Best small phones 2024 (2024)

Jump To:

  • Quick list
  • Best small phone
  • Best small Android
  • Best small foldable
  • Best small flagship
  • Best budget option
  • Best cheap foldable

Best small phones: Quick menu

Best small phones 2024 (1)

1. The list in brief
2. Best small phone
3. Best small Android
4. Best small foldable
5. Best small flagship
6. Best budget option
7. Best cheap foldable

The best small phones, appropriately enough, don't take up much space in the phone market these days. But even if the majority of smartphone users apparently want big screens, these are the phones that'll suit users who prefer something more pocket-size.

We're hoping the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 is about to launch, and that we'll be adding it to this list soon enough. While the phones already on our list are great picks, we will never say no to new options.

You can see our list in brief below, and further down more detailed descriptions of what makes these phones suited to certain types of user.

The quick list

We've gone through all of the best options and put them through rigorous testing to see which ones you should buy. Here are the best small phones you can still get your hands on in brief, with longer summaries below.

Best overall

1. iPhone 13 mini

The best small phone overall
You can't beat the iPhone 13 mini for its combination of power and performance. And even better, it's one of the smallest handsets even among those on this list.

Read more below

Best Android

2. Asus Zenfone 10

The best small Android phone

Asus continues to lead the way in small Androids with the Zenfone 10, offering excellent but efficient performance and some great software. It's just a shame it's got a limited update schedule and fewer cameras than most for its price

Read more below

Best foldable

3. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

The best small foldable phone

If you like your small phone to hide a large screen, then the Galaxy Z Fold 5 will give you that in a flexible body, plus a rather functional outer display on top of that.

Read more below

Best flagship

4. iPhone 15 Pro

The best small flagship phone

The iPhone 15 Pro stuffs the latest iPhone features into a compact body. You won't find a more powerful phone, or a better photo-taker, at this size, but you will pay for the privilege.

Read more below

Best budget

5. iPhone SE (2022)

The best budget small phone

The cheapest phone on this list, the iPhone SE delivers plenty of computing power for its size, but strips out some modern smartphone comforts to do so.

Read more below

Cheaper foldable

6. Nubia Flip 5G

A cheaper foldable option

Nubia managed to make a cheap phone that's also a foldable, and foldable means small (at least when it's shut. Inside is a big display, but it's a bit bare bones elsewhere.

Read more below

The full list: Best small phones in detail

Best small phones 2024 (8)Best small phones 2024 (9)

1. iPhone 13 mini

The best small phone you can buy

Specifications

Display: 5.4-inch OLED (2340 x 1080)

CPU: A15 Bionic

RAM: 4GB

Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB / No

Rear cameras: 12MP main (f/1.6), 12MP ultrawide (f/2.4)

Front camera: 12MP (f/2.2)

Weight: 4.97 ounces

Reasons to buy

+

Capable dual cameras

+

Comprehensive 5G support

+

Incredible A15 Bionic power

Reasons to avoid

-

Cinematic mode capped at 1080p

-

No charger in the box

Apple continued the small phone legacy laid down by the iPhone 12 mini with the iPhone 13 mini. This little handset is very powerful, thanks to the new A15 Bionic chip. There’s nothing it can’t handle, all while being easily pocketed or used one-handed. The 5.4-inch OLED display is still crisp with excellent colors and viewing angles.

Compared to the iPhone 12 mini, Apple kept the 13 mini's design the same, but improved the battery life — in the Tom’s Guide battery test, the iPhone 13 mini lasted for more than 1.5 hours longer than its predecessor. The cameras also got an upgrade. Both the 12MP wide-angle main and 12MP ultrawide cameras feature larger sensors now that let in more light. The ultrawide also has autofocus now. But also new this year are Cinematic Mode and Photographic Styles.

The former lets you record portrait videos with dynamically shifting focus for that artistic look. Photographic Styles are basically real-time filters that you can test out while you’re aiming the camera, letting you capture photos that match your personal taste.

We love the iPhone 13 mini's compact frame and impressive power. It's perfect for people who want a small phone with powerful hardware and great creative capabilities. You can't buy it from Apple any more, but it should still be easy enough to find from third-party retailers and carriers.

Read our full iPhone 13 mini review.

