Our Experts Have Tested 42 Products in the Mobile Phones Category This Year
Since 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions.See how we test.(Opens in a new window)
Smartphones have been slowly expanding in size, and we're now at the point where the majority are difficult to use with just one hand. Flagships are huge: Apple and Samsung reserve their best cameras, biggest batteries, and most capacious storage for the 3-inch-wide, hand-buster phones in their Max and Ultra models, respectively. But it's still possible to find small, good phones that fit in your hand, give you all the features you want, and generally don't break the bank.
With that in mind, these are the best small phones we've tested.
The Best Phone Deals This Week*
- Samsung Galaxy S23 128GB Unlocked Phone (Black)(Opens in a new window) — $699.99(List Price $799.99)
- Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra WQHD+ 128GB Unlocked Phone(Opens in a new window) — $799.99(List Price $1,199.99)
- Apple iPhone 13 128GB Unlocked Phone (Renewed)(Opens in a new window) — $668.00(List Price $699)
- Moto G Power 128GB Unlocked Phone (Ice Blue)(Opens in a new window) — $139.99 (List Price $249.99)
- Moto G Stylus 128GB Unlocked Phone (Twilight Blue)(Opens in a new window) — $169.99(List Price $299.99)
*Deals are selected by our commerce team
Deeper Dive: Our Top Tested Picks
Apple iPhone 13 mini
Best Small iPhone
The iPhone 13 mini is Apple's most affordable and pocket-friendly flagship, but you'll probably want to spend an extra $100 on the larger iPhone 13 for better battery life.
- Most powerful small smartphone
- Beautiful build
- Better battery life than iPhone 12 mini
- Shortest battery life of iPhone 13 family
GET IT NOW
Apple iPhone 13 mini Review
Samsung Galaxy S23
Best Small Android Phone
Premium specs, good battery life, and an above-average camera make the Samsung Galaxy S23 one of the best compact Android phones you can buy.
- Pocket-friendly size
- Strong performance
- Good battery life
- Respectable cameras
- Reasonable price
- Slower charging than S23+ and S23 Ultra
- No ultra-wideband (UWB) support
GET IT NOW
Samsung Galaxy S23 Review
Apple iPhone SE (2022)
Most Affordable Small iPhone
While it isn't quite the revelation its predecessor was, Apple's 2022 iPhone SE is a solid small phone that should remain relevant for years to come.
- Most affordable new iPhone
- Speedy performance
- Supports T-Mobile and Verizon mid-band 5G
- Longer battery life than the previous model
- Outdated body design
- No Night mode in camera
- Lacks support for AT&T's 3.45GHz mid-band 5G
- Shortest battery life of any current iPhone model
GET IT NOW
Apple iPhone SE (2022) Review
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
Best Folding Phone
Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip 4 feels as premium as ever, and its all-important-yet-diminutive front screen keeps you focused on the world around you.
- Standout design
- Better battery life than previous model
- Excellent cellular reception
- Useful front screen
- Less-capable cameras than other premium phones
- Gaming performance throttles quickly
GET IT NOW
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 Review
Unihertz Titan Pocket
Best One-Handed Keyboard
The Unihertz Titan Pocket brings back the handheld QWERTY phone with modern software and 4G connectivity.
- Unique design
- Dual-SIM and compatible with all carriers
- Good performance for the price
- Small 1:1 screen isn't great for all apps
- Lacks some speed and coverage bands
- Terrible cameras
GET IT NOW
Unihertz Titan Pocket Review
Nokia 2780 Flip
Best Inexpensive Flip Phone
The Nokia 2780 Flip is a voice-first phone that offers crystal-clear calls in a familiar clamshell design.
- Good call quality
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- FM radio
- Operating system is a bit clunky
- Group texting could be better
- Several key apps are missing
- Middling battery life
GET IT NOW
Nokia 2780 Flip Review
Buying Guide: The Best Small Phones for 2023
How Big Is Too Big?
Smartphones have increased in size, but our hands haven't. Back when LG launched its G2 smartphone, the company said that most people can comfortably hold a phone as wide as 2.8 inches. That might be why the base size for Samsung's flagship S phone models has hovered between 2.7 and 2.8 inches since the Galaxy S3. Apple has had a 2.65-inch-wide option since the iPhone 6. (For a while, Samsung also had a "Mini" phone line, but it was rarely for sale in the US.)
