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Com­pact smart­phones are almost an endan­gered species, as man­u­fac­tur­ers only increase the size of dis­plays every year. But there are peo­ple who do not like big smart­phones because of the incon­ve­nience of using them. But the com­pact gad­get can be held with one hand and car­ried in any pock­et. Espe­cial­ly for lovers of small smart­phones, we have com­piled a rat­ing of com­pact smart­phones that are rel­e­vant in 2022.

A com­pact smart­phone is one that is com­fort­able to hold and oper­ate with one hand. Source: readd.org

Tiny flagship iPhone 13 mini

The release of this smart­phone was in doubt, as many media wrote about the low demand for the pre­de­ces­sor of the iPhone 12 mini. Despite this, the 13th series in a minia­ture case appeared on the mar­ket.

Left to right: iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13. Source: gsmarena.com

The screen of the iPhone 13 mini is 5.4” — the same size as its pre­de­ces­sor. At the same time, bright­ness was increased: the 12th series had 625 cd / m², and it became 800 cd / m². The dis­play res­o­lu­tion is 2340×1080 pix­els. A brand new Apple A15 Bion­ic chip with a large pow­er reserve was installed in the smart­phone. It pulls all mod­ern games and appli­ca­tions, includ­ing resource-inten­sive ones (for exam­ple, for graph­ics or video pro­cess­ing).

Like its pre­de­ces­sor, the device has a dual cam­era, but the size of the matrix for both sen­sors has increased. The qual­i­ty of shoot­ing has improved, which is espe­cial­ly notice­able at night. The res­o­lu­tion of all cam­eras (two main and one front) is the same — 12 megapix­els.

In the 13th gen­er­a­tion, the qual­i­ty of night shoot­ing has notice­ably improved. Source: KT Reviews (YouTube)

The smart­phone has com­pact dimen­sions: 131.5x64.2x7.65 mm and weighs 140 g. The phone has 256 GB of per­ma­nent mem­o­ry and 4 GB of RAM. The exact capac­i­ty of the iPhone bat­tery is unknown — the man­u­fac­tur­er does not pub­lish this infor­ma­tion, but accord­ing to approx­i­mate esti­mates, the bat­tery has 2440 mAh.

The cost of a smart­phone is about 100,000 rubles.

Advan­tages:

  • ener­gy effi­cient proces­sor;
  • per­for­mance at the lev­el of old­er iPhone mod­els;
  • cam­era from a full-fledged iPhone 13.

Flaws:

  • high price;
  • there is no slot for a mem­o­ry card, but you can use ser­vices from Apple.

Asus Zenfone 8 is a compact smartphone with top specifications

This smart­phone, despite its small size, received a fair­ly pow­er­ful tech­ni­cal stuff­ing — a Snap­drag­on 888 chip and up to 16 GB of RAM. This proces­sor is also installed in Xiao­mi Mi 11 Pro, One­Plus 9, Sam­sung Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra smart­phones. The screen diag­o­nal is 5.9 ″ — this is a Super AMOLED matrix with a res­o­lu­tion of 2400 × 1080 pix­els.

The max­i­mum frame refresh rate is 120Hz. There is sup­port for HDR10 +, and the max­i­mum bright­ness of the dis­play is 1100 nits. Also, the smart­phone was equipped with good stereo speak­ers, and the body is water­proof accord­ing to the IP68 stan­dard. This means that it can be sub­merged in water up to 1 meter deep for half an hour.

On the back of the smart­phone, a block with the main cam­eras was placed — there are two of them: a wide-angle Sony IMX686 at 64 megapix­els and an ultra-wide-angle Sony IMX363 at 12 megapix­els.

The dis­play of Asus Zen­fone 8 is sur­round­ed by the thinnest frames. Source: digitaltrends.com

The man­u­fac­tur­er chose Sony IMX663 as a front cam­era mod­ule, the res­o­lu­tion of which is 12 megapix­els. Self­ie shots are obtained with good detail and nat­ur­al col­or repro­duc­tion. Dur­ing the day, the cam­era shoots per­fect­ly, but with the onset of dark­ness, the qual­i­ty of the images cre­at­ed decreas­es.

