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To help you find the best small phones for portability and ease of use today, we first identified 20 different products and then analyzed their spec sheets and customer reviews to narrow them down to the top 10 picks. As we went through this process, we identified three key features that every prospective buyer should consider with small smartphones. First, look for a phone under six inches in size. Next, consider options that don’t sacrifice processing power and design quality to achieve such a small size. Finally, look for durable small phones that can handle a drop or two with no problem.
As we considered these features, it was easy to select the iPhone 12 Mini as our top pick for the best small phones category. Keep reading below to learn more about this Apple smartphone and the other best smartphone options available today.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This premium smartphone is a return to the earlier days of Apple smartphones when screen sizes were smaller and one-handed operation was much more achievable. In spite of its smaller size, the phone still features Apple’s super-fast A14 Bionic processor and a high-resolution display.
The Apple iPhone 12 Mini is the best 5.5-inch smartphone available today, and it’s easy to see why. Even though it’s smaller than the options in the main iPhone line, it still maintains its dedication to the seamless Apple ecosystem and user-friendliness. The iPhone 12 Mini is designed well inside and out. From its bright OLED display to its IP68 water and dust resistance, this iPhone 12 Mini will last you a long time. You’ll also get MagSafe wireless charging and compatibility with MagSafe accessories. Better than all of that, though, is the fact that the iPhone 12 mini features Apple’s fastest processor to date, the A14 Bionic processor.
You’ll also get the same cameras as the larger and more expensive iPhones, which is a huge plus. This means you get a high-quality rear camera that features amazing low-light performance and 4K video recording capabilities, making it one of the best low light camera phones on our list. Of course, since this iPhone 12 Mini is smaller, you won’t get as large a battery life as other iPhones. However, it should still last you a full day’s worth of use. Also be aware that the iPhone 12 Mini starts at a baseline of 64GB of internal storage, instead of the 128GB that you see in the larger screen phones.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This compact smartphone earns the Honorable Mention award because of its streamlined user interface, extra-smooth motion handling in the display, and 5G network compatibility. It’s also extra durable with Corning Gorilla Glass 6 and an IP68 water-resistant rating.
The Google Pixel 5 offers simplicity and performance in an affordable package, which is a breath of fresh air for what is a company’s flagship phone. For starters, this is one of the better slim and small mobile phones available today, and you needn’t worry that its slim design causes greater weakness. In fact, the opposite is true. The premium Pixel 5 phone features extra-tough Gorilla Glass 6 plus IP68 water and dust resistance. Its utilitarian design helps to prevent damage from drops and bumps. Some may consider the design to be boring, but there’s a certain appeal to simplicity.
This affordable smartphone also offers a lot of performance in its smaller package. While the Snapdragon 765G processor is technically a slower processor than you’ll find in other flagship phones, it actually does well with the slimmer operating system found here. This simple OS also lends itself to easier one-handed use. The camera on the Google Pixel 5 is also something to be applauded. This is one of the best dual-camera systems available today and gives you excellent shots no matter what light conditions are available to you. Even more impressive is the inclusion of 5G connectivity and reverse wireless charging capabilities, making it one of the best 5G phones on our list.
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: This flagship smartphone offers tons of power and functionality in its compact housing. With a stunning display, cutting-edge camera, and 5G compatibility, this small phone will give you premium functionality without the premium price point.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 is the baseline model of the S20 flagship phone line, but that doesn’t mean it loses out on all of the cutting-edge functionality. Yes, there are some tradeoffs here, especially when compared to the S20 Plus and S20 Ultra, but only when it comes to bells and whistles. At its base function, the Galaxy S20 is still fast and versatile. With its octa-core top end Snapdragon 865 chipset, you’ll have a smooth and extra-responsive experience for any application you use, including mobile games. We were also impressed with how easy it was to use the Galaxy S20 one-handed.
The S20’s design is also worth mentioning. It looks and feels exactly like a high-end, premium smartphone. The display offers Quad HD+ resolution, at a 3200 x 1400 pixel resolution and high pixel density. This display is one of the best you’ll find in compact Android phones. Plus, the display is made from Gorilla Glass 6 for added durability. You’ll also get IP68 water and dust resistance. You’ll also be impressed with the S20’s camera. It offers a triple-lens array that contains a standard lens, telephoto lens, and ultra-wide-angle lens. You’ll be able to get amazingly detailed and crisp pictures and videos from this camera. If you’re looking for one of the best phones for vlogging in a small package, this one’s for you.
Award: BEST DISPLAY
WHY WE LIKE IT: While not the latest Samsung compact flagship phone, this compact option still provides a ton of current-gen power and functionality that work well even in the shadow of newer phones. It’s also very affordable, making it a great choice for budget-minded shoppers.
