• Smartphones

    Best compact phones 2020 - buyer�s guide

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    The trend towards growing displays seems to be plateauing, but even in the current state of things, most phones are just too big for easy handling with one hand. This is why we always enjoy it when we come across the occasional competent compact handset. In this section of our buyer's guide, we'll try to point out the ones we think deserve your attention.

    Speaking of good things, perhaps the best one is the chipset - the SE (2020) has the same SoC as the proper iPhones of the day, so it's more powerful than even the beefiest Android, and it'll remain capable for years to come, during which time it'll keep getting software updates - the iOS way. It's a very affordable entry into that iOS world too - relatively, of course - the next cheapest iPhone is the XR at roughly a 50% premium.Like it or not, there simply hasn't been a high-end smartphone this small since the Xperia XZ2 Compact from April 2018.Read full reviewThe Galaxy S20 comes with essentially the same camera system as the S20+ (sans the ToF modul) that's fully capable for stills and video, day and night, and goes from ultra wide to tele - sort of losslessly up to 3x, though we just wish they communicated it better. Display parity is also there - the 120Hz-capable 1440p AMOLED may not be able to get you both numbers at the same time, but it's the exact limitation that you'll encounter on the Plus, and even the Ultra. If anything, the S20 looks best of the three at 1080p/120Hz thanks to the small diagonal. The smallest Galaxy S20 can't match the others for battery life, and offers just satisfactory endurance. The compact size surely doesn't help with the thermals, and the S20 heats up a lot when stressed, but to be fair so do the bigger ones in the Exynos trim that we've reviewed them. And, yeah, unlike that old and trusty TouchID above, all three S20s do a less-than-stellar job of fingerprint recognition - but the parity is there.Read full reviewA couple of things did fall victim on the S10e for the sake of compactness (or market segmentation). For one, it's missing a telephoto camera and only comes with a dual setup of a regular wide and an ultra-wide module, but they do produce the same quality photos as the S10 and that's no bad thing. Additionally, the under-display fingerprint reader of the most Samsungs is replaced by the thin side-mounted capacitive sensor - maybe try it beforehand.Being part of the flagship lineup, the S10e should be getting software updates as the big boys, so you don't have to worry about sacrificing future-proofing for compactness by getting a year-old device.Read full reviewThe beefiest chipset currently available is a given, the splendid display makes no compromises other than the notch, and a triple camera with industry-leading video recording quality outperforms the SE's by a factor of, say, the price ratio between them. All of that goes hand in hand with more than decent battery life and (at last!) fast charging to sweeten the deal.Read full reviewWhat you'll need to live with is the unpretentious chipset that prioritizes efficiency over performance. Even so, battery life is not exactly a strong suit either, but it'll do. Overall an average phone, but a nice compact phone.Read full reviewXiaomi did make a few questionable choices for the SE, which we're not entirely on board with. To make it more in line with the flagship Mi 9 or for deliberate segmentation reasons, the Mi 9 SE is missing a headphone jack and a microSD slot, which takes away some of its practicality. It does sport an IR emitter, for what it's worth.unfortunately, for whatever reason - COVID-19 or discontinuing the product, the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE stock is running out fast and it�s almost impossible to find online in the EU. We hope other markets have more luck. Read full review

    Editors' choiceLike it or not, there simply hasn't been a high-end smartphone this small since the Xperia XZ2 Compact from April 2018.Read full reviewThe smallest Galaxy S20 can't match the others for battery life, and offers just satisfactory endurance. The compact size surely doesn't help with the thermals, and the S20 heats up a lot when stressed, but to be fair so do the bigger ones in the Exynos trim that we've reviewed them. And, yeah, unlike that old and trusty TouchID above, all three S20s do a less-than-stellar job of fingerprint recognition - but the parity is there.Read full reviewBeing part of the flagship lineup, the S10e should be getting software updates as the big boys, so you don't have to worry about sacrificing future-proofing for compactness by getting a year-old device.Read full reviewRead full reviewRead full reviewunfortunately, for whatever reason - COVID-19 or discontinuing the product, the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE stock is running out fast and it�s almost impossible to find online in the EU. We hope other markets have more luck. Read full review

    unfortunately, for whatever reason - COVID-19 or discontinuing the product, the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE stock is running out fast and it�s almost impossible to find online in the EU. We hope other markets have more luck.

     


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