These days, finding a compact phone with all the latest features can be tough. When it comes to smartphones, it seems companies believe bigger is always better. The screen on the new iPhone 15 Pro comes in at 6.1 inches, the Pixel 7 Pro at 6.7 inches and Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra takes it even further to a whopping 6.8 inches. Seriously, it’s hard to believe that Samsung’s original Galaxy Note was once considered a Goliath at only 5.3 inches.
Big screens do have their advantages though. Top specs and stellar cameras are often packed into those massive bodies, while the sheer size of the screens makes them great for watching videos or playing games. But there’s no escaping the fact that the increase in size has made them more cumbersome to hold and use for anyone with smaller hands than continents. And that’s to say nothing of the embarrassing bulge when you try to shove one into the pocket of your skinny jeans.
Though bigger phones can be better for those of you really into your videos or playing lots of mobile games on the move, there are many of us who’d still prefer a smaller phone that’s easier to type with one-handed, and less cumbersome in your pocket.
Your options are, I’m sorry to say, limited and getting more so all the time — especially as Apple opted not to refresh its iPhone Mini line after the iPhone 13 Mini, which has since been discontinued. But there are still some smaller phones to consider, though you may have to sacrifice some features, like longer battery life, wireless charging and better camera performance. Everyone’s definition of “small” is different, and a comfortable size for you may feel uncomfortably large to someone else. If you’re worried about the size, it’s worth trying to get hands-on with a phone at your nearest store.
What’s the best small phone right now?
The best small phone is hands down Apple’s iPhone 13 Mini. Although it lacks the high performance processor and amazing camera skills of the more recent iPhone 15 Pro, it offers great all-round performance for everyday use and its 5.4-inch screen is one of the smallest around.
Best small phones of 2023
How we test phones
Every phone on this list has been thoroughly tested by CNET’s expert reviews team. We actually use the phone, test the features, play games and take photos. We assess any marketing promises that a company makes about its phones. And if we find something we don’t like, be it battery life or build quality, we tell you all about it.
We examine every aspect of a phone during testing:
- Design and feel
- Processor performance
- Battery life
- Camera quality
We test all of a phone’s cameras (both front and back) in a variety of conditions: from outdoors under sunlight to dimmer indoor locales and night time scenes (for any available night modes). We also compare our findings against similarly priced models. We have a series of real world battery tests to see how long a phone lasts under everyday use.
We take into account additional phone features like 5G, fingerprint and face readers, styluses, fast charging, foldable displays and other useful extras. And we, of course, weigh all of our experiences and testing against the price so you know whether a phone represents good value or not. For more, check out our page explaining how we test phones.