The Samsung Galaxy S10e is last year’s flagship phone from tech giant Samsung, but that doesn’t mean it suffers from outdated technology and performance. For starters, the Galaxy S10 series features a fast Snapdragon 855 chipset that creates a responsive and user-friendly experience. This processor also aids in smoother gameplay and faster app response times. You’ll also get a number of other premium features here, including an impressive camera system. With it, you’ll be able to take high-quality photos and videos with ease.
Related: Also check out the best selfie camera phones.
We were most impressed by the Samsung Galaxy S10e’s display though. This stunning display is close to our size limit at 5.8 inches, but it was too good not to include in this guide. The AMOLED display is bright and colorful, with 2280 x 1080 pixels of resolution and a nearly edge-to-edge viewing area with slim bezels. Plus with Gorilla Glass 5, you also get a durable screen that is more resistant to damage from drops and bumps, much like with the best rugged phones. We were also impressed by the S10e’s inclusion of wireless power-sharing and a fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone, although it is placed a little awkwardly, especially for those with smaller hands.
Award: BEST DURABILITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: This small phone is one of the smallest options you can buy today, measuring in at just 2.45 inches for the display. However, it’s incredibly rugged with a rubberized plastic casing and IP68 certification.
The Unihertz Atom takes the words “small” and “portable” to the next level. The screen size on this ultra-compact phone measures in at a mere 2.45 inches and the overall phone size measures in at just 3.8 x 1.77 x 0.74 inches. To say this phone can go anywhere with you is the understatement of the century. Plus, with its extra-rugged design, you won’t have to worry about it getting ruined from a drop or bump. The Atom features a tough external casing made from rubberized plastic, a screen made from Gorilla Glass 3, and IP68 certification for a water and dust resistant design. You can put this phone through a beating, and it will still be working at the end of the day.
Of course, you may expect some performance hiccups in such a small size. But yes, while the phone doesn’t have the flashiest chipset around, it actually performs surprisingly. The user interface is slick and responds to touch commands with ease. You won’t be playing processor-heavy games on this phone, but you wouldn’t want to anyway with such a small screen. You’ll also get an impressive 64GB of internal storage space with the Unihertz Atom, but sadly no option to expand the storage past this. The Atom’s battery can also last all day long, which in another great bonus that goes against what you might expect from a phone with an extra-small battery. All in all, if you need a truly small Android phone, you cannot go wrong with the Unihertz Atom. It’s one of the best cell phones for seniors on the list.
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Award: BEST EASE OF USE
WHY WE LIKE IT: This compact Apple smartphone is an excellent choice for users who want a good mid-range, modern phone that doesn’t take up too much space in their pants pockets or bags. It provides the best features from Apple’s lineup like a high-resolution display, excellent camera, and overall user-friendly operating system.
The iPhone SE is a safe choice when it comes to the iPhone ecosystem. You won’t pay too much for it, but you’ll still get a good amount of the features that make all iPhones great. For starters, the iPhone SE features Apple’s A13 Bionic processor, which is one of the company’s fastest options. This chipset provides an incredibly smooth and reliable user experience across the board with the SE. You’ll be able to play games, text, call, and stream your favorite content while rarely experiencing any freezing or lag. Plus, the SE’s display is an extra-bright OLED display with stunning colors and detail.
The iPhone SE also features many of the same premium camera functionalities as you see in the more expensive iPhone models. While it’s not a triple camera setup, the single camera still offers 12 megapixels of still image quality and 4K video recording capabilities. Plus, you’ll still get the truly innovative Night Mode, which takes amazing photos in low-light environments. Of course, the iPhone SE also gives you access to the broader Apple ecosystem, so if you have other mobile Apple devices, this is a no-brainer choice. It’s also great if you’re looking for the best phones for kids.
Award: BEST ALL-DAY USE
WHY WE LIKE IT: With all-day battery life, simple design, and high-quality screen, this compact smartphone feels like a premium option without a large price range. It also features an amazing camera that takes stunning photos with minimal effort.
The Google Pixel 4a provides the best of both worlds when it comes to affordability and performance. From the second you first unbox the phone and hold it in your hand, you’ll notice how good it feels, even in spite of its simpler design. In fact, the 4a’s overly simple design actually leads to a higher level of design aesthetic that many flagship phones today lack. The lack of glossy backs and curved displays actually makes the Android device easier to hold and use with one hand, which is increasingly important for the best small smartphones.
