Best Small Smartphones (2020) Including the Google Pixel 4 & Moto E5 - Rolling Stone
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The Best Small Smartphones

Powerful phones that deliver tech and photography features in compact sizes



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Ever-increasing smartphone size is a trend that some of us just can’t get a hold on (pun intended). Sure, bigger screens mean a better experience with tasks like watching videos, but they quickly become a burden when you need to accomplish anything while using your phone one-handed. Plus, bulky smartphones take up valuable pocket and purse real estate. These drawbacks can be annoying at best, and prone to damage from dropping at worst.

Luckily, you can still find cutting-edge smartphones with manageable dimensions. We scoured Amazon to find a handful of highly-rated smartphones with a smaller size than most popular phones. For reference, the latest iPhone 11 Pro Max’s screen measures 6.5 inches in diameter, so we found smartphones that are six inches or smaller. We also put together a quick smartphone buying guide to brush up on the most important specs of a smartphone.

What Are the Best Small Phones?

The best small smartphones pack all the features of a modern-day cell phone in a portable unit that fits comfortably in the palm of your hand.

Most of us have bought a smartphone before, but many of us are still uncertain what makes certain smartphones better than others. Here are a few specs to consider before picking up a new phone.

Battery: If your phone is dead, any impressive features are irrelevant. Long, reliable battery life is therefore key when researching smartphones. Battery size is measured in mAh, with high-end batteries clocking in at about 3500-4000mAh.

Storage: Between pictures, videos, contacts and apps, your phone’s storage has a big job. Smartphones typically have 16, 32 or 64-gigabyte storage, and many have a microSD card slot that lets you expand the storage.

Processor: A smartphone’s processor is its operating core, dictating how fast the phone can function. Processors are judged by the number of cores (typically, the more the better) and by GHz (usually 1.4GHz and up).

RAM: The RAM of a smartphone (measured in gigabytes) stands for Random Access Memory and dictates how many tasks a phone can handle at once. So, if you’re on a video call while swiping back and forth between emails, the internet and Instagram, a phone with minimal RAM will slow down. RAM typically ranges from two to six gigabytes.

Camera: Cameras have become a key factor in smartphone differentiation because we all want to take great pictures (and selfies). Cameras are rated based on the number of megapixels (MP) they capture. Some also have added technology for night photography, zooming, portraits and so on. All of the phones on our list may be small in size, but they all pack powerful photography features.

Additional Features: Some other helpful features to keep an eye out for are fingerprint sensors, facial recognition technology and dual sim card slots for two numbers. We’ve found phones that are “unlocked,” meaning they can be used with any cell phone provider.

1. Moto E5

Motorola has been overshadowed by Apple and Samsung but the brand is still making great phones worth considering. This E5 is one of their best with impressive overall specs and a compact design. The display measures 5.7 inches, making it big enough to watch videos and look at images but small enough to use with one hand. The standout feature of this phone is a large 4000mAh battery, eliminating the need for those mid-afternoon charges. It’s all packed into a sleek and comfortable design that tucks easily into your pants pockets.

small smartphone motorola android

Courtesy Amazon

Buy: Moto E5 at

2. ZTE Blade Z Max

The ZTE Blade Z is another great option that’s often overlooked. The phone uses a six-inch HD display, plus a 4080mAh battery that makes it the longest-lasting phone on our list. Storage is quite good with 32 gigabytes of internal memory, although RAM is slightly low at two gigabytes. You also get a good dual rear camera system for high-quality images, plus a nice 8MP front-facing camera for crisp selfies. Overall, it’s a very well-rounded phone that we like for travel or as a reliable starter phone (or second phone, say for business).

cheap smartphone ZTE

Courtesy Amazon

Buy: ZTE Blade Z Max at

3. Google Pixel 4

Google has become a major player in the smartphone game with their Pixel leading the way. The Pixel 4 is Google’s latest and greatest, boasting fast performance thanks to an octa-core 2.84GHz processor and six gigabytes of RAM. The Pixel 4 camera is cutting-edge as well, with dual rear-facing cameras (16MP and 12.2MP), an 8MP front-facing camera, stabilization and technology for night photography without flash. The display is 5.7 inches for easy use, but there is one downside: a slightly small 2800mAh battery.

google smartphone pixel 4

Courtesy Amazon

4. CUBOT X19

Many shoppers have never heard of Cubot, but their phones are well worth checking out. This X19 is one of their best with 64 gigabytes of storage, a large 4000mAh battery and a nicely sized display just under six inches. The X19 also offers two sim card slots – a rare but very useful feature for quickly switching between two numbers (say, personal and work numbers). You also get state-of-the-art security with a fingerprint sensor and face ID technology.

black smartphone cubot

Courtesy Amazon

In This Article: RS Recommends, Smartphones


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