Best mini smartphones: the top 5 to choose

The handsets that cut size without always cutting corners

Fitting all the features of a top-of-the-range phone into a smaller body is a real engineering challenge, meaning the market is littered with smaller variants suffering from too many compromises.

These sacrifices keep the body size and price down, but also cause some mini handsets to become pale imitations of the bigger versions.

However, there's a select number of compacts that don't make such severe trade-offs in the name of size and price. Some of them even give their larger versions a run for their money - perfect for those that think today's handsets are just getting too pocket-stretchy.

We've tested every compact variant on the market to come up with the definitive list of the best mini smartphones you can buy, with every phone on this list offering features comparable to the larger model in a compact size, and standing tall as an excellent smartphone in its own right - see if your next shrunken handset is among the list.

5. LG G2 Mini

LG G2 Mini

The LG G2 Mini is more expensive than some of the other compacts, but because the user experience of the LG G2 Mini is similar to that of the LG G2, it's still excellent value.

That includes quirks such as buttons on the back, as well as small bezels that give prominence to the screen. The G2 Mini also has the same excellent battery as the larger G2, with a 2440mAh power cell, all housed in a 129.6 x 66 x 9.8mm frame, smaller than the G2's 138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9mm.

The LG G2 Mini's RAM is cut from 2GB to 1GB and comes with a slower 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, compared to the LG G2's 2.26GHz Snapdragon 800, preventing it from charting higher in our list.

The 4.7-inch display also takes a hit, with a resolution of 540 x 960 and a pixel density of 234ppi. This is a lot less than the LG G2's 5.2-inch display, which has a 1,080 x 1,920 resolution and a pixel density of 424ppi, and along with the processor is probably the biggest chop.

That said, it's still a decent handset for a lot less cash - one to keep an eye on if you don't mind slightly older tech.

4. Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini

The S5 Mini does a great job of keeping up with its bigger brother, boasting the same water and dust proofing as the full size Galaxy S5.

They also share the same looks, interface, heartrate monitor and fingerprint scanner, so spec wise it's pretty well-stocked.

However, while the S5 comes with a 5.1-inch full HD screen, the S5 Mini makes do with a 4.5-inch 720p screen and a less capable camera. These and other compromises keep the S5 Mini from coming higher up the list, although the smaller screen size helps make the lower resolution seem like less of an issue.

3. HTC One Mini 2

HTC One Mini 2

The HTC One Mini 2 does almost everything right when it comes to making a miniature version of a popular flagship phone - apart from keeping the spec sheet as powerful.

Even though it's smaller (137.4 x 65 x 10.6mm) and lighter (137g) than the HTC One M8 (which has dimensions of 146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4mm and a weight of 160g), the HTC One Mini 2 retains a similar premium feel, which is a real key consideration if you're less worried about the CPU and how the thing feels day to day.

You may notice, however, that the HTC One Mini 2 is slightly thicker than the HTC One M8, but that doesn't affect things too much.

Though the HTC One Mini 2 is a very capable phone in its own right, HTC has toned the components down compared to the HTC One M8, with a drop from a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor with 2GB of RAM down to a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 and 1GB RAM.