone
The LG K8 comes with a 5-inch display, 1.3 GHz Quad-Core processor, 1.5 GB RAM, 16 GB storage capacity (only 9.5 GB usable), 8 MP flash camera, and Android 6.0. Being a budget smartphone, the LG K8 packs a nice and tight design. It features a high grip plastic outer shell with a grid-like design. The build quality is good, especially at such a low price point. Though the display size is only 5-inch, it uses LG’s in-cell technology to give an improved visual experience. The colors are pretty solid with good blacks and excellent contrast.
When you consider its performance, it may not be the best among smartphones, but it holds its own as a budget phone. This is not a phone to play games with or to enjoy video content online. It’s made for those who require a small smartphone for basic use such as calling, chatting, etc. The quad-core processor does an excellent job within its limits to provide a good user experience. The 5 MP front camera comes with a front-facing flash by flaring the screen when you take a picture. The software processing is pretty good too. You also get the Flash Jump Shot picture, which takes a series of images and converts them to GIFs.
When it comes to battery, the LG K8 comes with a removable 2500 mAh cell that lasts for 10 hours easily, even with continuous video playback. It isn’t the best at its price bracket, but it certainly is quite impressive. The storage capacity is quite limited, at only 9.5 GB usable space. Hence it would be wise to pick up an SD card too to expand the storage capacity toa respectable 32 GB. If you are looking for a small smartphone that comes at a low price but with immense value, then look no further than the LG K8.
Who should buy this?
- It’s perfect for those who are looking for a small smartphone that provides excellent value.
- It’s ideal for people who want a small smartphone at a low price.
- It’s an excellent choice for those who want a small smartphone with a removable battery.
One of the Best Overall Small Smartphones Out There
HTC One M8
The HTC One M8 comes with a 5 inch Full HD display, dual camera with UltraPixel, 2.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, 2 GB RAM, 32 GB storage capacity, HTC Sense, and Android 4.4.2 (KitKat). The HTC One M8 comes with a gorgeous design made to impress with its metal chassis and aluminum casing. It also has more curved edges on the sides than its predecessor, the HTC One. It feels premium when you hold it thanks to its 9.35 mm thickness. Surprisingly it feels more premium than the iPhone 5s when you hold it, which is pretty great.
Value filled performance is one area where you can completely trust HTC thanks to the thoughtful integration and optimization of HTC sense. It even outperforms the iPhone 5s by a right margin thanks to the 2.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and the 2 GB RAM. However, it does so only by activating the option via the developer settings, and it does come at a high cost to battery life. TheUltrapixel sensor allows the camera to capture more light than most other cameras. The U-Focus feature efficiently blurs the background and will enable you to take some high-quality shots.
It also comes with pretty neat features such as the Tap to Wake functionality, where you can double-tap on the screen to lock or unlock the screen. The UI is fantastic and very intuitive. It comes with a 2600 mAh battery, which might sound a tad bit small, but the phone utilizes power very efficiently, providing you with a long battery life. If you are using it for basic purposes, it will easily last a full day or two, but with medium to heavy usage, you will get up to a day’s worth of battery life or less. The HTC One M8 is an amazing value-filled small smartphone packed with tons of cool features, impressive power, and provides a great user experience.
Who should buy this?
- It’s perfect for those who are looking for a small smartphone with a beautiful design.
- It’s ideal for people who want a small smartphone with great value.
- It’s an excellent choice for those who want a small smartphone with great features.
One of the Best Lightweight Small Smartphones from LG
LG Nexus 5X
The LG Nexus 5X has 5.2 inch LCD, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, IR laser-assisted autofocus dual cameras, and fast charging capability. It operates with 1.8 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 2 GB RAM, 32 GB storage capacity, and Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It’s very lightweight for a smartphone and very compact with its 5.2-inch display, but it does push the boundaries of what a one-handed phone looks like with its tall and broad form. It packs a thin metal frame at the back along with a polycarbonate frame.
The 808 Snapdragon processor comes with 64 bits hexa-core CPU and a matching Adreno 418 GPU that gives you a decent performance. Consistently opening and using multiple apps might slow down the phone a little bit. But the performance does get stable when you don’t open a lot of apps at the same time. The cameras are far better than the Nexus 5 and 6 thanks to the 1.55-micron pixels, which allow you to take better quality pictures in low light. Due to this, you can get a good quality output that is on par with more expensive smartphones.
The 2700 mAh cell provides up to a full day’s worth of battery life even with heavy use, which is pretty good. You can use the adaptive brightness feature to conserve more power and extend the usage time significantly. Moreover, it supports fast charging allowing you to charge it fully within 2 hours. If you are looking for a small smartphone that you can easily use with a single hand and has a good battery life, then you might want to go for the LG Nexus 5X.
Who should buy this?
- It’s perfect for those who are looking for a small smartphone that they can comfortably use with one hand.
- It’s ideal for people who want a very compact smartphone thanks to its 5.2-inch display.
- It’s an excellent choice for those who want a small affordable smartphone for basic to intermediate use.
One of the Best Budget Small Smartphone from Samsung
Samsung Galaxy S5 Active
The Samsung Galaxy S5 Active comes with a 5.1 inch Super AMOLED display, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, triple camera setup, and Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor. It has a 2 GB RAM, 16 GB storage capacity, and uses the Android 4.4 KitKat. The Galaxy S5 comes with a much better build quality than the S4and is quite well proportioned even with a larger screen. The buttons are placed in the format, as seen in other smartphones of the Galaxy series. It also comes with an IP67 water-resistant body, which is an improvement over its predecessor. The Super AMOLED display is amazing and watching content on it makes for a great experience.