Left to right: iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13(Credit: Molly Flores)
Palm breadth tells you how wide a phone can be before it falls out of your hand; thumb length tells you how wide a screen can be and still be usable in one hand. According to an old NASA study(Opens in a new window) cited by HealthLine(Opens in a new window), the average handbreadth is 3.1 inches for women and 3.5 inches for men. The Center for Construction Research and Training estimates are a bit lower(Opens in a new window): 2.91 inches for women and 3.3 inches for men. A 2012 New York Magazine story cites a US Army study(Opens in a new window) that claims the average thumb length is 2.74 inches for men and 2.49 inches for women. So, that 2.8-inch phone width from LG is just a hair wider than the full reach of the average male thumb.
We've used the 2.8-inch-wide measure as the maximum width for phones to be eligible for this roundup, but it’s getting harder and harder to find phones that meet this requirement. Many people might still find these phones to be a bit wide for one-hand use, but small phone beggars can't currently be choosers, and a couple of phones on the list are just a hair over the 2.8-inch mark.
Why Are Phones Getting Bigger?
The push toward mobile internet and video consumption originally drove the growth of phone screens. With phones becoming people's primary windows to the internet and video streaming apps becoming hugely popular, bigger screens became more compelling than smaller ones.
The Galaxy S23 (right) is more easily pocketable than the Galaxy S23+ (middle) and the Galaxy S23 Ultra (left)(Credit: Eric Zeman)
When the physical size of hands stopped manufacturers from making phones wider, they still went taller, pushing the screen height-to-width ratio from the common 16:9 to 19:9 or 19.5:9. Sony has gone as far as 21:9, making very tall, narrow phones that beautifully display 21:9 video originally intended for wide-screen TVs. If you care about "small" only in the sense of reaching across your phone, one of those phones might be a good option.
People like bigger batteries, too, and the easiest way to pack in a bigger battery is to make the phone bigger. Unlike other technologies, battery capacity has been extremely resistant to technological improvement—try to get too smart at squeezing more battery into a smaller space, and you end up with a problem.
Finally, phone makers want to charge more. There's a deep theme in the American consumer culture that bigger is better and is worth more: bigger cars, bigger houses, bigger TVs, and bigger phones. It's been difficult for phone makers to convince consumers that something small is still valuable.
In 2020, there was a little bit of a reversal. Apple, Google, and Samsung all came out with smaller, less expensive (and slightly de-featured) versions of their flagship phones. In pandemic times when we were all pinching pennies, those trade-offs were more appealing than they might have been before. This short-lived trend has since reversed again.
A few companies specialize in smaller devices. Unihertz is the best of them, churning out a string of affordable, decently performing, and absolutely tiny phones that push the limits of how small a phone can get and still have a usable touch keyboard.
Recommended by Our Editors
The Best Phones With a Headphone Jack
What Is 5G?
The Best Cheap Phone Plans for 2023
If you're looking for a small phone because you find big screens distracting or exhausting, small voice phones are worth considering. The Nokia 2780 Flip is a tiny and inexpensive flip phone that's still functional. These little flip phones fit just as well in your hand now as their ancestors did in 2006.
The Future of Small Smartphones
Alas, it looks like small smartphones will remain a niche market. The iPhone 12 mini was the worst-selling device(Opens in a new window) in Apple's iPhone 12 lineup. Apple kept the faith with the iPhone 13 mini and the iPhone SE, but sadly, the company didn't release an iPhone 14 mini. Asus, Samsung, and Sony are all keeping smaller premium devices in their lineups, however.
Still thinking big? Check out our roundup of the best phones overall.
- Palm Phone. Palm.
- Unihertz Atom. Unihertz. ...
- Cubot Pocket. Cubot. ...
- Apple iPhone 13 Mini. Karlis Dambrans/Shutterstock. ...
- Apple iPhone SE (2022) Framesira/Shutterstock. ...
- Asus ZenFone 9. Mr.Mikla/Shutterstock. ...