On the main cam­era in the day­time, stun­ning pic­tures with high detail are obtained. Source: gsmarena.com

The phone has a 4000 mAh bat­tery installed — not bad for one of the best com­pact smart­phones of 2022. Noth­ing spe­cial should be expect­ed from the bat­tery. The bat­tery charge is enough for a full day, and in a spar­ing mode of using a smart­phone, the bat­tery lasts almost two days. Up to 100% bat­tery is charged in 1 hour 20 min­utes.

The smart­phone costs about 80,000 rubles for the top ver­sion 16/256 GB.

Advan­tages:

  • pow­er­ful Snap­drag­on 888 proces­sor;
  • dust and mois­ture pro­tec­tion IP68;
  • up to 16 GB RAM.

Flaws:

  • weak auton­o­my;
  • no tele­pho­to lens.

Last year’s compact flagship iPhone 12 mini

This is one of the most com­pact smart­phones in our selec­tion. It is also the small­est in Apple’s line­up in recent years. It’s even small­er than the 4.7″ iPhone SE, but it’s almost as pow­er­ful as a flag­ship. The smart­phone was equipped with an A14 Bion­ic proces­sor, 4 GB of RAM and from 64 to 256 GB of per­ma­nent mem­o­ry, depend­ing on the ver­sion. The screen diag­o­nal is 5.4”. This is a Super Reti­na XDR dis­play with a res­o­lu­tion of 2340x1080 pix­els.

The iPhone 12 mini is sig­nif­i­cant­ly small­er than the iPhone 12 Pro. Source: ixbt.com

In the hand, the iPhone 12 mini feels like an old iPhone of the fifth series. At the same time, the smart­phone looks mod­ern. On the back of the case there is glossy glass and a block with two cam­era mod­ules. In terms of dust and mois­ture pro­tec­tion, the smart­phone meets the require­ments of the IP68 stan­dard (immer­sion to a depth of up to 1 m for half an hour).

In a stripped-down ver­sion of the iPhone 12 mini, the man­u­fac­tur­er installed the same cam­eras as in the full-fledged iPhone 12. The main unit has two 12-megapix­el lens­es. These are sen­sors with a wide aper­ture: f / 1.6 in the main mod­ule and f / 2.4 in the ultra-wide angle.

The cost of one of the best com­pact smart­phones in 2022 is 75,000 rubles.

Advan­tages:

  • long charg­ing com­pared to com­peti­tors — up to one and a half hours to 100%;
  • good cam­eras;
  • pow­er­ful proces­sor.

Flaws:

  • high price;
  • weak auton­o­my.

Google Pixel 5 is a compact flagship with an advanced camera

At the end of 2020, Google released its new pho­to flag­ship Pix­el 5. This is a com­pact smart­phone, the body of which is pro­tect­ed from dust and mois­ture in accor­dance with the IP68 stan­dard (immer­sion to a depth of up to 1 m for half an hour). It is equipped with a high-qual­i­ty OLED dis­play with a frame rate of 90 Hz and a rel­a­tive­ly small diag­o­nal of 6 inch­es. Full­HD+ screen res­o­lu­tion is 2340x1080 pix­els.

The dis­play is pro­tect­ed by ultra-strong glass Goril­la Glass 6, and sur­round­ed by thin bezels less than 1 mm thick around the perime­ter. The use­ful screen area occu­pies 86% of the entire sur­face.

Espe­cial­ly orig­i­nal Pix­el 5 looks in mint col­or. Source: techinworld.net

The main advan­tage of the Google Pix­el 5 is advanced cam­eras. The smart­phone has only two mod­ules:

  • 12.2MP Sony IMX363 with 77° FOV and f/1.7 aper­ture;
  • 16 MP Sony IMX481 with 107° FOV and f/2.2 aper­ture.

This com­pact smart­phone from the top has an opti­cal sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tem that works even when shoot­ing video in 4K at 60 frames per sec­ond.

The cam­era is 8MP for self­ies. It is built into the upper left cor­ner of the dis­play. The smart­phone has three frame sta­bi­liza­tion modes, and it can also take high-qual­i­ty por­traits in low light.

Among the short­com­ings can be iden­ti­fied the loca­tion of the speak­er. It was placed under the screen, so its vol­ume is some­times not enough, espe­cial­ly if it’s noisy around.

