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Kyocera DuraForce

Best small Android smartphones available today

Update: Here’s our new list of best small phones in 2018

SamsungSamsung Galaxy S5 Mini G800F 16GB Unlocked Cellphone - International Version (Black)Buy on Amazon|$450.49(Price as of 02/17/2019 04:31 ET)

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Bigger doesn’t necessarily equal better. It’s not the size that matters, it’s how you use it. We mean the phone, you perverted oddballs! You may find it hard to score a half-decent small Android handheld these days, but despite the undeniable mainstream rise of phablets, there’s still demand for devices you can easily slide in and out of your standard-issue trouser pocket.

A compact form factor, proper one-hand maneuverability and sensible design will always go a long way with certain mobile consumers, especially if they’re linked to affordability, a high-res screen, and generally respectable hardware specifications.

Before setting out on a quest to find the best small Android phone in the world prior to the 2015 holiday season, let’s land on a display diagonal range. Can we all agree 4.7 to 5.2-inch handhelds are “normal” nowadays, 5.5 inchers start feeling a bit uncomfortable, and anything beyond 6 inches is excessive, unless your job is to make a dozen slam dunks a few times a week in NBA games?

phone size evolution

Good, then we can probably also agree 4 to 4.5 inchers are “small” by today’s high-end standards, yet remain crowd pleasers for those who like to effortlessly manage mobile business with one normally-sized hand. That said, here are the top ten contenders to the title of best small smartphone, ordered as usual from cheapest to costliest:

LG Leon – $78 for MetroPCS; $83 for T-Mobile


It’s perhaps not fair to compare unlocked and carrier-restricted prices, but at the end of the day, CDMA networks like Verizon or Sprint rarely support gadgets not specifically made for them, so the only important thing that’s lacking at the Leon is AT&T compatibility.

Outside of the connectivity spectrum, the elegant, slim-bezeled 4.5 incher also disappoints with 854 x 480 screen resolution, though the quad-core 64-bit Snapdragon 410 CPU isn’t half bad… for a lot less than 100 bucks. Oh, and you get Lollipop goodies pre-installed as well.

Motorola Moto E (second-gen) – $90

Moto E 2015

Possibly the most appealing sub-$100 proposition, the E2 can be had in US and global GSM configurations, including with 4G LTE speeds, and the 4.5-inch panel is slightly sharper than that of the LG Leon, at 960 x 540 pixels.

Too bad the 2015 Moto E is only around 64 percent screen, massive bezels occupying the rest of the space, and making it a tad cumbersome, with 129.9 x 66.8 mm height/width measurements. On the plus side, the ultra-low-cost Android soldier already runs 5.1 Lollipop, and should be further upgraded to 6.0 Marshmallow sometime next year.

Motorola Moto G (1st generation) – starting at $92

Moto G

It’s old, not very attractive from a design standpoint, lacks microSD storage expansion possibilities, provides a measly 8 GB ROM in an entry-level variation, and tips the scales at a fairly chunky 143 grams while sizing up at 129.9 x 65.9 x 11.6 mm.

But it’s super-affordable, offers close to stock Android 5.1 user experience, and above all, it sports a beautiful 4.5-inch 720p IPS LCD screen.

Huawei Ascend P7 Mini – $144


Don’t hold your breath for a Marshmallow makeover in the near future, as even Lollipop is yet to land on the China-imported qHD 4.5 incher. Be happy the P7 Mini is phenomenally skinny (7.8 mm and 115 grams), and pretty gifted in the selfie-taking department, thanks to a 5 MP front-facing camera.

Also, the 2,000 mAh battery is decently spacious, all things considered, and the quad-core Snapdragon 400 chip takes good care of your basic web browsing, multimedia and even gaming needs.

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini – $192

Galaxy S4 mini

The tiny Super AMOLED 4.3 incher has turned two a few months back, which amounts to 50 or 60 in human years, yet a timeless design, hefty 1.5 GB RAM, satisfactory 8 MP LED flash main cam, and appropriate 1,900 mAh cell keep it in the spotlight for fans of pocket-sized gizmos.

