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Best Overall

Google Pixel 2

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

The Pixel 2 may wield last year's processor, the Snapdragon 835, but it sits in a class of its own when it comes to performance. It's comfortable to hold thanks to a relatively small 5-inch 1080p display, and features front-facing speakers, water resistance, and one of the best cameras on the market.

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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 dispels the notion that small phones can't offer a flagship experience, with the same spec sheet 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 through the 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

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

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 upon them, repositioning the fingerprint sensor to a logical place and dramatically improving the camera.

Best affordable phone

Moto G6

The Moto G6 is an excellent choice if you're looking for an affordable unlocked phone.

It's a modern-looking phone with a 5.7-inch 18:9 display, a reasonably powerful Snapdragon 450 processor, and a surprisingly good 12MP rear camera — all for just over $200. The 3000mAh battery lasts a good while, and the ultra-clean Oreo-based software is about as good as it gets for the price.

Best "really tiny" phone

Xperia XZ2 Compact

You won't find another 5-inch phone with such high-end specs and small bezels.

Sony's Xperia XZ2 Compact brings all of the features one expects of a flagship down to the palmable size. This one comes with a Snapdragon 845 and all the camera improvements of its Xperia XZ2 counterpart. Thanks to the combination of a 5-inch display and an 18:9 aspect ratio, it's much smaller than even the Pixel 2.

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 high-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

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

The Pixel 2 may wield last year's processor, the Snapdragon 835, but it sits in a class of its own when it comes to performance. It's comfortable to hold thanks to a relatively small 5-inch 1080p display, and features front-facing speakers, water resistance, and one of the best cameras on the market.

Update, June 2018: We've replaced the Moto G5 Plus with the Moto G6 as our affordable recommendation.