Update, May 2017: The Google Pixel is still the best small phone you can buy, if you can find it, so we've added the Moto G5 and Huawei P10 to the list to offer more choice.

Best Overall

Google Pixel

See at Verizon See at Google Store

Like the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S8, Google's Pixel comes in two sizes: Really Big and Just Right. The latter is the Google Pixel with a 5-inch Full HD display that fits comfortably in the palm of any hand.

The Pixel is packed with a Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB of RAM. It's available with up to 128GB of storage space. Its 2770mAh battery might not seem like much compared to other phones its size, but with its 1080p display and Nougat's revamped Doze mode, you'll likely be seeing a little bit more on-screen time than other devices in its class. The Pixel's 12-megapixel rear-facing camera is also still really impressive, even when compared to the abilities of the newer Galaxy S8.

Bottom line: If you're looking for Google's Android in a compact size, the Pixel is it.

One more thing: It's pretty difficult to find the Pixel right now, which Google is aware of. In the event you can't find stock, we heartily recommend the Galaxy S7.

Why the Google Pixel is the best

It's Google in a handheld smartphone.

Google's Nexus devices feel like a relic of the past compared to its new Pixel lineup. The 5-inch Pixel is a particularly attractive package for anyone looking for a premium Android experience without all the extra software fluff. And so what if it sort of looks like the iPhone? It also comes in a really attractive Really Blue color.

Its performance is impressive, too, especially for a stock Android device. Its rear-facing camera produces some impressive photos and you can easily back them up with unlimited Google Photo storage. What's more: Google Assistant baked into the operating system is still impressive, not to mention it's become quite robust overtime.

Best alternative

Samsung Galaxy S7

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Unless you've been living under a rock this past year, you know that the Galaxy S7 is one of the biggest hits of the year. The flagship smartphone features a stunning metal-and-glass unibody design that's both water resistant and comfortable to wield. On the inside, it's fueled by top-end internals, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM. It also offers solid battery life and an impressive rear-facing camera that you can confidently utilize as your primary shooter. Best of all, the Galaxy S7's screen is a 5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display, so even though it's a smaller screen, you'll still get stunning, TV-like quality from the dullest of YouTube videos.

Bottom line: If you're looking to adopt one of the best compact smartphones available, get the Galaxy S7.

One More thing: This highly-rated device is available at all four major carriers in the U.S., but if you'd rather live dangerously and contract-free, Samsung offers an unlocked model that also works overseas.

Best for camera buffs

Huawei P10

See at Amazon

Not feeling what Samsung and Google have to offer? Try the Huawei P10 instead. This 5.1-inch device comes packed with a whole host of goodies, including 64GB of storage, Android 7.0, and a dual camera that's made in partnership with Leica. The P10 also boasts a new portrait mode, which works a lot like what you see produced by your friends who utilize it on the iPhone 7 Plus, and it's equipped with optical image stabilization, too. All this runs on Huawei's own Kirin 960 processor and 3200mAh of all-day battery.

Bottom-line: The Huawei P10 is a worthy choice if a good camera and all-day battery life are you main concern.

One more thing: The Huawei P10 will only work with GSM carriers. Verizon and Sprint are not compatible with this phone.

Best affordable phone

Moto G5

See at Amazon

Have you heard? Motorola's gone full metal and it's covered its budget line in metal, too. The Moto G5 is a 5-inch device with smooth performance and decent 13-megapixel camera hardware. It comes with Android 7.0 right out of the box, too, and a removable battery. It's sold unlocked, so you can use it with any T-Mobile or AT&T SIM in the U.S., as well as overseas with other networks.

Bottom-line: The Moto G5 is an excellent choice if you're looking for an affordable unlocked phone in a compact size.

One more thing: Unfortunately, the Moto G5 isn't equipped with NFC, so you can't use Android Pay for wireless payments.

Best "really tiny" phone

Xperia X Compact

See at Amazon

Bet you didn't think we'd offer up a Sony smartphone as a choice, but the Xperia X Compact is worth the consideration—especially if you're looking for something that's under five inches. Inside, the Xperia X Compact runs on mid-range Snapdragon 650, 3GB of RAM, and a 2,700mAh battery. It's equipped with a 720p IPS display, though that's all you really need from a 4.6-inch screen. It also supports Quick Charge 3.0, so that you can quickly charge it up during your layover, and it offers a solid 23-megapixel rear-facing camera with laser autofocus.

Bottom-line: The Xperia X Compact is great for anyone who's been grumbling that smartphones are just too big in this day and age.

One more thing: Sony's got a pretty good legacy of smartphone updates, even on older devices.

Conclusion

Folks, if you're looking for a compact smartphone that's got as much power and capability as the laptop on your desk, the Pixel is the way to go. It's the perfect representation of the way Google wants you to use Android. And it's a mere 5 inches, which makes it comfortable enough for a variety of hand sizes. It's also got Google Assistant, which is quickly morphing into something more than just a cool trick to show your friends.

Best Overall

Google Pixel

See at Verizon See at Google Store

Like the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S8, Google's Pixel comes in two sizes: Really Big and Just Right. The latter is the Google Pixel with a 5-inch Full HD display that fits comfortably in the palm of any hand.

The Pixel is packed with a Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB of RAM. It's available with up to 128GB of storage space. Its 2770mAh battery might not seem like much compared to other phones its size, but with its 1080p display and Nougat's revamped Doze mode, you'll likely be seeing a little bit more on-screen time than other devices in its class. The Pixel's 12-megapixel rear-facing camera is also still really impressive, even when compared to the abilities of the newer Galaxy S8.

Bottom line: If you're looking for Google's Android in a compact size, the Pixel is it.

One more thing: It's pretty difficult to find the Pixel right now, which Google is aware of. In the event you can't find stock, we heartily recommend the Galaxy S7.