The screen borders aren’t exactly unnoticeable, but the diminutive sibling of Samsung’s 2013 flagship measures just 124.6 x 61.3 x 8.9 mm, and weighs 107 grams.

Samsung Galaxy A3 – $201


Unusually inexpensive for an all-metal device, especially one manufactured by a profit-hungry company, the A3 falls short of impressive aesthetics, with a mediocre 65 percent screen-to-body ratio, and also settles for a so-so 960 x 540 Super AMOLED 4.5-inch display.

Then again, 1.5 gigs of memory, 16 GB on-board hoarding room, Snapdragon 410 muscle, 8 and 5 MP photographic equipment, and Android 5.0 software all feel like the absolute cream of the $200 crop.

HTC One Mini 2 – $239


Why on earth didn’t HTC renew this aging thing to try to squeeze M9’s magic in a smaller package? Granted, the latest hero and the One M8 the Mini 2 is based on are extremely similar, but a One Mini 3 could have brought SD410 power, 1.5 or even 2 GB RAM, and a refined exterior to the table.

Nonetheless, the 4.5 incher on tap offers a lot for a reasonable price tag, starting with 13 and 5 MP cameras, and of course, a premium aluminum unibody build.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact – $250

Xperia Z1 Compact

Sony made the sequel, confusingly named Z3 Compact, a bit too large to be considered here, and the Z5 Compact will also go on sale soon with a 4.6-inch display in tow. It’s all for the best however, as it allows us to remember this oldie but goldie 4.3-inch HD slab, capable of great things to this day.

Silky smooth multitasking? The 2 GB RAM have you covered. Overall system speed? There’s a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor inside. Shutterbug satisfaction? And then some, as the 20.7 MP shooter is simply amazing. And let’s not forget 2,300 mAh battery juice, 16 GB local storage, microSD support, as well as water and dust protection.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini – $267


It seems Sammy inexplicably took a page from HTC’s undependable playbook, and decided to skip or greatly delay the Galaxy S6 Mini. Is last year’s Liliputian flagship still worth around 270 clams in this context?

Yes and no, given we very much dig the 4.5-inch 1,280 x 720 AMOLED panel, 1.5 GB RAM, quad-core Exynos SoC, 8 MP LED flash rear cam, microSD card slot, fingerprint sensor, and IP67 certification for water and dust resistance, but we’re not fans of the cheap plasticky construction or Android 4.4 KitKat flavor.

Kyocera DuraForce – $0 down with AT&T financing; $419 outright

Kyocera DuraForce

This expensive (off-contract), muscular 4.5 incher has a crystal clear target audience – people that constantly drop and damage their phones. By no means a featherweight, at a whopping 200 grams, the DuraForce withstands shocks of different nature, and produces HD images, driven by a Snapdragon 400 chip, and backed for stellar endurance by a colossal 3,100 mAh battery.

SamsungSamsung Galaxy S5 Mini G800F 16GB Unlocked Cellphone - International Version (Black)Buy on Amazon|$450.49(Price as of 02/17/2019 04:31 ET)

* Links in this table contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Thank you for your support. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.

Best waterproof Android smartphones money can buy – fall 2015 edition

If you like singing in the rain, swimming in shark-infested waters (literally), and just generally exposing yourselves to various types of liquid interaction while packing Android “heat”, then chances are you’ve been on the prowl for the perfect waterproof phone.

Underwater smartphone

First of all, sorry to break to you, but there’s no such thing. Secondly, even the world’s objectively best waterproof phones often come with limitations as to underwater use. Want a handheld to handle rain drops and shower splashes? Your selection is virtually limitless.

