The best small phone 2023on January 10, 2023 at 10:16 Tech Advisor

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Smartphones have got so large in recent years that many of us forget that once upon a time, phones competed to be as small as possible.

Now that buttons have long disappeared from the front of our phones, there isn’t much to do with a full screen design than make that screen bigger. 2014’s 4.7in iPhone 6 was gargantuan at the time – now the same-sized iPhone SE is one of the smallest phones you can buy.

But we believe that bigger isn’t always better in smartphone land, and this list is proof you can get your hands (or hand, preferably) on ten superb small smartphones.

Whether you have small hands and prefer a compact handset or are simply fed up with phones that stick out the top of your jeans pocket or don’t find in your handbag, we have whittled down the smallest phones out there for you to choose from (though admittedly there aren’t a lot in the first place).

While we recommend phones from household names like Apple and Samsung, it’s worth checking the best small phone for you isn’t one of the others from lesser though of brands such as Asus, or ones that sell fewer phones like Google.

You might also want to consider a foldable phone – the convenience of a smaller form to carry around that can unfold into something larger and closer to the size of a ‘normal’ smartphone in 2022.

Best small phone 2022

1. iPhone 13 Mini – Best overall

Pros

Lightweight and compact

Powerful performance

Great cameras

Cons

Limited battery life

Relatively expensive

No ProMotion display

Easily the best small phone around – considering the size-to-performance balance it strikes – with its (still 60Hz) 5.4in Super Retina XDR OLED display.

The 13 Mini runs on the same cutting-edge A15 Bionic chipset found in the rest of the series and it also benefits from more base storage and a bigger battery, compared to its predecessor (even if longevity is still behind that of rivals).

The dual rear 12Mp camera also enjoys improved stabilisation, better sensors and new shooting abilities – like Cinematic mode, while the selfie snapper is among the best in the business.

The screen might feel a little cramped to type on, so try one out in an Apple Store before you buy, if you can, and think hard about the price, as 2020’s iPhone 12 Mini is still a superb small phone offering that now costs even less.

Read our full
Review Apple iPhone 13 mini

2. Google Pixel 6a – Best small Android phone

Pros

Great performance

Good battery life

Five years of security updates

Cons

60Hz display

Slow 18W charging

Plastic back scratches easily

The Pixel 6a has a 20:9 6.1in AMOLED screen so is taller than the iPhone 13 mini, but it’s still a slender and manageable size compared to most modern smartphones. It’s a 60Hz panel, the same as the iPhone, but other small phones have higher refresh rate displays.

The Pixel is our favourite smaller Android phone thanks to top drawer performance from the Google Tensor processor, the same chip as in the larger and more expensive Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. The 12.2Mp main camera is also one of the best in the game thanks to Google’s clever HDR software that processes shots excellently.

Battery life is also excellent and better than many other high-end phones and small phones alike. It’s a shame the charging is a little slow, but the pay off is worth it in the end when the phone only costs $449/£399/€459. Add to that lots of clever Google features like spam call answering, great on-device transcription, and photo tools, and this is one pocketable powerhouse.

Read our full
Review Google Pixel 6a

3. Asus Zenfone 9 – Flagship Android specs

Pros

Flagship specs

Great battery life

Accomplished cameras

Cons

Overheating issues

Only two Android updates promised

RRP:



£699 (8+128GB) | £749 (16+256GB)

Best Prices Today:



£699 at Asus£729.99 at Amazon

Asus has continued to make smaller phones when the trend has been to supersize, and we are eternally grateful. In 2022, the Zenfone 9 is not only the best Zenfone model ever, it’s also one of our favourite small phones, and the best small Android flagship you can get.

It has the top-of-the-line Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset, which has enabled outstanding power efficiency from the necessarily small battery – this phone has very good battery life, lasting well over a day of use. The phone does occasionally run hot. but it’s not the only one on the market to do so.

The punchy OLED display is 5.9in and has a 120Hz high refresh rate screen, and on the other side is a unique grippy plastic finish – with no glass, you can rock the phone without a case, but there is one in the box if you want.

You might prefer another phone if you want more than two years of Android updates, which is all Asus promises, but if you aren’t bothered then this is one of the best phones – not just considering small ones – you can buy.

Read our full
Review Asus Zenfone 9

4. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 – Best foldable

Pros

Fast, flagship performance

Impressive battery life

Great main camera

Fun design

Cons

Durability still a doubt

25W charging is sluggish

No telephoto

This is technically the smallest phone in this list because it folds down into something the same size as a few coasters piled on top of each other.

The inside folding screen is a 6.7in 120Hz AMOLED that looks very sharp and bright – just remember there’s a visible crease in the middle you can feel under your finger, and it’s covered in a plastic sheet rather than glass (because physics). It still feels premium, though.

If you don’t mind the trade off, this is the best way to get a small phone with a large screen. There’s also a cute 1.9in screen next to the dual cameras that you can use when the phone is closed to read notifications and messages or use as a viewfinder to take a selfie. Best of all, the Z Flip 4 has much better battery life than the Flip 3, making this the first Flip in the series you won’t have to charge during the day if you use it a lot.

