While most flagship phones are getting ever bigger there are plenty of people who'd prefer a small handset. Sadly as popular opinion at the moment seems to be that bigger is better the smaller handsets are usually a little underpowered, but that's not always the case as there are still some great ones.
These include the super-cheap Huawei Y3, the powerful iPhone SE and the stylish Samsung Galaxy A3 2016, as well as entries from LG and Microsoft. Here then are the best compact smartphones available as of September 2016.
The Huawei Y3 combines a very compact form factor with a very low price. At 4.0 inches it has one of the smallest smartphone screens around, making it a breeze to use with one hand.
And while it may be basic the Huawei Y3 excels in some areas. For example, it has a long-lasting 1730 mAh battery, which while small can keep the phone going for well over a day. That’s impressive when handsets twice its price struggle to do that.
The Huawei Y3 also has a good camera for the money. The rear snapper is just 5MP, but it has a dual-LED flash, which helps it take strong shots even in poor lighting, while round the front there’s a 2MP camera with a beauty mode to help you look your best.
Ultimately the Huawei Y3 is a basic smartphone and won’t be suited to power users, but as a spare or for anyone who doesn’t rely heavily on their handset it’s a good choice.
At under £100 SIM free the LG Leon is a budget handset, but it takes some of the best features from flagships like the LG G5. There are its rear keys for example, which are arguably more intuitively positioned than the side-mounted buttons found on most handsets.
The LG Leon also features Knock Code, which allows you to unlock the handset with a series of taps while the screen is off.
Add to that a comfortable curved design and a faux-metal finish and it’s a good looking and feeling phone for the price.
The 4.5-inch screen is only 854 x 480, so there are sharper compact handsets around and the quality of photos shot on its 5MP camera will be adequate at best, but these are small compromises to make for such an affordable smartphone.
The Lumia 550 is one of Microsoft’s better budget phones and at 4.7 inches it’s a strong compact one too.
The display is 720p as well, which given the small size makes for a sharp 315 pixels per inch and it has the standard colourful plastic design that we’ve come to expect from Lumia phones. It looks and feels sturdy and well-built for a budget handset.
The Microsoft Lumia 550 runs Windows 10 of course, which is a relatively niche operating system compared to iOS and Android, but it’s powerful, particularly if you have productivity in mind.
The Lumia 550 also has a fairly strong 5MP camera, which sports a range of modes and options to help you fine-tune your shots.
The iPhone 5S is getting on a bit now, and has been topped by the iPhone SE (featured elsewhere in this list), but it’s still a strong, stylish phone and worthy of inclusion.
The 4.0-inch 640 x 1136 screen is both compact and sharp, coming in at 326 pixels per inch, which is the same pixel density as the iPhone 7.
The design differs to that phone, but is almost as premium, with a metal shell that’s just 7.6mm thick. That’s the same design as the iPhone SE, but the 5S is cheaper.
The iPhone 5S also has a fingerprint scanner and runs iOS 10, which is the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system.
The A7 processor and 8MP camera aren’t quite a match for the company’s latest phones, but they still deliver fast performance and sharp shots, making for a phone that’s still surprisingly premium, but far cheaper than most Apple handsets.
Samsung has followed up the Galaxy A3 with the Samsung Galaxy A3 2016, a phone which is just as beautiful as its predecessor, with a slim 7.3mm thick build, complete with a glass back and a metal frame.
And that’s not the only good thing about it. The Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 is compact of course, with a 4.7-inch screen, and it uses a Super AMOLED display for rich, vibrant colours. The battery life is strong too, with a 2300 mAh juice pack giving it up to two days of life.
Ultimately the Samsung Galaxy A3 is a mid-range phone, but it looks like a flagship and that in turn makes it one of the most stylish compact smartphones around.
Performance could be stronger, but its great battery life and colourful screen make it a good option for media fans.
The iPhone SE is the first 4.0-inch iPhone in years and with specs to rival the iPhone 6S it was worth the wait.
Technically the iPhone SE isn’t a flagship phone, but it’s very close to one, with the same Apple A9 processor and 2GB of RAM as the iPhone 6S. That gives it blazing fast performance. It also has a sharp, high quality screen, at a resolution of 640 x 1136 for a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch.
Then there’s its design, which is almost identical to the iPhone 5S, complete with an aluminium shell in a two-tone colour scheme. It’s one of the most premium and stylish compact smartphones on the market.
The iPhone SE has a great camera too. There’s a 12MP snapper on the back, with a dual-LED True Tone flash and support for Live Photos and 4K video.
Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner is present and correct, along with Apple Pay support and the iPhone SE runs iOS 9.3, which is the latest and greatest version of iOS. All in all, it’s a stunningly good phone and a lot cheaper than its larger siblings.
As you can see, there’s a wide range of compact smartphones available, sporting different prices, strengths and operating systems.
The Huawei Y3 is the worst to find a place in our list, but it’s also very cheap. Next up there’s the affordable LG Leon, then for Windows fans the Microsoft Lumia 550. Apple’s first entry sneaks into third place with the iPhone 5S, then there’s a similarly stylish Android phone in the form of the Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 and in first place the brilliant iPhone SE.
Any of these phones would serve you well if you’re after a small screen though, it all just depends on how much you want to spend.
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