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4. AronX/Shutterstock. ...
- Nokia 2720 V Flip. Nokia. ...
- Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max. Best iPhone Overall. ...
- Google Pixel 7. Best Midrange Android Phone. ...
- Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Best for Artists and Photographers. ...
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. Best Folding Phone. ...
- Apple iPhone 14. Best iPhone for Most People. ...
- Motorola Moto G Power (2022) ...
- Samsung Galaxy S23+ ...
- Sunbeam F1.
It's already been a busy year for smartphone launches. Samsung kicked off 2023 with the Galaxy S23 lineup, and Google introduced the Pixel 7A and Pixel Fold at its developer conference in May.Which Samsung phone is the smallest in size? ›
Alongside the biggest phone, Samsung also launched Galaxy Z Flip4 in August 2022, the smallest Samsung phone measuring in at only 3.3-inches by 2.8-inches when folded shut.What is the smallest 5G phone? ›
The Nubia Mini 5G was announced at the company's press conference the other day, and it's the world's smallest 5G smartphone. It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 paired with a Snapdragon X50 modem and 6GB of RAM.What new phones are small? ›
- Apple iPhone 13 mini.
- Google Pixel 6a.
- Asus Zenfone 9.
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4.
- Sony Xperia 5 IV.
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G.
- iPhone 12 mini.
- Apple iPhone 14 Pro.
- Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Best Android phone overall. View now.
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. Best foldable Android phone. View now.
- Asus Zenfone 9. Best compact Android phone. ...
- Google Pixel 7 Pro. Best camera Android phone. ...
- OnePlus 11. Best fast-charging Android phone.
In general, the average lifespan of a smartphone is 2 to 4 years. According to reports, the iPhone lasts 4-10 years, followed by Samsung units, which can last 3-6 years. Huawei and Xiaomi units have an average lifespan of 2-4 years, while OPPO units have 2-3 years.What is the best time to buy phone? ›
The optimum time to get a new phone is around a month before the most recent model is released because that is typically the time when merchants start to give discounts to get rid of their stock. Right after the new phone reaches the market, discounts are frequently offered, sometimes even higher ones.What Samsung phones are coming out in 2023? ›
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5.
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5.
- Samsung Galaxy A54.
- Samsung Galaxy F44.
- Samsung Galaxy S22 FE.
- Samsung Galaxy M54.
- Samsung Galaxy A92.
- Samsung Galaxy A23e.
Rumored Apple® iPhone 15
This upcoming Apple® iPhone is due to launch in September 2023 and may even come with models like the Ultra or the Pro Max. Users are expecting to see 8K video recording, a periscope zoom camera and 10x optical zoom to compete with the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
The Galaxy S23 has all three cameras – primary, telephoto, and ultrawide. You don't miss out on the camera flexibility. It's obviously not as powerful as the Galaxy S23 Ultra, but it's the most versatile camera on a small phone in 2023.Will phones get smaller again? ›
The 2020s are not shaping up to be a golden era for small phones and the people who love using them. Phone makers continue to crank out handsets with screens that are 6 inches or larger, while the number of available compact devices seems to shrink every year.Why don t they make small phones anymore? ›
Bigger phones mean bigger revenue
As the market has become saturated, Apple and Android OEMs are seeing slower smartphone sales growth—and people are upgrading less frequently for various reasons, too. This makes the economics of selling low-cost smartphones more unfavorable than they have been in the past.
Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G (Jazz Blue 6GB RAM 128 GB Storage) | Slimmest (6.81mm) & Lightest (158g) 5G Smartphone | 10-bit AMOLED with Dolby Vision | SD 778 with 12 5G Bands. In stock. In stock.Which phones will no longer work with 5G? ›
Among iPhones, only iPhone 12 and the later models like iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max support 5G. So, if your iPhone is older than iPhone 12, it won't support 5G. All of these models are built with the Apple A14 Bionic processor.What is the smallest phone with 4G network? ›
Unihertz Jelly Pro, The Smallest 4G Smartphone in The World, Android 7.0 Nougat Unlocked Smart Phone with 2GB RAM and 16GB ROM, Space Black.What is the smallest iPhone in 2023? ›
Apple iPhone 13 Mini
Its 5.4-inch display makes it a fair bit smaller than any in the iPhone 14 range, and actually qualifies it as the physically smallest phone Apple makes. Sure, the iPhone SE 2022 has a smaller display, but it has large bezels around the edges, which makes the whole phone slightly larger.