Seeking a device completely impervious to any and all liquid contacts, no matter the time spent immersed, depth and pressure? That’s a lot trickier to find. Be wary of hidden warranty conditions before choosing one of the following ten contenders to the title of world’s best waterproof phone, and make sure you understand the difference between water-resistant and waterproof.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Active – $650 unlocked

Galaxy S6 Active

The first Android soldier on our list isn’t necessarily the all-around top choice for everybody. But it’s the costliest, and not without reason. IP68 certification means you’re technically covered against 30-minute dunks up to 1.5 meter in addition to fully protected for dirt damage.

Then, you have your MIL-STD-810G approval for salt, dust, humidity, vibration, solar radiation, transport and thermal shock shelter. Basically, the GS6 Active is indestructible in normal real-life circumstances, and you’ll need to want to harm it to do so. Which shouldn’t be the case, also given the beautiful 5.1-inch Quad HD AMOLED screen, powerful Exynos 7420 SoC, smooth Lollipop software, and generous 3 GB RAM.

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact – $540


We could have easily recommended the “standard” Full HD Z5 or the 4K-enabled Premium over this “diminutive” 720p model, but both those powerhouses are too damn expensive. Granted, the 4.6-inch Xperia Z5 Compact is pretty prohibitively priced itself, due to import taxes and whatnot.

Hopefully, Sony will give it the official US green-light soon, and perhaps reconsider the controversial water-related warranty policies. Wouldn’t it be awesome to take proper advantage of the IP68 rating here, and snap 23 MP photos in the pool if not in the ocean as well?

Sony Xperia Z3 Plus – $465 factory unlocked


The eerily familiar Z3 sequel is protected for half-hour swims beyond 1.5 meters, but no deeper than 9 feet or so. It also sports scratch-resistant glass, a 5.2-inch 1,080p IPS LCD panel, octa-core Snapdragon 810 muscle, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB internal storage, a microSD card slot, 21 and 5 MP cams, and 2,930 mAh battery.

It’s hard to tell why the high-end Xperia incremental upgrade received so much flak in the first place. As long as you don’t pay attention to its family tree, it’s actually a fairly robust flagship, don’t you think?

Sony Xperia M5 – $430 factory unlocked

Xperia M5

Why would a mid-ranger be worth about as much as a high-ender? Well, because despite what the name suggests, the M5 is no pushover. It’s different, as it trades the SD810 chip for a MediaTek Helio X10, and it’s 0.2 inches smaller, but it’s not necessarily inferior to the Z3+.

IP68-certified too, the 5 incher stands out in the photography departments, courtesy of 21.2 and 13 MP cameras, it’s Full HD-capable, and a multitasking workhorse, thanks to 3 gigs of memory.

Kyocera DuraForce – $0 with AT&T device financing; $419 outright

Kyocera DuraForce

Durable, tough as nails and… a tad on the chunky side, this Ma Bell-exclusive 4.5 incher flew under our radar back in March in spite of a commercial launch last November, but shouldn’t escape your attention now. It’s both IP68 and MIL-STD-810G authorized for everything from water dives to drops on hard surfaces and lengthy solar exposure.

It’s ideal for one-handed use, although you’ll need a firm grip, at 4.5 inches in screen diagonal and 200 grams weight. Finally, it should go on for ages between charges, backed by a massive 3,100 mAh battery.

Moto X Pure Edition – starting at $400

Moto X Pure Edition

Technically not waterproof or water-resistant, the 5.7-inch new X, alternatively dubbed Style, features a so-called water repellant nano-coating and much weaker IP52 certification than all our nominees so far. What that means is you probably shouldn’t willfully expose the Snapdragon 808 giant to either immersion or water jets, but mild rainfall won’t harm a hair on the vanilla Android-running phone’s head.

This is far from the X Pure’s main selling point, with the quality-price ratio boosted chiefly by the respectable hexa-core CPU, 3 GB RAM, 21 and 5 MP LED cameras, 3,000 mAh juicer, and Quad HD display.

Cat S50 – $400

Cat s50

If you want to get things done on construction sites and possibly even war zones, the 4.7-inch 720p S50 won’t take a bullet for you, but close enough. Aside from an IP67 stamp of approval that falls just short of others’ excellence, the bad boy withstands plunges onto concrete from 1.2 m high. The rest of the specs start feeling somewhat trivial in the face of such a unique engineering feat, don’t you think?

Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3 – $300

Galaxy Xcover 3

In a nutshell, this could be considered the smaller, humbler, less snazzy, non-Galaxy S, IP67-powered brother of the GS6 Active. That said, it looks a little obsolete, although it only saw daylight six months or so ago, with a dreadful 4.5-inch 800 x 480 pix res screen in tow, as well as a quad-core Marvell chip under the hood, 1.5 GB RAM, 8 GB on-board hoarding room, and 5 MP rear shooter.

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua – $200

Xperia M4 Aqua


Before spawning a remarkable follow-up, the M4 Aqua stole the mid-priced IP68 waterproof spotlight, with an unusually slim 7.3 mm profile, decent overall specs (HD 5-inch display, octa-core SD615 processor, 2 GB RAM, 13 and 5 MP cams), and flamboyant colors. Too bad the coral red flavor is $228, compared to the two Benjamin-valued black variant.

Motorola Moto G (3rd generation) – $179.99

Moto G 2015

Isn’t this odd? Not to mention ironic. Lenovo saw fit to make its subsidiary’s latest X hero IP52 water repellant, while the “low-end” G3 skips dust protection altogether, upping the liquid resistance ante to level 7, where you shouldn’t sweat over accidental falls in the typically destructive toilet bowl. As long as it’s less than a meter deep, you’re fine.

Needless to mention the 2015 G is much more than an adequate, semi-rugged device, offering plenty for its wickedly low sub-$200 tag: a 5-inch HD display, Marshmallow readiness, Snapdragon 410 punch, 13 MP photography skill, 2,470 mAh energy.

Ruggedized Kyocera DuraForce available from U.S. Cellular tomorrow

Kyocera DuraForce

Kyocera DuraForce

The Kyocera DuraForce smartphone will be available via U.S. Cellular starting tomorrow, according to a release issued by the carrier. The smartphone was made available via AT&T earlier this month, so it’s no surprise that the device is launching through U.S. Cellular as well.

The carrier mentions that the device will be sold through its $0 down payment monthly installment plans, but failed to mention the monthly cost. But if you’re getting the device on a 2-year agreement, it will set you back by $99, which is double the cost of AT&T’s variant which was priced at $49.99 on contract and $389.99 off contract.

The Kyocera DuraForce is packing a 4.5 inch 720p display, an 8-megapixel camera on the back, 16GB of storage, 2GB of RAM, a 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 SoC, Android 4.4.2 KitKat and a 3,100 mAh battery. Hardware wise, the DuraForce is quite capable and is worthy of a place among the best midrange smartphones available in the market today.

Make sure you walk into a U.S. Cellular outlet tomorrow to check out the Kyocera DuraForce.

Source: U.S. Cellular

Via: Android Central

Ruggedized Kyocera DuraForce hitting AT&T this Friday

Kyocera DuraForce - AT&T

Kyocera DuraForce - AT&T

AT&T has just announced the arrival of the Kyocera DuraForce smartphone through its online stores starting this Friday, the 7th of November. The smartphone has been priced at $49.99 with a two year contract, which is understandable considering that it’s a midrange offering. Off contract, the smartphone will set you back by $389.99.

The smartphone is ruggedized and features water/dust resistance with an IP68 certification, which means it can be dunked in up to 6 feet of water for nearly 30 minutes. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can go deep sea diving with the handset, but it should handle the everyday tussle with water comfortably.

The smartphone also packs a 4.5 inch display, a Snapdragon 400 SoC, an 8-megapixel camera on the back, 16GB of internal storage, 2GB of RAM, front facing speakers, Android 4.4.2 KitKat and a 3,100 mAh battery. Although the handset can be bought from AT&T’s online outlet this Friday, customers will have to wait until the 21st of November to find it in an AT&T retail outlet.

Source: AT&T

Via: Android Central