Choosing a compact smartphone in 2022 / Smartphones

We are constantly asked for advice on choosing a wide variety of equipment, including smartphones. And one of the most popular requests in the latter case is “just to be small.” This request will soon only have to sigh bitterly and shrug – the number of compact devices is inevitably declining year by year. It turns out that these requests privately do not clearly reflect the overall picture of the market, or you can delve into conspiracy theories and decide that it is companies that are imposing on us smartphones with screens of six and a half inches.

Palm PVG100, now deceased, but not so long ago sold a smartphone with a screen diagonal of 3.3 inches

Be that as it may, there are very few smartphones that can be easily controlled with one hand today – and we decided that it makes no sense to limit ourselves only to very small ones (a little more than five inches), the article will end as soon as it begins. So the upper limit is set at the 6.1-inch diagonal border – these are the displays used by compact flagships like the iPhone 13, Samsung Galaxy S22 and Huawei P40.

At the same time, of course, we will talk about smartphones of different price categories – but it is simply impossible to fully cover the entire range of prices. It so happened that compact smartphones are either expensive and very elite, or cheap and as far from elitism as possible. There are simply no middle peasants – in the price category from 20 to 35 thousand, you already have to choose varieties of “shovels”.

Flagship flagships (but smaller) – iPhone 13 / Samsung Galaxy S22

Apple iPhone 13 Samsung Galaxy S22
Display 6.1 inch, OLED,
2532 × 1170 dots, 460 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 6.1 inches, 2400 × 1080 pixels (425 ppi), 120 Hz
Processor Apple A15 Bionic: six cores (2 × Avalanche, 3.24 GHz + 4 × Blizzard, 2.0 GHz) Samsung Exynos 2200: eight cores (1 x ARM Cortex-X2 @ 2.8GHz + 3 x ARM Cortex-A250 @ 2.5GHz, 4 x ARM Cortex-A510 @ 1.8GHz)
Flash memory 128/256/512 GB 128/256 GB
NFC Yes (Apple Pay) There is
The fingerprint scanner Not Yes, on screen
Main camera Dual module, 12 + 12 MP Triple module: 50 + 10 + 12 MP
Front-camera Dual module: 12 MP + biometric / depth sensor 10 MP
Battery 3240 mAh 3700 mAh
Size 146.7×71.5×7.7mm 146×70.6×7.6mm
Weight 174 grams 167 grams
Housing protection IP68 IP68
Operating system iOS 15 Android 12, native shell
Current price From 90 000 rubles From 85 000 rubles

Apple, for all its totalitarianism, is just trying very hard for the public that loves small smartphones, releasing a relatively compact version of its flagship from year to year (this is in addition to frank babies, which are discussed below) – if you want a small iPhone, then you don’t just have the ability to find it, and even there is some choice among small iPhones.

  Apple iPhone 13

The iPhone 13 with its 6.1-inch screen is, of course, a relatively compact device, but nowadays it can really seem small: it fits easily in any pocket, does not strive to break your brush and weighs 174 grams. The iPhone 13 Pro, by the way, received the same screen and is close in size, but already weighs more than two hundred grams – and this is too much for a compact smartphone.

  s22 Samsung Galaxy S22

Samsung is not so happy for users who love small smartphones, but it also offers a relatively compact device in its flagship series – and with a screen of the same diagonal, the Galaxy S22 is thinner and weighs less than the thirteenth iPhone (167 grams). Both compact flagships have no compromises in performance – full-fledged moisture protection according to the IP68 standard, powerful cameras (Galaxy, of course, cooler), top-end hardware platforms – everything is as it should be.

The most comfortable flagship Sony Xperia 5 III

Sony Xperia 5 III
Display 6.1 inch, OLED,
2520 × 1080 pixels, 449 ppi, capacitive multi-touch, 120 Hz
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 888: one Kryo 680 core @ 2.84GHz, three Kryo 680 cores @ 2.42GHz, four Kryo 680 cores @ 1.8GHz
Flash memory 128/256 GB
NFC There is
The fingerprint scanner Yes, on the side button
Main camera Triple module, 12 + 12 + 12 MP
Front-camera 8 MP
Battery 4500 mAh
Size 157×68×8.2mm
Weight 168 grams
Housing protection IP68
Operating system Android 11, native shell
Current price 99 990 rubles

Sony Xperia 5 III, in fact, could be added a point above, but still the Japanese company has a very special approach – I don’t want to put its smartphones on a par with Apple and Samsung devices. Even the uncompromising Xperia 1 III and Xperia PRO-I are relatively comfortable due to the 21:9 screen format, which allows devices to be narrower and more “grappy” than their competitors with more conventional displays.

The Sony Xperia 5 III, on the other hand, combines a small diagonal screen (6.1 inches) with the same format – and this is a really convenient device that, with a certain skill, can be used with one hand. Moreover, in the company with compactness, there is also an analog audio jack, moisture protection, the absence of “cutouts” on the screen and the overall “tube” nature. If it were not for problems with heat dissipation and a dim display, it would have been a dream of a smart oppositionist, and not a smartphone.

A couple of mid-range smartphones from Sony, the Xperia 10 III and Xperia 10 III Lite, are also worth mentioning here. These could be wonderful compact offers in the uncovered segment “up to 30 thousand rubles”, but they are not officially delivered to Russia and cannot be found even through gray channels now.

⇡#People’s mini-flagship – ASUS Zenfone 8

ASUS Zenfone 8
Display 5.9 inches, Super AMOLED,
2400 × 1080 dots, 446 ppi, capacitive multi-touch, 120 Hz
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 888: one Kryo 680 core @ 2.84GHz, three Kryo 680 cores @ 2.42GHz, four Kryo 680 cores @ 1.8GHz
RAM 6/8/12/16 GB
Flash memory 128/256 GB
NFC There is
The fingerprint scanner Yes, on screen
Main camera Dual module, 64 + 12 MP
Front-camera 12 MP
Battery 4000 mAh
Size 148×68.5×8.9mm
Weight 169 grams
Housing protection IP68
Operating system Android 11, native shell
Current price From 61 000 rubles

Another expensive (but still cheaper than the aforementioned flagships) smartphone, but already uncompromisingly fits into an XS size case: 5.9 inches, 169 grams. Alas, due to the need to place a rather capacious battery somewhere, it was not possible to make the case thin – 8.9 mm. At the same time, despite the screen of a formally smaller diagonal, the smartphone turned out, in fact, no less than the Sony Xperia 5 III, but with a more traditional screen format.

And yes, with the same retrograde mini-jack – it’s not customary for flagships now, but the Taiwanese and Japanese are not like everyone else. Otherwise, it is quite an ordinary high-class smartphone in terms of capabilities and characteristics, except that the camera let us down a little against the background of competitors comparable in price. But, alas, you can’t find Zenfone 8 in official retail now, only through gray channels.

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