Doro 8050: Best simple smartphone for ease of use
The Doro 8050 uses the Android operating system, meaning you can download apps from the Google Play Store if you want to. The phone includes a very simple and straightforward setup process, and Doro's action-based interface is big, bold and easy to navigate.
Unihertz Jelly Star: Smallest Android 13 smartphone arrives with performance. The Unihertz Jelly Star is an Android 13 smartphone that is only 95.1 mm tall and 49.6 mm wide.
Best premium Android phone: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
It has a huge 6.8-inch OLED display with a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, a total of five cameras (main, ultra-wide, 3x zoom, 10x zoom and a selfie shooter) and a built-in S Pen for drawing and note-taking.
The Galaxy S24 Plus and Galaxy S24 will be Samsung's "regular" flagships for the first half of 2024, which will take the reins from the Galaxy S23 series as the main heavy-hitters in the giant's portfolio.Which phones last longer iPhones or androids? ›
When it comes to the lifespan of a phone, Apple has always been the clear winner. And by lifespan, I'm talking about software and security updates.What is the most reliable phone brand? ›
Most reliable mobile phone brands
Looking at the above factors as an average across each brand, Google Pixels are the most reliable smartphones. The main reason for this is that they come with a two-year warranty, unlike Apple and Samsung phones, which come with one-year warranties.
iOS. Generally, most iPhone devices will receive system and security updates for five to seven years after releasing. Android devices have a much shorter period, only receiving these updates for 2-3 years after the release of a device.How often should you buy a new phone? ›
Upgrading Your Phone Every Three Years
Most people upgrade their phones every two to three years. By then, the battery starts to become bothersome and Android phones stop receiving updates. It's also usually enough time for tech companies to introduce some new features you might want on your next phone.
- iPhone 13. ...
- iPhone 14 Pro Max. ...
- Nokia G400 5G is designed to deliver the best optimized 5G experience,... ...
- Unfold a world of possibilities with Galaxy Z Fold4. ...
- Introducing Pixel 7 Pro, Google's best-of-everything phone. ...
- Meet Pixel 6a, the more affordable Google phone that adapts to you....
- Our pick. Google Pixel 7. Best Android smartphone. ...
- Upgrade pick. Google Pixel 7 Pro. A more powerful Android phone. ...
- Budget pick. Google Pixel 7a. A less expensive Android phone. ...
- Also great. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. A no-compromises Android phone. ...
- Also great. Samsung Galaxy S23. A smaller Android phone.
How often you should get a new phone depends on your priorities. If you have the money and like to keep up-to-date, you might want to buy a new phone every two years. If you are more frugal, every five years should do it.How long before a phone is outdated? ›
The support cycle varies depending on the manufacturer and the range we find ourselves in. For example, in high-end devices, it is normal to find a minimum of two years of Android updates and three years of security updates.
- Battery Dies Quickly. All smartphone batteries die over time. ...
- Screen Isn't Working. ...
- Mic Isn't Working. ...
- Phone Moves Slowly. ...
- Buttons Stop Working. ...
- Apps Crash or Stop Working Altogether. ...
- Phone Heats up Rapidly. ...
- Phone Is Damaged.
The camera offering can differ wildly between the Galaxy S and Galaxy A collections. The Samsung Galaxy S series offers the best camera tech Samsung has to offer, split across high-res main, telephoto and ultrawide snappers, usually handling both well-lit and low-light environments with ease.Is Samsung A53 worth buying? ›
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is a good smartphone with a well thought-out feature set: few mid-range phones can offer an attractive design, 120 Hz AMOLED, a decent chipset and such a good camera selection. We also liked the battery life and speaker performance, as well as the fluidity of One UI.What will replace cell phones in the future? ›
Thanks to converging trends--among them 5G and AI in the cloud--the smartphone will spend the next decade acting more as a central hub before being replaced entirely by wearable screens, ubiquitous voice assistants, and ambient interfaces.What iPhone is smaller than mini? ›
The new iPhone SE is more or less the same size as the iPhone 13 mini, but it has a much smaller screen. While the iPhone 13 mini has a 5.4-inch display that takes up the entire front of the phone — it's an edge-to-edge screen — the iPhone SE has a 4.7-inch display with some pretty large bezels at its top and bottom.What sizes do phones come in? ›
- The screen size. An important part of the screen is the size. ...
