With phablets boasting huge Ultra HD screens, it's hard to remember a time when mobile phones were racing to be the smallest. That long-forgotten race might now have a winner, as UK phone company Zanco has unveiled the Zanco tiny t1, the smallest – and probably the least practical – phone ever made.

The Zanco tiny t1 sure lives up to its name. Measuring just 46.7 x 21 x 12 mm (1.8 x 0.8 x 0.47 in), the retro-styled candybar phone is smaller than your thumb, and it weighs 13 g (0.46 oz), or about as much as two and a half nickels. You'll find more pixels in Mario's little toe than you will in the tiny t1's half-inch screen, which sports a resolution of 64 x 32 pixels.

The 200-mAh battery charges via Micro USB, and Zanco says it should be good for 180 minutes of talk time or three days on standby. We're not entirely sure how much storage space this thing has, but it can apparently remember 300 numbers in its phonebook and store up to 50 SMS messages.

With specs that adorably small, the tiny t1 is obviously just a talk-and-text device. It's not going to replace your smartphone any time soon, but Zanco says it could make a good backup phone for emergencies, or if you want to leave your $800 smartphone at home on a night out and still be contactable by the babysitter.

But we've got to wonder how well it'll handle even the basics of calls and texts. For starters, the phone only works on the aging 2G networks, which are currently being phased out in the US, Australia, Canada, and parts of Europe and Asia. On top of that, when the tiny t1 is pressed against your ear, that microphone won't be anywhere near your mouth, and the super-small screen looks like it'll make texting a grueling chore. All up, it's probably only slightly more practical than Maxwell Smart's shoe-phone.

But that's not the point. Zanco knows it's banking on the novelty factor of a phone so small you could accidentally swallow it, and it's working. The Kickstarter campaign has smashed its £25,000 (US$33,000) goal and raised about £72,000 (US$96,000). Early bird pledges start at £35 ($47) for one of the phones, and if all goes to plan, the tiny t1 is expected to ship in May 2018.

We've been burned by a novelty phone before, and this one looks even less useful than the Nokia 3310. Either way, it's up to you whether the tiny t1 seems worth the two minutes of entertainment you'll get answering it in front of your mates at the pub.

Source: Zanco

View gallery - 7 images