Do small phone still exist?

23

With my Pixel 3a ending-support next-month, I have been looking-around at the state of the market right now (phones released this year, or very-late last year) to get a feel for where I could go next. Sadly, “bigger-is-always-better” seems to be the current mantra in the Android world, as virtually every phone I’ve looked-at are at-least the size of my current phone or bigger.

Here are some examples:

Google Pixel

Pixel 3a: 15.1 x 7.0cm (~6.0″ x 2.8″)

Pixel 6 Pro: 15.9 x 7.5cm (~6.2″ x 3.0″)

Pixel 6a (assumed): 15.2 x 7.2cm (~6.0″ x 2.8″)

Motorola

Motorola Moto G22: 16.4 x 7.5cm (~6.5″ x 3.0″)

Motorola Moto G31: 16.2 x 7.4cm (~6.4″ x 2.9″)

Motorola Moto G52: 16.0 x 7.5cm (~6.3″ x 3.0″)

Motorola Moto G (2022): 16.5 x 7.6cm (~6.5 x 3.0″)

Nokia

Nokia C21: 17.0 x 7.8cm (~6.7″ x 3.1″)

Nokia C2 2nd Edition: 15.4 x 7.6cm (~6.1″ x 3.0″)

Nokia G11/G21: 16.5 x 7.6cm (~6.5″ x 3.0″)

OnePlus

OnePlus Ace: 16.3 x 7.6cm (~6.4″ x 3.0″)

OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G: 16.1 x 7.3cm (~6.3″ x 2.9″)

Samsung

Samsung Galaxy A13/A23/F23/M23/M33/M53: 16.5 x 7.6cm (~6.5″ x 3.0″)

Samsung Galaxy A33 5G/A53 5G: 16.0 x 7.5cm (~6.3″ x 3.0″)

Samsung Galaxy A42 5G/A73 5G: 16.4 x 7.6cm (~6.4″ x 3.0″)

Sony

Sony Xperia 10 III: 15.4 x 6.8cm (~6.1″ x 2.7″)

 

Whereas, if you look on the other-side of the fence, clearly smaller handsets are still a thing there:

Apple

Apple iPhone 13/13 Pro: 14.7 x 7.2cm (~5.8″ x 2.8″)

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max: 16.1 x 7.8cm (~6.3″ x 3.1″)

Apple iPhone 13 mini: 13.2 x 6.4cm (~5.2″ x 2.5″)

Apple iPhone SE (2022): 13.8 x 6.7cm (~5.5″ x 2.7″)

While I’ve included them for the sake of comparisons, I’m not really looking to move to Apple — though, at this-rate, I’m struggling to find any phones of the size I’d like in the Android world. (The Pixel 4a is a great size, but is around halfway through it’s support-lifecycle now, so seems a bit silly to consider.)

So… does anyone have any recommendations of any small Android phone makes or models?

Thanks

Comments (23)

23 responses to “Do small phone still exist?”

  1. goodbar

    I have a Pixel 4a and have been awaiting the Pixel 6a. I too am a fan of smaller phones.

    • dftf

      The Pixel 4a (the original, non-5G version) is 14.4 x 6.9cm (~5.7" x 2.7").


      The Pixel 6a (according to leaked info) will be 15.2 x 7.2cm (~6.0" x 2.8").


      So it will be somewhat bigger than what you're used to now -- and in my-case, will be just-slightly-bigger than my current 3a.

  2. wunderbar

    Small phones are dead becuase the market decided that they didn't want small phones. Sure, there are people that want a small phone, and not every person wants a bigger phone.


    but in terms of the population, phones with bigger screens are what sells, not phones with smaller screens. So phone makers will concentrate on the products that sell enough units to justify their existence.


    That's not to say anything bad about the people who want small phones, I feel for you. But in this case those people are the minority, and there aren't many options because of sales numbers.


    Even Apple, finally releasing an iPhone mini after years of the internet screaming for a smaller modern style Phone looks to be abandoning that after 2 years becuase the mini models just didn't sell.

  3. Daishi

    So, I’m going to guess, based on the Samsung models you’ve listed, that there’s also a price component?


    Because if not the base S22 seems to be almost the same size as the Pixel 4a. Also, the Sony you mentioned seems to be narrow and only a fraction taller. Why does that not count?


    Going smaller than that does seem increasingly out of the question unfortunately.

    • dftf

      Yes, price-wise I'd be looking strictly mid-range, around £400 max (approx €475; $500USD; $645CAD; $700AUS). The base Samsung Galaxy S22 is around £760. (The Apple iPhone 13 Mini starts-from £679 for the 128GB storage model, which, again, is more than I'd be looking for.)