In spite of its smaller design, the Google Pixel 4a still performs really well overall. It features a Snapdragon 730G processor with 6GB of RAM, which doesn’t seem like much on paper. However, Google has created a barebones version of the Android operating system that doesn’t require much processing power to run. As a result, the Pixel 4a is mostly free from annoying lag or freezing. On top of this, you’ll also get stellar display quality that looks like it doesn’t belong on such an affordable device, as well as a really great camera to unlock your internal photographer. Be aware that the Pixel 4a’s affordable does mean that you’ll miss out on some premium design qualities – like water resistance and wireless charging – but thesetrade-offs that are well worth it in the end. No need for the best portable chargers with this one!
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you need a small smartphone but don’t want to pay a lot for it, don’t look any further than this option. With all-day battery life, respectable performance, and a durable polycarbonate shell, this compact phone is an excellent choice.
The Moto G7 Play is perfect for all ages and all budgets. While it doesn’t offer the fastest or most modern smartphone technology, it instead focuses on long-lasting, reliable performance. For starters, the G7 Play features an amazing battery life. It’s only got a 3000 mAh battery, but when paired with this phone, you’ll get all-day performance with average use throughout the day. You can even stretch the battery into a second day with minimal use.
The Moto G7 Play also gives you a solid HD+ display that works well in most situations. And its Snapdragon 632 octa-core processor is fast enough to handle most games and other applications. The overall build quality here is worth mentioning, as well. The Moto G7 Play features a durable polycarbonate shell that can withstand most rough situations. We do wish this budget phone had a better onboard camera, but you’ll still be able to get decent shots with some additional attention to detail and subject matter. Despite its size, it’s one of the best gaming phones on the list.
Award: BEST EXPANDABLE STORAGE
WHY WE LIKE IT: This small phone is affordable while still offering a premium build quality with a fingerprint sensor, bright display, and Gorilla Glass protection. It also features expandable storage options via a microSD card slot, which is a rare find in today’s world of increasingly slimmer smartphones.
The Nokia 5.1 Plus smartphone offers 5.5 inches of IPS display and FHD+ resolution. Make no mistake, this is an affordable compact smartphone, but it doesn’t sacrifice too much in the way of display quality. You’ll get a bright and colorful display that looks good with games and other media. Even better is the fact that the display features Gorilla Glass for more durability. We were also impressed with the overall form factor and design quality that Nokia brings to the table with this phone. It features a premium metal body, which is also durable in its own right, and easy one-handed operation.
Other features worth mentioning here are the included fingerprint scanner, which works well overall. It also features 32GB of onboard storage, with the option of adding an additional 400GB of storage via the use of a microSD card. Expandable storage like this is becoming rarer as smartphones become slimmer with bigger battery packs, so this is definitely a nice feature to have. The phone also features a decent processor, but the user interface does lag on occasion. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen enough to become annoying. Rethinking the small size? Check out our best large screen phones buying guide.
Award: BEST FOR ONE-HANDED OPERATION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This tiny smartphone’s display is only 3.3 inches in size, creating an ultra-compact experience that is meant to help minimize the distraction of a phone in your life. The mobile device is built well and fits snugly in your hand for easier one-handed use.
The Palm Phone PVG100 is one of the smallest Android phones available today. With a display size of just 3.3 inches diagonal, this tiny device can fit in virtually any pocket or bag without taking up any space. Surprisingly, the extra-small display is still sharp and detailed, even in spite of its 720p resolution. We were also surprised at the overall build quality here. The Palm Phone is built well and feels like it offers premium quality. While it’s not the most durable phone in the world, it should be able to take a bump or two with no problem.
The purpose of this phone is to minimize the amount of time you spend on your phone throughout the day, and it does its job well. There’s a certain amount of difficulty using such a small phone, and you’ll find yourself only doing what you need and then putting it away once you’re done. Plus, with the included Life Mode, you can minimize distractions even more, which is a helpful addition. Unfortunately, the Palm Phone’s processor isn’t the greatest, so you may experience some lag during use, but it never becomes an obstruction. If you’re an international traveler, you might also be interested in our best dual-SIM phones buying guide.
As we researched and ranked the best small phones available in today’s market, we first considered screen size and quality. In this guide, we only included phones with screen sizes of six inches or fewer. We gave preference to smaller screen sizes since there was once a time when six inches was considered very large in the cell phone industry. We also ranked phones higher if they created smaller display sizes without sacrificing display quality. We preferred phones with at least full HD resolution and awarded bonus points for higher resolutions. However, we did still include phones with resolutions less than full HD.
Next, we considered each of the different phones’ design and build qualities. The best compact smartphone is also durable enough to withstand most bumps and falls unless they come from very tall heights. We awarded phones with bonus points if they included screens and outer casings made from extra-durable materials.
Finally, we looked at the overall ease of use for each of the phones included here. We preferred compact phones that were easy to use with a single hand, both with their physical buttons and operating system software. We ranked phones higher if their user interfaces operated smoothly without lagging or freezing.