The performance of the Samsung Galaxy S5 is quite good, but you might face some issues when it comes to performing demanding tasks. You can play graphics-intensive games, but don’t expect a lag-free playing experience. This is a budget phone made for value-seeking users rather than gaming or multimedia fans. The camera of the S5 is mind-blowing and easily one of the most powerful ones at this price range. The autofocus feature is high-speed and can arrange image sharpness in under 0.3 seconds, which is impressive. You can also record videos in 4k, which is pretty rare at this range.
You also get cool features like S Health for health tracking purposes and an ultra-power saving mode, which can extend the battery life significantly. Speaking of battery life, the 2800 mAh battery can provide up to 8-10 hours with heavy usage, which is pretty great. If you are a fan of Samsung smartphones and want to get an affordable compact smartphone with a Super AMOLED display, then the Galaxy S5 might be an excellent option to go for.
Who should buy this?
- It’s perfect for those who are looking for a small smartphone with a super AMOLED display.
- It’s ideal for people who want a compact smartphone with great battery life.
- It’s a great choice for those who want a value-filled small phone.
One of the Best Budget Small Smartphones with a Premium Design
The Moto G6 has a 1.8 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB storage capacity, and Android 8.0. It comes with a 5.7 inch Full HD display, built-in Alexa, dual-camera setup, and TurboPower charging. In terms of the design, it gets a huge change from the previous model. The 18:9 screen ratio is great, and it is a pleasure to watch content on this screen. Even though it’s a compact smartphone, you feel like you are watching content on a much bigger phone. The body is made up of 3D glass, which gives the back of the phone a beautiful shiny and premium feeling. The bottom bezel, in particular, is incredibly thin and provides the phone with a very sleek look.
When you look at the low price of this device, you wouldn’t think the performance would be that good, but the Moto G6 impresses in this regard. You can efficiently multitask with more than 8-10 apps at the same time without noticing any dip in performance. The dual-camera setup comes with a 12 MP/5 MP rear camera and an 8 MP front camera. The autofocus feature, along with the portrait mode, allows you to take good pictures for your social media accounts. Although it doesn’t have a wide-angle front camera lens, you can use the Group Selfie feature, which takes a panorama-mode picture to fit everyone inside the frame.
Feature-wise, you get the ‘One-button nav’ functionality in the Moto app, which removes the need for navigation buttons at the bottom. Instead, you can use the fingerprint sensor for navigation, which makes for fresh user experience. With the 3000 mAh battery and fast charging capability, you can get up to a full day’s worth of battery life with light to medium usage. With heavy usage, it will still last up to 7 hours, which is pretty good. If you want a small budget smartphone that offers features and a premium design that only mid-range smartphones can provide, then the Moto G6 will not disappoint you.
Who should buy this?
- It’s perfect for those who are looking for a small smartphone with a premium look and feel.
- It’s ideal for people who want a compact smartphone with fantastic battery life.
- It’s an excellent choice for those who want a value-filled affordable small smartphone.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it cheaper to buy a small smartphone from a carrier as a bundled model?
There is no compulsion that you should buy a small smartphone only through a carrier. You can buy the unlocked version online and pick up a SIM card from any of the carriers. In terms of the pricing, in a bundled phone offered by the carriers, you may certainly end up paying a monthly tariff which will include the amortized cost of the small (or large) smartphone as well. It saves you from shelling out a larger sum in one go. It also binds you to the carrier for that duration.
Can small smartphones be repaired? Will the components be available?
Yes, smartphone manufacturers service all kinds of markets around the world and there are customers for each category or range. They will provide the backup for servicing these mobiles, whether small or large, for many years. They have a reputation to keep as a reliable brand. You should be able to get your small smartphone repaired.
Can small smartphones be wirelessly charged?
Yes, there are some small smartphone models that have a wireless charging facility. While checking the specifications of the small smartphone you are planning to buy, find out if it has the wireless charging capability. You may be aware that while wireless charging has its advantages, wired charging is still faster.
What is stock Android and how does it differ from the OS on many models?
Stock Android refers to the operating system from Google that gets loaded on smartphones as it is in its pure form. If you buy Google Pixel phones, you get that. Most leading brands believe in customizing the operating system and adding them as the user interface. Samsung has its One UI while Xiaomi has MIUI and so on. Some smartphone users don’t like these user interfaces and prefer only the stock Android.
Are there global smartphone models that can be used everywhere?
Smartphone makers of different brands release their models in diverse markets. Some are given to carriers directly for selling as bundled phones. Then there are the unlocked versions you can buy online or from offline retail sources. If you are keen on a global model that can be used in any country, universally, check with the seller or the company’s brand store and you should be able to buy one.
There are many aspects to look for when buying a high-value small smartphone, such as price, features, durability, etc. Price may be the most crucial factor here as you don’t want to go for an expensive smartphone with a small screen size. Of course, if you only like smartphones with smaller display sizes, then, by all means, go for the high-end ones, but if not, go for the affordable ones. If you plan to pick up a cheap one, then you need to make sure that the device is durable enough to last for at least a year or two. Along with the details given here, do your online research and look through the specs and features to find out the best one that will fit your needs.