      As for the Sony phone -- I'm not-sure how-good they are when it comes to Android updates, and according to the search on GSM Arena there aren't any new phones released from them yet so-far this-year (the most-recent model appears to be the "Sony Xperia Pro-I", released in December). Given we are nearly in May, it does concern me how-few announcements for new models there have been. Are they perhaps considering a market-exit, similar to what LG did? I'd be cautious to buy a new phone from them if so, as I don't want to suddenly find all updates will abruptly cease.

      • Chris_Kez

        I've seen used and refurbished 128GB iPhone 13 Mini's go for less than $600 USD. It's a little stretch, but something to keep in mind. Good luck no matter what you choose, and drop an update to let us know how it all worked out!

        • dftf

          If Apple offer their own, professional-refurbished ones then that might be something to consider, as they may replace the battery as part of the process. But I'd not really want a used one, given the already small battery-capacity, and how much it may have degraded in that time, were the seller to be a heavy-user and frequent-charger.

          • arjay

            Apple does offer refurbs, but you have to look frequently because the stock keeps changing. Nothing there today of interest, but could change tomorrow.


            Apple refurbs are fully redone and have the same warranty as a new item. I've bought many of them over the years, and all of them look and work like brand new.

  4. Chris_Kez

    The Phone Finder tool on GSM Arena is fantastic for this kind of question. A quick search there suggests you are out of luck. The iPhone Mini is the only decent and small handset. There is nothing else like it. I use a 12 Mini for work and can confirm it is a great device. If I wanted a small device for personal use I wouldn’t hesitate to get a 13 Mini and use it for a few years. My prior work phone was a first generation iPhone SE and it was great for five years, until its 16GB storage couldn’t keep up with OS updates.

    Sony used to offer a decent compact option but that was still a notch below the Mini in terms of quality. The other option that just came to mind is the Galaxy Z Flip— very expensive, and thicker and heavier than a Mini but still more pocketable than your average flagship.

    • dftf

      Yeah, I think the last Sony Xperia Compact was released in 2019 now?


      I may be a bit stuck then as I'm not really looking to "go Apple". Though how do you find the battery-life on your 12 mini? I've seen YouTube videos where they set multiple phones all to the same screen brightness, then do the same apps and games on them, and the iPhone SE (2022) and 13 mini both seem to die after about 5 hours of screen-on time max. That would be a step-down from my current phone...

      • Chris_Kez

        I can't comment on battery life of my 12 Mini because as a second phone my average usage is less than one hour per day. Under those conditions it lasts for a few days. My recollection is that the 13 Mini got noticeably better battery life than the 12, but not as good as the regular or Pro models; I guess you can only do so much with the smaller battery. So you'd have to weigh the size against how often you'd be out all day without charging. If you had to carry a battery pack every day then what's the point, right? But if you can top off while at your desk or in the car, then that might be a reasonable trade-off.

        • dftf

          The thing is I don't currently carry a battery-pack with me, like... ever, with my Pixel 3a. Once fully-charged, it can last the day (depending what I do on it, and whether things like GPS, Bluetooth, NFC and so-on are enabled or not). I'd feel it a bit silly to get a new phone and immediately have to carry something extra I don't need to now -- and correct me if wrong, but I don't think either the iPhone SE (2022) or iPhone 13 mini support fast wired charging, do they?


          True, both the new SE and 13 mini do have better battery-life than their previous-gen models, most due to the improved efficiency of the A15 chip, but you're only taking around 15%, maybe 20% at-a-push. Whereas in the Android midrange, it's common now to find battery-capacities of around 5000mAh, and some phones even around 6000mAh. According to GSM Arena, the SE (2022) has 2018mAh; the 13 mini 2438mAh; 3240mAh on the iPhone 13; 3095mAh on the 13 Pro; and 4352mAh on the 13 Pro Max. Those first-two are pretty-low: Android phones from around 2016 were averaging around 2000mAh back-then...

          • Chris_Kez

            I assumed you don't carry a battery pack now. I am not sure about fast wireless charging support. I use wireless charging overnight and at my desk but they're relatively ancient Qi chargers (circa 2013). In the car I use a wired charger. I have never given much thought to battery capacity, for two reasons-- first, different phones can get wildly different results with the same size battery, as a function of the OS, the firmware, the chip, the screen technology, etc.; second, I'm just not a super heavy user, and the few days when I know I'll be gone for 12-16 hours and plan to use the device heavily I will just bring some kind of charging or battery pack; that might be three or four days a year.

            You know your usage better than anyone. If you routinely run down your device, and it's just not an option to charge at your desk or in the car or whatever, then go for a big battery phone; otherwise I would optimize for everyday carry and size benefits. Worst case scenario, you use the Mini for a few weeks and if it doesn't suit you, resell it. Apple devices have extremely good resale value.

