AndroidCompact Phones

Compact Android phones with good performance in 2020

Many of us want the latest and greatest phones out there, but not all of us can fit the phones in the palm of our hands. As technology improves, the displays get larger and larger. Thus phone sizes are increased way beyond how much our palms can hold. So the need for a smaller, more compact phone arises.

 

Well, as the title suggests, let’s get into the list.

 

 

1. Samsung Galaxy S10e

Samsung Galaxy S10e

 

The S10e is the most powerful compact phone out there. It sports a beastly Snapdragon 855 under the hood, and is a great contender for ~$500-700 unlocked. If you’re lucky, you could get one from Aliexpress, but that wouldn’t have warranty, so if warranty doesn’t matter.

 

Features:

There’s a beautiful HDR10+ AMOLED display, which is compact at 5.8 inches. A powerful Snapdragon 855/Exynos 8920 SoC(System on a Chip) runs the phone. An IP68 rating, dust and water resistant up to 1.5 meters and 30 minutes helps save your phone if it ever falls in water. It supports all US 4G bands, and most global 4G bands too. The modem has a peak download speed of 2Gbps LTE on both US and global versions. It comes with an infinity O display. There is a selfie camera situated on the top right. Comes with a side mounted fingerprint, which is situated on the power button. Wireless Powershare helps share the phone’s battery power wirelessly.

 

Drawbacks:

While the S10e is a capable handset, it does have it’s negatives. A lot of people have reported a really short battery life with this phone, probably around 4 to 5 hours of screen on time(SOT). The Exynos variants have reported to offer a worse battery life compared to it’s snapdragon counterparts, and even has an inferior GPU, so gaming will be a bit of a problem.

 

2. Google Pixel 4

 

Pixel 4

 

Google’s Pixel 4 is even smaller than the Samsung S10e. It uses a 5.7 inch display, which makes the phone even more smaller, and could be an easy fit in your hands. This one also has a Snapdragon 855 under the hood.

 

Features:

packs a nice 5.7 inch P-OLED display with HDR and 90Hz refresh rate.Great cameras.Face unlock that actually works. Snapdragon 855 SoC. IP68 rating, dust and water resistant up to 1.5 meters and 30 minutes. Supports all US 4G bands, and most global 4G bands. Notchless display. 18w charging

 

Drawbacks:

Pixel 4 has a few. The first is the battery, which sits at 2800mAh, far less than the Samsung S10e’s 3100mAh. Another one is the absence of a fingerprint reader, and face unlock is used in it’s place. The 3.5mm jack is absent too. You skip out on unlimited photo storage for this model. There are thick top and bottom bezels though. Some may find it great, and some not. It depends on your choice.

 

3. Huawei P30

 

Huawei P30

 

While the P30 may not be as compact as the s10e, and Pixel 4, it does offer some power packed features, and the in house Kirin 980 is no slouch potato either.

 

Features:

This one has a powerful HiSilicon Kirin 980 which gives snapdragon 865 like performance, and at 7nm. It’s less than 150mm tall, so it’ll fit in your hands. Great camera, has an amazing low light photography due to the larger sensor on the primary camera. Leica optics for the cameras Nano memory, their own unique patented memory card slot. HDR10 OLED display 22.5w fast charging Great battery life for a compact phone Uses Cat21 4G with a download and upload speed of 1400/200Mbps Has a headphone jack which is like finding gold on high end smartphones these days Under display fingerprint

 

Drawbacks:

The phone does have a few drawbacks. The nano memory may be unique, but if you have a memory card lying around, it won’t fit in the phone. You’ll have to shell out extra cash on getting a nano memory card of your choice, say 64, 128 or 256GB capacities. Wireless charging is absent, but shouldn’t be a deal breaker. There’s no proper dust and water resistance. It uses IP58, but if your phone falls in the water, it could get completely damaged.

 

4. Xiaomi MI9 SE

 

MI9 SE

 

The phone was released in March last year, but it’s still a great phone considering it’s less than 150mm in height. It has a midrange Snapdragon 712 running it, and is still a capable phone in spite of it’s midrange chip.

 

Features:

Good camera, daylight shots are clear, night shots are not bad. 18w fast charging speed. Super AMOLED display with HDR. Under display fingerprint reader. Type C connector.

 

Drawbacks:

The MI9 SE is a device that Xiaomi put very little development into. That means, delayed updates, longer times to solve issues, etc. Many have complained that the proximity sensor is faulty, so take a note of the issues before purchasing this phone.

 

 

5. Samsung S10

 

Samsung S10

 

Surprisingly, the S10 is under 150mm height, which looks like a great compact phone considering most phones are over 157mm, going all the way to almost 170mm. So let’s take a look at what the phone has to offer.

 

Features:

The latest Snapdragon 855 powers the S10, and if you live in the rest of the world, you get the Exynos variant. If Exynos is not a processor that caters to your liking, you can always get a Samsung S10 snapdragon variant from Aliexpress, but without any warranty.  (You could of course ship it back to the seller to claim warranty, but it could be risky). All bands are supported for US and rest of the world. The HDR10+ Dynamic AMOLED display with 2k resolution brings the phone to life. The battery is a juicy 3400mAh, with a fast charging speed of 15w. The fingerprint sensor is embedded in the display.

 

Drawbacks:

While the S10 has a cool in display fingerprint, it isn’t that responsive, and this could become a headache over time. Even though the battery is huge, the battery life is really short, and sometimes you will need to charge it within less than a day. The curved glass at the edges would give false touches, which could be annoying.