The best small Android phone

Best small phones 2024 (10)

2. Asus Zenfone 10

The best small Android phone

Specifications

Display: 5.9-inch AMOLED (2400 x 1080)

CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

RAM: 8GB, 12GB, 16GB

Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB / No

Rear cameras: 50MP (f/1.56) main, 13MP (f/3.06) ultrawide

Front camera: 32MP (f/2.5)

Weight: 6 ounces

Reasons to buy

+

Smaller than any other premium Android

+

Mighty chipset

+

Long battery life

+

Productive software additions

Reasons to avoid

-

Limited software updates

-

Only two rear cameras

Small phones may be a rarity, but Asus isn’t giving up. No siree, the Zenfone 10 is exactly what we wanted to see in a small Android phone. It packs in a ton of horsepower thanks to its Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, paired with up to 16GB of RAM. The 5.9-inch AMOLED display is great with punchy colors, but the battery life doesn't suffer. We really like some of Asus' software alterations to base Android too, such as using the power button as a notification shade switch.

The cameras are generally pretty good for most purposes, though we wish there was a telephoto camera. Also only two years of full Android updates isn't great for a phone of this price. Nonetheless, the Zenfone 10 is head of the pack when it comes to small Android phones.

Read our full Asus Zenfone 10 review.

The best small foldable phone

Best small phones 2024 (11)

3. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

The best small foldable phone

Specifications

Displays: 6.7-inch AMOLED (2640 x 1080) inner; 3.4-inch AMOLED (720 x 748) outer

CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy

RAM: 8GB

Storage / Expandable: 256GB, 512GB / No

Rear cameras: 12MP (f/1.8) main, 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide

Front camera: 10MP (f/2.2)

Weight: 6.6 ounces

Reasons to buy

+

Larger outer Flex Window display

+

Good cameras

+

Cheap for a foldable

+

More compact design

Reasons to avoid

-

Flex window uses mostly widgets only

-

Weak battery life

-

Expensive compared to other small phones

One of the best ways to make a phone small is to give it the ability to fold in half. Which is why despite containing a 6.7-inch display, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is one of the best small phones.

Even better than that, the new Flex Window on the outside is much more usable than the old external display on the Galaxy Z Fold 4. There's not a lot of full app support for it, but you can still swipe through many different widgets that may help you find what you need without having to open up the phone.

Beyond this, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset provides great performance, the cameras perform just as well as you'd hope from a flagship Samsung phone, and the new design now folds more tightly together for a more compact overall design.

The main problem we have is the expense of this phone, with the basic version starting at $999. We're also a bit concerned with how short the battery life can be, but these are understandable sacrifices for a foldable.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review

The best small flagship phone

4. iPhone 15 Pro

The best small flagship phone

Specifications

Display: 6.1-inch OLED (2556 x 1179), 1 - 120Hz

CPU: A17 Pro

RAM: 8GB

Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB / No

Rear camera: 48MP main (f/1.8), 12MP ultrawide (f/2.2), 12MP 3x optical telephoto (f/2.8)

Front camera: 12MP (f/1.9)

Weight: 6.6 ounces

Reasons to buy

+

Amazing performance

+

Light titanium design with Action button

+

Top-quality photography

Reasons to avoid

-

On the large side for a small phone

-

More expensive than most on this list

The iPhone 15 Pro is one of the largest phones on this list despite still being small for a modern flagship. But if you forgive it being a little taller and wider than the other phones on this list, you'll get in return one of the best phones on the market.

Apple's equipped the iPhone 15 Pro with amazing cameras as usual, and a super-powered A17 Pro chip that'll eat up even the most demanding apps. It's also surprisingly light thanks to its titanium body, and features a customizable Action button on its left side for muting the phone, using shortcuts and more.

The only other difficulty with this phone you'll need to accept is that it's quite expensive. You definitely won't be wasting your money if you do decide to splash out on this as your new small phone though.

Read our full iPhone 15 Pro review.