  5. rob_segal

    The selection for small phone fans will further decrease because Apple is discontinuing the iPhone Mini. There won't be an iPhone 14 Mini. The 13 Mini didn't sell well. The demand for small phones may not be high enough for companies to justify investing in researching and developing them.

    • red.radar

      I am hoping Apple recycles the Mini tooling as the new SE.



    • dftf

      Yeah, I have read that about the 13 Mini.


      Currently though, all of the latest iPhones models, with the sole-exception of the Pro Max, are smaller-than my current Pixel 3a, so even excluding the Mini, Apple are still making smaller phones. That-said, there is news of larger screen-sizes coming in the iPhone 14 range, so maybe sizes are set-to increase in the Apple-world too?

      • wright_is

        Apple are changing the sizes available in the iPhone 14 in a similar way to what they did with the iPhone 13 Pro last year. Previously, you have the iPhone 12, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max and each increment had additional features (usually cameras). With the iPhone 13 range, the 13 Pro had the same cameras as the Pro Max for the first time, I believe.


        This year, with the iPhone 14 range, the mini drops away, but there with be the normal iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro in the small(est) form factor and the iPhone 14 Max and the iPhone 14 Pro Max in the larger form factor. That means you can chose your feature set (normal or Pro), then decide on the size you want (normal or Max).


        I like this arrangement, I always want the best cameras I can get, but don't really want the ultra mega huge case, which was the case with my Samsung Galaxy S20+ (I had to give up the extra camera step of the Ultra, because they are only available in the Ultra size). With Apple, currently, you don't have to sacrifice features, if you don't want the larger size (mini excepted). I find that a positive move.


        Sony also used to do this with the smaller Xperia premium model having the same internals as the bigger model - usually the smaller Android phones had older or mid-range hardware inside, they were really 2nd class citizens. That made the Sony Xperia stand out from the crowd, but it looks like they dropped the small version, looking at your table.

        • dftf

          The last compact Sony phone I can find is the Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact, released April 2018. I think there might have been an X3, released in 2019, but was exclusive to Japan and select other Eastern markets only.


          Sigh... am I really going to have to consider moving to Apple? It's not going to be healthy for the future if Apple becomes the dominant phone-maker in most Western markets, but that seems to be the direction people are going in. (According to Statcounter, iOS is dominant in these countries with the market-share shown: Greenland: 61%; Denmark: 60.3%; Norway: 59.4%; US: 57.7%; Australia/Canada: 57.2%; Switzerland: 55.0%; Sweden: 52.3%; UK: 50.6%. France and Germany are large-countries which are exceptions though, where Android holds around two-thirds share in each.)

          • wright_is

            I shunned the iPhone for years. I had the 3GS (replacing a Windows Mobile smartphone), but then switched to Android and Windows Phone, then just Android for years, because of the "walled garden" and the premium pricing...


            Then I recognised I was the frog in a slowly boiling pot of water, the prices of good Android devices had crept up and they were actually, in some cases, more than an equivalent Apple iPhone! And the iPhones enjoy longer support periods than even the Pixel range


            I am also very security and privacy conscious and de-Googling my Android phones was becoming a Sisyphean task and various things didn't really work as well as they could. This time around, I went with Apple, as they are more privacy conscious and I wouldn't have to waste time and energy de-Googling a new phone and it would probably last longer than a replacement Android phone...


            I agree, having just Apple would be bad, but on the other hand, with the amount of privacy invasion you have to accept with Android devices, the alternatives aren't any better. I don't think either is ideal, but Apple offers the better security and privacy package at the moment, but as my history with tech has shown, I'm quite happy to jump ship to another platform, if it becomes necessary.


            (I currently use Linux and macOS at home, having dumped Windows, and I switched from Android back to iPhone, after a decade of Windows Phone and Android. I've had various Linux boxes since 2002 and it was my main workstation from 2002 through 2008 and I've used Macs on-and-off since 1987)

            • dftf

              "I went with Apple, as they are more privacy conscious and I wouldn't have to waste time and energy de-Googling a new phone and it would probably last longer than a replacement Android phone..."


              Well, they are that we know of. Compared to say an open-source app, or Linux, where you can view the source-code yourself, you are still putting trust in Apple that they mean what they say. Who's to say behind-the-scenes they might not be selling user-data also, but just don't get the media-focus as unlike with Alphabet, it's not where most of their revenue comes-from?

      • rob_segal

        I'm not sure if further reducing the bezels are in Apple's plans for the iPhone 14.

  6. jimchamplin

    Just gonna leave this one right here...


    https://www.amazon.com/t1-Smallest-Bluetooth-Changer-Available/dp/B07VPMFTHF

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