- Small phones: 5.8 inches (14.7cm) or smaller. A small phone always fits easily in your hand or pocket. ...
- Average phones: 5.8 to 6.2 inches (14.7 to 15.7cm) ...
- Large phones: 6.2 to 6.4 inches (15.7 to 16.3cm) ...
- Very large phones: 6.4 inches (16.3cm) and larger.
The third-generation iPhone SE and the iPhone 13 mini are Apple's smallest iPhone options, starting at $429 and $599 respectively. Apple released the iPhone 13 mini in late 2021, and has bumped it down in price since then to make it more accessible as new iPhone models have been released.Will there be an iPhone 14 mini? ›
In a shocking development, it has been revealed that, after the popular iPhone 13 Mini, there will be no iPhone 14 mini! The beloved iPhone Mini model is set to be killed off from the upcoming Apple iPhone 14 lineup. The variant was first launched as the iPhone 12 mini.Which iPhone mini is best? ›
The iPhone 13 mini is the best iPhone for those who want a smaller device on Apple's iOS platform. In fact, it's arguably still the best small phone on the market. It's powerful, the camera is top-tier, and the battery life is better than that of the iPhone 12 mini.Which iPhone has 5.5 inch display? ›
5.5 inches: iPhone 8+ (2017), iPhone 7+ (2016), iPhone 6S+ (2015) 5.8 inches: iPhone 11 Pro (2019), iPhone XS (2018), iPhone X (2017) 6.06 inches: iPhone 13 (2021), iPhone 13 Pro (2021)
The idea of the perfect screen size for a smartphone keeps changing – which is to say that it keeps growing. Back in 2017 it was 5.2”, which grew to 6” in 2019, then in 2020 it was somewhere between 5.9” and 6.5” (leaning towards the lower end).What is the most common size of Android phone? ›
Of all app usage analyzed for this study, 41% of all sessions came from Android devices with 4.3 inch screens, by far the most popular size. 4 inch screens accounted for 22% of sessions, 3.2 inch screens for 11%, and 3.7 inch screens contributed 9%.What is the most popular mobile screen size? ›
- 1920×1080 (9.94%)
- 1366×768 (6.22%)
- 360×640 (5.88%)
- 414×896 (4.21%)
- 1536×864 (3.94%)
- 375×667 (3.74%)
Apple IPhone 12 Mini price in India starts at Rs. 69,900. The lowest price of Apple IPhone 12 Mini is Rs. 66,999 on amazon.in.Which iPhone 14 is smallest? ›
The iPhone 14 generally comes in two sizes. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro are the smaller versions, while the iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro Max are bigger.Is iPhone SE too small? ›
Display and Design
In an age where phones are getting bigger and bigger, the iPhone SE certainly looks and feels small. The 4.7-inch screen (measured diagonally) is just a tad bigger than a 3-by-5-inch index card. Some would say that's tiny and cramped. Others might call it compact and pocketable.
|Specification||Apple iPhone 14 Pro||Apple iPhone 14 Mini|
|Display||6.1 inches, 1179 x 2556 pixels, 120 Hz||5.42 inches, 1080 x 2340 pixels|
|CPU||3.46 GHz, Hexa Core Processor|
|Internal Memory||128 GB||128 GB|
Apple decided to discontinue the iPhone Mini models in 2022 with the iPhone 14 Plus, effectively replacing what would have been the iPhone 14 Mini.Will Apple make a small phone again? ›
No. While Apple released the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 13 mini respectively in 2020 and 2021, low sales allegedly made the company decide to scrap this size and focus on a Plus model, which is what we got in 2022 with the iPhone 14 Plus.