The best small budget phone

Best small phones 2024 (13)Best small phones 2024 (14)

5. iPhone SE (2022)

A powerful and compact phone

Specifications

Display: 4.7-inch LCD (1344 x 750)

CPU: A15 Bionic

RAM: 4GB

Storage / Expandable: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB / No

Rear camera: 12MP (f/1.8)

Front camera: 7MP (f/2.2)

Weight: 5 ounces

Reasons to buy

+

Fastest performance for the money

+

Very good photo quality

+

More durable design

Reasons to avoid

-

No Night mode for camera

-

No mmWave 5G support

Apple seems to be the last bastion of small phones, we're sad to say. The recent iPhone 13 mini and now the new iPhone SE (2022) both keep the screen size well under six inches. In the SE’s case, it’s a teeny 4.7-inch LCD. We don't think it's the prettiest, nor does it have a high resolution, but it fits in small hands and pockets.

It’s also no slouch when it comes to the performance department. Using the same A15 Bionic chip that powers the iPhone 13 series, you’ll not find any phone that is faster under $500 — even the most expensive Android phones have a hard time keeping up in some places.

Of course, there’s no Night mode here, something the equally diminutive iPhone 13 mini has. The new SE also lacks support for Verizon’s mmWave 5G network. Again, the iPhone 13 mini enjoys that luxury. But for $429, you can’t have everything. If having the smallest phone is what you want, the iPhone SE (2022) should be one of your top considerations.

Read our full iPhone SE (2022) review.

A cheaper foldable option

Best small phones 2024 (15)

6. Nubia Flip 5G

A cheap flip-style foldable phone

Specifications

Displays: 6.9-inch FHD OLED (2790 x 1188) inner; 1.43-inch diameter OLED (466 x 466) outer

CPU: Snapdragon 7 Gen 1

RAM: 8GB/12GB

Storage: 256GB/512GB

Rear cameras: 50MP main, 2MP depth

Front camera: 16MP selfie

Weight: 7.35 ounces (208 grams)

Reasons to buy

+

A foldable for under $500

+

33W charging is surprisingly quick

+

Unique circular outer screen

Reasons to avoid

-

Limited cameras

-

Slower chip

-

Android updates could be limited

The second foldable on this list, the Nubia Flip 5G does what the Galaxy Z Flip does by folding conveniently in two when not needed. Except it does it for half the price.

With effectively only one rear camera, a low-tier chipset and an uncertain future when it comes to Android updates, you need to be confident you want this particular phone. If being small's the priority though, this is a very cost-effective way to go about it.

Plus there are benefits to the Nubia beyond its flexible display and low price. Its battery is larger than equivalent folding phones, and fills up fast with its included charger. Also the outer display is quite usable thanks to a number of widgets and the ability to display upside-down when needed, letting you check your notifications more easily from different angles.

There are more complete phones on this list, but the fun-per-dollar of the Nubia Flip 5G's unrivalled.

Read our full Nubia Flip 5G review.

How to choose the best small phone for you

You usually have to sacrifice something when buying a small phone. Of course, screen real estate is part of the tradeoff; but small phones also have smaller batteries, and sometimes less RAM or fewer camera lenses than larger, more expensive versions of the same device.

If you prioritize a compact form factor over all else — and you probably do if you're reading this page — these tradeoffs will likely be well worth it. Apple and Google are featured prominently on our list of the best small phones because they don't eliminate critical features from more compact handsets. That's illustrated by the fact that the iPhone 13 mini packs the same punch as the iPhone 13 Pro Max. Or how the new iPhone SE (2022) utilizes the same A15 Bionic chipset found in those more premium iPhone 13 models.

But the biggest challenge you might face when shopping for the best small phone is just how little choice there is. Smartphone shoppers favor bigger screens and that's where most device makers are putting their efforts these days.

How we test smartphones

In order for a smartphone to make our best phone list, it needs to excel on several tests that we run on every handset. We perform some of these tests in our labs and some in the real world.

When it comes to performance, we rely on such synthetic benchmarks as Geekbench 5 and 3DMark to measure graphics performance. These tests allow us to compare performance across iPhones and Android devices. We also run a real-world video transcoding test on each phone using the Adobe Premiere Rush app and time the result. (We unfortunately have to skip this test on some phones due to app compatibility issues, but we attempt this benchmark with each device we get in to review.)