The phone is not the most pow­er­ful proces­sor by today’s stan­dards — Snap­drag­on 765G. It is enough for not the most demand­ing and resource-inten­sive games and appli­ca­tions. It is com­ple­ment­ed by 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of stor­age. The bat­tery capac­i­ty is 4080 mAh. Sup­ports fast charg­ing up to 18W and wire­less 11W. The bat­tery lasts for one and a half to two days of smart­phone oper­a­tion in nor­mal use: calls, social net­works, instant mes­sen­gers.

The cost of Google Pix­el 5 is 70,000 rubles.

Advan­tages:

  • high-qual­i­ty main and front cam­eras;
  • wire­less charg­er;
  • good auton­o­my.

Flaws:

  • no slot for a mem­o­ry card;
  • insuf­fi­cient speak­er vol­ume.

Budget compact smartphone Xiaomi Mi 9 SE

Xiao­mi Mi 9 SE has been on the mar­ket for more than two years, but still remains in demand. The point is that in recent years the Chi­nese com­pa­ny pro­duces smart­phones with larg­er dis­plays, among which lovers of com­pact gad­gets can­not find any­thing.

Xiao­mi Mi 9 SE is a com­pact smart­phone up to 6 inch­es from the bud­get seg­ment. The screen size is 5.97”. This is an AMOLED dis­play with a res­o­lu­tion of 2340x1080 pix­els. The amount of RAM in all ver­sions is 6 GB, and the built-in mem­o­ry is 64 or 128 GB. There is no sup­port for microSD cards — this is a seri­ous minus with this size of inter­nal stor­age.

The design of the Xiao­mi Mi 9 SE is rem­i­nis­cent of the iPhone XS. Source: root-nation.com

The smart­phone has a mid-pow­er Snap­drag­on 712 chip. It is not enough for mod­ern demand­ing games, but with every­day tasks such as watch­ing videos, pro­cess­ing pho­tos or com­mu­ni­cat­ing in social net­works, its per­for­mance is enough.

Xiao­mi Mi 9 SE has three rear cam­eras and one front cam­era:

  • Sony IMX586 at 48 MP with f / 1.8 aper­ture;
  • Omnivi­sion OV8856 — 8MP tele­pho­to lens with f/2.4 aper­ture;
  • Sam­sung S5K3L6 — 13 MP ultra wide-angle with f / 2.4 aper­ture;
  • Sony IMX576 is a 20MP front cam­era with f/2.0 aper­ture.

Dur­ing the day, the smart­phone pho­tographs excel­lent­ly — with good detail and sharp­ness. In the evening, nois­es appear, and small details are washed out. You can’t call this phone a pho­to flag­ship.

The smart­phone has a good wide-angle cam­era that does not dis­tort the pic­ture around the perime­ter. Source: gsmarena.com


A 3070 mAh bat­tery was installed in the phone, the capac­i­ty of which is enough for 11 hours of watch­ing videos or 6–7 hours of games. In nor­mal use with peri­od­ic calls, tak­ing pho­tos and using instant mes­sen­gers, the bat­tery can eas­i­ly with­stand a day.

The cost of Xiao­mi Mi 9 SE is about 20,000 rubles.

Advan­tages:

  • bud­get price;
  • high-qual­i­ty AMOLED dis­play;
  • con­cise design.

Flaws:

  • the max­i­mum amount of mem­o­ry is only 128 GB;
  • no microSD slot.

Which compact smartphone to buy in 2022

Choos­ing a com­pact phone in 2022 is a dif­fi­cult task, as many man­u­fac­tur­ers have aban­doned the release of such gad­gets. And yet there are sev­er­al inter­est­ing mod­els on the mar­ket. If you need an inex­pen­sive com­pact phone, the best choice is Xiao­mi Mi 9 SE.

When shoot­ing qual­i­ty comes first, you need to look at the Google Pix­el 5 or pay anoth­er 15–25 thou­sand rubles to buy an iPhone 12 mini or a top-end iPhone 13 mini. Also on sale is the Asus Zen­fone 8, an Android smart­phone with top-end fea­tures for 80,000 rubles.

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