Have you ever Googled “best small phones”? I’ll save you the click: you’ll find guides for old, weak, or simply feature phones Not small Let’s start with.
I’ve long been a little phone guy. I loved the 2013 Moto X, with its 4.7-inch screen, and I’ve used the 5.4-inch iPhone Mini for years. But when Apple halted production of the Mini last month, it decided it was time to jump ship. I saved my money to buy a Pixel 8, thinking I’d eventually learn to live with the “new normal” of 6.2-inch phones.
But for hardware enthusiasts like me, Google had other plans: It was arbitrarily pushing buyers into the giant Pixel 8 Pro instead, and bragging about how its larger phone could handle sleeker features despite it. Both phones have the same cameras and chips.
That’s why I started my search for the last good little phones – but my goodness, it’s a slim choice.
For example, you may have heard that the Asus Zenfone 10 is a small phone because it has a 5.9-inch display — smaller than a 6.1, 6.5, or 6.7. But did you know that the phone itself is almost identical in size to a “regular” Galaxy S23 or iPhone 15, not counting the camera bumps?
Some evidence suggests the 2022 iPhone SE, perhaps because it has a 4.7-inch display – even smaller than the 5.4-inch iPhone Mini, right? mistake:
Pixel 6A and Pixel 7A? definitely No, they’re both larger than a standard Samsung or Apple phone. Even unlocking the under-display fingerprint sensor feels like a stretch for my medium-sized hand.
while Robot police The Sony Xperia 5 V is called “Fans of compact flagship Android phones have always wanted this“, I think this size comparison speaks for itself:
And if you think foldable phones are small, well…
When opened up, the Samsung Z Flip and Moto Razr are roughly the size of a Pixel 8 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max, two of the largest flagship phones out there.
When closed, the Z Flip doubles in size, making it very difficult to wrap a hand around – and it’s also very wide. Plus, Samsung doesn’t actually let you use it as a mini phone by default — you have to jump through hoops to use apps on the external display. Even with the Z Flip 5’s larger cover display, it feels awkward.
There is one company that is still doggedly pursuing smaller phones. Called Unihertz, its Jelly line is compact and has great features like a BlackBerry keyboard or Programmable buttons and additional LEDs. But it’s also exceptionally budget, designed for simple people, not those who want a great processor and a great camera like me.
You might be wondering why someone doesn’t build an iPhone Mini that runs Android? They are trying! But the latest messages from the Small Android Phone Project… aren’t great. The project hasn’t gotten a meaningful update in five months, and team leader Benjamin Bryant admits he’s had to take a pause to look for consulting work on the side.
In some ways, they’re still at square one: The entire design revolves around the phone’s screen, but display manufacturers don’t publicly offer the kind of small, high-end displays Bryant’s team is looking for — they’re typically produced under contract to specific manufacturers.
“The problem is that Apple has exclusive rights to it [the iPhone Mini’s] Display – So, even with the line stopped, [Samsung Display] “He won’t give us access,” he told supporters last month.
The situation has improved a bit since then: Bryant says his team just made its first real call with Samsung Display US. “Samsung Display US is ready to support us; the challenge will be to convince the Korean headquarters that we are a viable enough project to invest time and resources in,” says Lee Bryant.
Other options: There are “apparently enough” refurbished iPhone Mini displays on the market to meet the needs of a small Android phone project; The cover screen on the Oppo Find N2 phone looks promising; There are other displays that could work if they were willing to build a phone with a chin.
But I don’t expect a phone from them to come out anytime soon. Bryant admits that the outlook for small phones is “bleak” and that some of his potential customers “will have to upgrade next year.”
Personally, I don’t feel like it forced: I could theoretically replace the battery in my Mini again and keep it running for another year. But instead, I impulsively purchased the Z Flip 5 at Prime Day price to try something different for a change.
I’m on day four, and while I’m definitely unhappy with the size, I don’t want to be stuck with small phones like I was stuck with physical keys. A decade ago, smartphone manufacturers took the physical QWERTY keyboard out of cold robot hands. This time, I’ll get out before I’m left in the past.
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