6. Samsung A40

 

Samsung A40

 

The A40 uses a midrange Exynos 7904 . It’s not that bad compared to the much slower phones available in the market today with compact bodies.

 

Features:

While the A40 might not be a flagship, it still has a decent build, and supports a set number of bands that work on few operators across the world. They still stuck to their super AMOLED display even for a midrange chip. The Exynos 7904 uses 2x A73 cores, and 6x A53 cores in a big.LITTLE configuration, but it’s not as powerful as the Snapdragon 845 or 855 with A75/A76 and A55 cores. The primary camera of 16MP is decent given the low cost of the phone. A Type C socket is a great addition to this phone.

 

Drawbacks:

One of the main disadvantages of the phone is the processor. It may not be that fast for some people, and the battery may run down soon due to the processor being of a higher process node(14nm) compared to the previous phones(845 on 10nm and 855 on 7nm). Another problem is, the camera lacks image stabilization. The speaker is a let down. The 5MP ultrawide camera is really poor. They could’ve added an 8 or 13MP ultrawide camera instead. The storage is eMMC 5.1 compared to UFS 2.1 on the previous phones. eMMC is quite slow, and the phone would start lagging after a couple of years.

 

7. Moto G7 play

 

Moto G7 play

 

The G7 play sits at 147.3mm height, which is why we added this to the list. This is one of the lower budget phones we added, and still packs a punch.

 

Features:

The snapdragon 632 which uses the same 14nm process as the Exynos 7904 used on the Samsung A40, is just a tad faster than it’s counterpart. There’s 4x A73 cores, compared to 2 on the Exynos. This phone comes with an LCD display instead of AMOLED on the previous phones. Fortunately, the G7 Play supports most US LTE bands, and can be used in many countries in Europe. This is one of the phones that have pure stock android, without any UI changes. Some people find it really nice and laid back, while others prefer the UIs of other brands.

 

Drawbacks:

The G7 play comes with a 720p display, instead of full HD. LCD displays may be a disadvantage for some. The 3000mAh battery is a tad less for people’s usage. The front and rear cameras could be improved. The notch is huge and takes most of the top portion of the screen. The 32GB storage might not be sufficient for some people, although there’s a memory card slot available. 2GB ram nowadays is hardly usable, and will cause the phone to slow down if too many apps are loaded in the memory.

8. Samsung A20e

 

Samsung A20e

 

The A20e too packs similar specs as the A40. The Exynos 7884 is similar to the 7904, and comes at a lower clock.

 

Features:

The Exynos 7884 consists of 2x A73 and 6x A53, but at a lower clock speed of 1.6GHz compared to the 7904 of 1.77GHz. This was made for reducing the power consumption. Fortunately, this one has a USB Type C slot. 15w fast charging really helps this phone especially with it’s 3000mAh battery.

 

Drawbacks:

The 3000mAh may not be sufficient for some, but the 720p display makes the phone last longer. 720p display will put off a number of users. The phone sports a cheap plastic build. Only a 32GB storage variant is available. 3GB ram is insufficient these days. They should have bundled it with 4GB ram as standard. eMMC 5.1 is slow, but decent enough for a phone of this budget. Absence of 5GHz wifi, but that’s something you’ll have to sacrifice for a budget phone. This phone isn’t supported in the US, so it’s only worth in Europe.

9. Samsung A10e

 

Samsung Galaxy A10e

 

The A10e is one of the lowest budget compact phones out there. It has the same Exynos 7884 which is on the A20e. Overall, a decent phone for everyday use at 100 bucks!

Features:

Surprisingly, this phone has Wifi 5GHz which is absent on the A20e. It even flaunts a Type C port, which most budget phones under $100 lack. Various variants with each for (T-Mobile & Metro PCS), (Verizon, Sprint, Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile), and AT&T.

 

Drawbacks:

The 8/5MP camera is quite poor, but this is alright for a phone under $100. Some people have reported touch sensitivity issues, so get it checked and return it back if you find any issues. The only storage option is 32GB with 2GB ram, which is insufficient these days.

 

10. Sharp Aquos R2 Compact

 

Sharp Aquos R2 compact

 

This phone is only available in Japan, while some have been able to sell it out of Japan, into Belarus, Kazakhstan, and get the phone into Russia. This is the smallest, of all compact phones with a display size of just 5.2 inches.The phone’s height tops out at 131mm.

 

Features:

Smallest screen ever at 5.2″, speedy Snapdragon 845 chip which was released in 2018, but isn’t a slouch even in 2020. This super compact phone has IP68 rating, which can be used under water at 1 meters, and for just 30 minutes. The camera has OIS, which is a plus for this phone. Sharp has their own in house “IGZO” LCD display which is used in the phone. They coupled it with a nice HDR10 and 120Hz aspect ratio. There’s fast charging of 18w, and you get a Type C cable with this phone. 64GB storage and 4GB ram is quite sufficient today. It comes with a card slot which is a bonus. The 22MP rear, and 8MP front camera are decent enough for a compact phone as this.

 

Drawbacks:

The battery is the tiniest of the lot, at 2500mAh. Using the phone at 120Hz will drain the battery in no time. The given 4G bands won’t work on all operators worldwide, as many bands are absent.

 

So, which of these phones did you pick? Did we miss out any? Did any of these phones tick all the boxes, if not, most of them? Do let us know in the comments below.

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Kiran Fernandes

Kiran is your friendly neighbourhood tech enthusiast who's passionate about all kinds of tech, goes crazy over 4G and 5G networks, and has recently sparked an interest in sci-fi and cosmology.

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