Swipe to scroll horizontally

Performance benchmarks
Row 0 - Cell 0 Geekbench 5 (single-core / multicore)3DMark Wild Life Unlimited (FPS)
iPhone 13 mini1733 / 464361
Zenfone 101451 / 502784
Galaxy Z Flip 51354 / 428876
iPhone 15 ProNot tested94
iPhone SE (2022)1718 / 448250
Nubia Flip 5GNot testedNot tested

To measure the quality of a phone's display, we perform lab tests to determine the brightness of the panel (in nits), as well as how colorful each screen is (DCI-P3 color gamut). In these cases, higher numbers are better. We also measure color accuracy of each panel with a Delta-E rating, where lower numbers are better and score of 0 is perfect.

Swipe to scroll horizontally

Display benchmarks
Row 0 - Cell 0 sRGB (%)DCI-P3 (%)Delta-E
iPhone 13 mini117830.27
Zenfone 10148 (Optimal) / 175 (Natural)105 (Optimal) / 124 (Natural)0.35 (Optimal) / 0.39 (Natural)
Galaxy Z Flip 5181.6 (Vivid) / 114 (Natural)128 (Vivid) / 80 (Natural)0.08 (Vivid) / 0.28 (Natural)
iPhone 15 Pro11783.50.14
iPhone SE (2022)115810.21
Nubia Flip 5GNot testedNot testedNot tested

One of the most important tests we run is the Tom's Guide battery test. We run a web surfing test over 5G (or 4G if the phone doesn't have 5G support) at 150 nits of screen brightness until the battery gives out. In general, a phone that lasts 10 hours or more is good, and anything above 11 hours makes our list of thebest phone battery life.

Swipe to scroll horizontally

Battery life benchmark
Row 0 - Cell 0 Battery life (Hrs:Mins)
iPhone 13 mini8:54
Zenfone 1012:41 (auto), 12:48 (120Hz), 11:21 (90Hz), 13:10 (60Hz)
Galaxy Z Flip 59:42 (Adaptive), 8:52 (60Hz)
iPhone 15 Pro10:53
iPhone SE (2022)7:39
Nubia Flip 5GNot tested

Last but not least, we take the best phones out in the field to take photos outdoors, indoors and at night in low light to see how they perform versus their closest competitors. We take shots of landscapes, food, portraits and more, and also allow you to be the judge with side-by-side comparisons in our reviews.

Sign up to get the BEST of Tom’s Guide direct to your inbox.

Upgrade your life with a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and our curated analysis. Be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets and the hottest deals.

Best small phones 2024 (16)

Richard Priday

Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.

See more Phones Best Picks

More about phones

The Galaxy Z Flip 6 will get an AMOLED cover display after all — here’s what we knowNothing sub-brand CMF announces shockingly cheap products — $200 phone among them

Latest

What is the biggest mattress size and where can you buy it online?
See more latest►

1 CommentComment from the forums

  • k0pernikus

    This article is rather pointless and disappointing due to its "under 6 inches" criteria. In which world are 5 inch smartphones considered small? I'm looking for a phone in the 3.5 to 5 inch range that still packs a punch. I'm not looking to buy something cheap.

    Seems to be a true unicorn, it just doesn't exist.

    It appears the smartphone market is completely broken for people with small hands and somehow phablets have become the norm.

    Reply

Most Popular
Best projectors in 2024: the best long throw and laser projectors
5 best streaming services you've never heard of
The best Apple Vision Pro alternatives in 2024
Best Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus cases in 2024
Best Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra cases in 2024
Best Samsung Galaxy S24 cases in 2024
Best phone controllers 2024: take your mobile gaming to the next level
Best cycling indoor trainers 2024
The best VPN for Myanmar
Best Wi-Fi 7 routers of 2024: The future of Wi-Fi is here
Best Skechers shoes in 2024
Best small phones 2024 (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Barbera Armstrong

Last Updated:

Views: 6313

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Barbera Armstrong

Birthday: 1992-09-12

Address: Suite 993 99852 Daugherty Causeway, Ritchiehaven, VT 49630

Phone: +5026838435397

Job: National Engineer

Hobby: Listening to music, Board games, Photography, Ice skating, LARPing, Kite flying, Rugby

Introduction: My name is Barbera Armstrong, I am a lovely, delightful, cooperative, funny, enchanting, vivacious, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.