Read our full
Review Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

5. Sony Xperia 5 IV – Narrow and compact

Pros

Premium build

Incredibly capable cameras

Excellent battery life

Headphone jack

Front-facing speakers

Cons

Cameras take work and patience

Only two years of software and security updates

Slow charging

RRP:



£949

Best Prices Today:



£799.00 at Amazon£949 at Sony

The Sony Xperia 5 IV is a beautifully unique phone – it has a narrower and taller display than other phones thanks to its 21:9 aspect ratio. It means you can fit a lot of text on the screen in portrait orientation or watch films and TV shows in full screen when in landscape – 21:9 is used in the film indsutry.

Its dimensions mean the phone is comfortable to hold and scroll one-handed, though you may need two to reach the top. It’s also very slim, with an attractively angular utilitarian feel that you don’t find on other phones. It’s a phone that feels like a tool, which is reflected in the camera system – Sony has decided to push the manual controls of the phone so it feels as though you’re using one of its Sony Alpha cameras.

It means this is not the best phone for point and shoot photography but if you want to get granular control and use several dedicated camera and video apps you can’t get on other phones, the Xperia 5 IV will be the small phone for you. It even has a headphone jack!

Read our full
Review Sony Xperia 5 IV

6. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 – Best cheaper foldable

Pros

Elegant folding design

Water resistance

More affordable than ever

Cons

No telephoto camera

Middling battery life

Still needs to be tougher

RRP:



£949 (128GB) | £999 (256GB)

Still available from resellers for considerably less than its retail price, the Z Flip 3 is very close to the experience you get with the newer Z Flip 4.

The Z Flip 3 is a beautiful expression of the evolution of foldable smartphone tech and somehow manages to incorporate water resistance into its design. As such, you get a phone with a pretty sizeable 6.7in 120Hz Full HD+ AMOLED that folds in half, making it much more pocketable.

Battery life and the dual cameras could be better but despite flagship-class performance in a groundbreaking design, the Flip 3’s pricing also proves that foldables can tango in the same space as conventional high-end smartphones without any major sacrifices.

Read our full
Review Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G

7. iPhone 12 Mini – Fantastic all-rounder

Pros

Lightweight and compact

Powerful performance

Great cameras

Cons

Limited battery life

Relatively expensive

No ProMotion display

RRP:



Discontinued. Was: £699 (64GB) | £749 (128GB) | £849 (256GB)

The iPhone 12 Mini serves as the smallest of the four handsets from Apple’s 2020 line-up and still boasts an impressive size-to-performance ratio.

On the front, you’ll find a beautiful 5.4in display that extends across the entirety of the phone’s front (save for the Face ID-capable notch).

It also packs in a pair of stellar cameras, MagSafe for iPhone-compliant wireless charging and what is still one of the most powerful SoCs out there, in Apple’s own A14 Bionic. 5G is included too, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Read our full
Review iPhone 12 mini

8. iPhone 14 Pro – Small at a push

Pros

Dynamic Island is a game-changer

A full always-on display

48Mp camera & pixel binning truly enhance photography

Cons

No real battery life improvement

No fast charging

Much more expensive in the UK

This is pushing what we would call a small phone, but the choices are few and far between these days as smartphones have generally got huge.

The 14 Pro is still relatively small with its 6.1in display, particularly if you have larger hands. It helps it is one of the best quality screens on any phone, with 120Hz refresh rate and Apple’s clever and accurate Face ID hidden in the Dynamic Island – a mix of camera holes and black pixels that the software uses to expand widgets and controls.

The new 48Mp main camera sensor also means this is the best camera system ever on an iPhone, paired with a solid ultrawide and 3.3x telephoto lens. iOS is slick as ever, and the battery life is stellar, if not improved from the iPhone 13 Pro.

Read our full
Review iPhone 14 Pro

9. Xiaomi 12 – Best for fast charging

Pros

Impressive fast charging

Crisp 120Hz display

Great performance

Cons

MIUI isn’t for everyone

No IP certification

Underwhelming battery life

If you want a small but powerful Android phone with more a little more kick than 2020’s Pixel 5, 2022’s Xiaomi 12 is a brilliant alternative.

Provided you’re happy to contend with its more convoluted MIUI-based user experience, the Xiaomi 12 packs in the latest flagship chipset, great cameras and impressive 67W fast charging; addressing one of the frequent shortcomings of smaller phones – weaker, shorter battery life.

Size-wise, its 6.28in 120Hz Full HD+ AMOLED display isn’t to be sniffed at either.

Read our full
Review Xiaomi 12

10. iPhone SE 2022 – Cheapest iPhone

Pros

Latest Apple chip

Wireless charging

Cheap (for an iPhone)

Cons

Extremely dated design

Low-resolution display

Single rear camera

RRP:



£449 (64GB) | £499 (128GB) | £609 (256GB)

The iPhone SE is one of Apple’s smallest iPhones – only the two Mini models are more petite – but it’s not our first choice.

That’s mostly because Apple’s has stuck to its old iPhone design here, meaning that while the SE is small, a lot of that space is wasted by a big black bezel and Home Button. That means the display is absolutely tiny and still low resolution – other small phones will feel bigger.

Still, you get the same processor as the iPhone 13 series, along with wireless charging and water-proofing. And while there’s only one rear camera it is pretty good – though not at night.

Buy this if you can’t afford either of the Minis, but otherwise it’s better to stretch your budget if you can.

Read our full
Review Apple iPhone SE (2022)

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