Best Overall: Google Pixel 2

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For two years, the Pixel has been the quintessential Google phone, and the HTC-made Pixel 2 is our top recommendation for shoppers in need of a small phone.

The Pixel 2 wields the same Snapdragon 835 processor as almost every other 2017 flagship, but sits in a class of its own when it comes to performance. It's comfortable to hold thanks to a relatively small 5" 1080p display, and features front-facing speakers, water resistance, and one of the best cameras on the market. Despite a seemingly small 2700 mAh battery, it even manages impressive battery life.

Bottom line: For the Google purist in search of a small phone, the Pixel 2 is the pretty much the complete package.

One more thing: The Pixel 2 lacks a headphone jack and wireless charging, though it does include a USB-C audio dongle in the box.

Why the Google Pixel 2 is the best

There's no better way to experience Android the way Google intends it than with a Pixel phone. The Pixel 2 dispells the notion that small phones can't offer a flagship experience, with the same specsheet and performance as the larger Pixel 2 XL — without its various known issues.

The Pixel 2 is the first Google-branded phone with IP67 water resistance, and the first to offer front-facing speakers since the Nexus 6P. It also takes some of the best photos we've ever seen from a phone with its 12.2 MP primary camera, and the front-facing camera can capture great-looking selfies, even offering Portrait Mode by making use of machine learning. Google also sweetens the deal by including free unlimited backups on Google Photos for Pixel 2 owners.

You can buy the Pixel 2 in one of three attractive colors (Kinda Blue, Just Black, and Clearly White), and two storage options (64GB or 128GB), though there's no microSD expandability so choose wisely.

Best for features: Samsung Galaxy S9

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The Galaxy S9 is one of the most powerful compact phones on the market, and even though it features a 5.8-inch display, it's in a body barely larger than the Pixel 2. The Galaxy S9 takes all of the great design qualities of the GS8 and improves them, reworking the fingerprint sensor so it's in a logical place, and improving the camera dramatically. And thanks to stronger glass and thicker metal, it's less scratch-prone.

Bottom-line: The Galaxy S9 is a one-handed marvel, even though it's got a large 5.8-inch display.

One more thing: The Galaxy S9+ is the phone's larger sidekick, and it comes with a bigger screen, larger battery, and dual cameras.

Best affordable phone: Moto G5 Plus

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The Moto G5 Plus is one of the best smartphone deals today. It's compact but not tiny, with a 5.2-inch Full HD display, and it packs a lot for that metal chassis, including a Snapdragon 625 processor and an excellent 12MP rear camera. The 3000mAh battery lasts a while, and the ultra-simple Nougat-based software is about as good as you'll get for the price.

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

One more thing: If you want to save a bit of money, you can go with the Amazon Prime Exclusive version.

Best "really tiny" phone: Xperia XZ2 Compact

See at Sony

Sony's Xperia XZ2 Compact brings all of the features one expects of a flagship down to the palm-able size. The line is one of the few that balances features, performance, and dimensions, and the XZ2 Compact is no exception, with a Snapdragon 845 and all the camera improvements of its Xperia XZ2 counterpart. Even though it has a 5-inch display, it's still much smaller than the Pixel 2.

Bottom-line: You won't find another 5" phone with such high-end specs and small bezels, and it's made even better with Android 8.0 Oreo on board.

One more thing: There's now a fingerprint sensor on the back, and it works in the U.S.

Conclusion

The Pixel 2 is simply the best compact Android experience around. You get pure Google software, a best-in-class camera, water resistance, front-facing speakers, and top-end specs, all in a small form factor that can easily fit in your hand or pocket. As always, it can be a bit difficult to find certain configurations in stock, but once you get your hands on one, the Pixel 2 leaves little to be desired — except maybe a headphone jack and wireless charging.

Best Overall: Google Pixel 2

See at Verizon

For two years, the Pixel has been the quintessential Google phone, and the HTC-made Pixel 2 is our top recommendation for shoppers in need of a small phone.

The Pixel 2 wields the same Snapdragon 835 processor as almost every other 2017 flagship, but sits in a class of its own when it comes to performance. It's comfortable to hold thanks to a relatively small 5" 1080p display, and features front-facing speakers, water resistance, and one of the best cameras on the market. Despite a seemingly small 2700 mAh battery, it even manages impressive battery life.

Bottom line: For the Google purist in search of a small phone, the Pixel 2 is the pretty much the complete package.

One more thing: The Pixel 2 lacks a headphone jack and wireless charging, though it does include a USB-C audio dongle in the box.

Update, March 2018: We've consolidated our small and medium phone lists into a single list to simplify your buyer's guide experience.