Best small phone 2024

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For a while, it seemed like smartphones were just going to get bigger and bigger until we were all basically walking around with tablets, but now there are quite a few great options if you're in the market for a small phone. Whether you prefer Samsung, Google, Asus, or even Apple devices, you'll find all of the best compact smartphones below.

We've personally tested every one of these phones ourselves and can give you the good (and bad) parts of each device on this list. Ultimately, we chose the Samsung Galaxy S24 as the best small phone for most people. The S24 has one of the fastest processors you can get with Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, excellent cameras, and and excellent update policy that will keep your phone up-to-date for years to come.

Portrait image of technology journalist Namerah Saud Fatmi
Namerah Saud Fatmi

Namerah enjoys geeking out over accessories, gadgets, and all sorts of smart tech. She spends her time guzzling coffee, writing, casual gaming, and cuddling with her furry best friends.

At a glance

Best overall

Hands-on with the smaller Samsung Galaxy S24

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)
Best overall small phone

Specifications

SoC: Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
Display: 6.2-inch AMOLED 120Hz
RAM: 8GB or 12GB
Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Battery size: 4,000mAh
Charging speed: 25W wired, 15W wireless, 4.5W reverse wireless
Cameras: 50MP wide, 10MP telephoto, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP selfie
Dimensions: 5.79 x 2.78 x 0.30 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Compact 120Hz AMOLED display
+
Long software support
+
Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor
+
Strong battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Inconsistent camera performance
-
25W charging is starting to feel slow

While the larger Galaxy S24 Ultra steals much of the spotlight for Samsung's latest
S24 generation of phones, the base Galaxy S24 is still one of the best Android phones with most of the bigger phone's best features. The Galaxy S24 looks an awful lot like the outgoing S23, but when it comes to being a small phone, it's made a few nice upgrades. First, the screen is slightly larger at 6.2 inches with no more than a millimeter in additional width. In fact, the phone is ever so slightly shorter than the previous model.

Another upgrade comes with the battery which gets a shot in the arm to take it from 3,900mAh to 4,000mAh with support for 25W wired charging and 15W wireless charging. The cameras system is lead by the tried and true 50MP sensor with a 10MP telephoto and 12MP ultrawide camera helping out. Be careful buying an international model as some are fitted with the Exynos 2400 SoC which is a solid chip, but not as capable as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 fitted to the US model.

When it comes to carrier support, just about every carrier will activate the S24 without issue. Support for 5G on the major carriers including Verizon and AT&T's mid-band 5G is present with mmWave on the US model. Finally, Samsung is offering an impressive seven years of software updates for the S24 phones so you know your phone will be up-to-date for years to comes.

Best value

The back of the Bay blue Google Pixel 8a

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)
Best value

Specifications

SoC: Tensor G3
Display: 6.1-inch OLED 120Hz
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery size: 4,492mAh
Charging speed: 18W wired, 7.5W wireless
Cameras: 64MP wide, 13MP ultrawide, 13MP selfie
Dimensions: 5.98 x 2.86 x 0.35 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Up-to-date with Android 14
+
Outstanding cameras
+
IP67 dust and water resistance
+
Works with all U.S. carriers
+
Tensor G3 chip at a great price
+
120Hz AMOLED display

Reasons to avoid

-
No telephoto lens
-
Charging should be faster
-
No headphone jack

Google's Pixel A-series has long been a value leader since the series was introduced. While most A-series phones have been on the smaller side, they often pair the diminutive size and price with equally diminutive specs. Like the 7a, however, the Pixel 8a can be considered a "value flagship" phone that also doubles as the best small phone you can buy.

Every time I pick the phone up and use it, I marvel at how this phone only costs $500 and yet feels so darn premium in every way. The processor inside is the same one in the more expensive Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, offering the same advanced camera features as those Pixel phones. It's also extremely comfortable to hold, with Google rounding the edges and tweaking the overall design with the 8 range.

In addition to the Pixel 8a hosting the joint best camera hardware on any A-series model to date alongside the previous model, the Tensor G3 processor also ensures that the photos you capture are crystal clear every time. Google has long been a master at this with features like Face Unblur technology, automatically capturing crisp faces even when there's movement.

Best foldable

Stack Bounce on the Galaxy Z Flip 5 cover screen

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)
Best foldable

Specifications

SoC: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Display: 6.7-inch AMOLED 120Hz, 3.4-inch AMOLED
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 256GB or 512GB
Battery size: 3,700mAh
Charging speed: 25W wired, 15W wireless, 4.5W reverse wireless
Cameras: 12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP selfie
Dimensions: 6.5 x 3.11 x 0.27 inches unfolded, 3.35 x 3.11 x 0.59 inches folded

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic performance
+
New and improved cover display
+
One UI 5.1.1 is sleek
+
Four major Android updates
+
Convenient design that fits anywhere

Reasons to avoid

-
No telephoto lens
-
There's still a visible crease

If there's any one specific reason to get a foldable phone, it's to fit a bigger display in an actual pocketable form factor. That's precisely why the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is the best foldable phone for fans of smaller phones. Case in point, it might have a giant 6.7-inch display on the inside — which is anything but "small" or pocketable — but the Flip 4 folds in half when you're done with it, giving you the convenience of a small phone size and a big screen when you need it.

With the Galaxy Z Flip 5, Samsung also boosted the size of the cover display, so you now get the 6.7-inch inner screen and a vibrant 3.4-inch AMOLED panel with its own 60Hz refresh rate. The Z Flip 5 also boasts a much stronger hinge than its predecessor, so the foldable phone can now be unfolded totally flat on a surface, plus the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor makes everything about the phone better, including the camera experience.

Aside from those changes, the phone is largely the same when you can compare the Z Flip 5 vs the Z Flip 4, and that's a good thing. With the Z Flip 5, Samsung has continued to choose refinement over dramatic transformation; choose this phone and you'll be getting one of the most enjoyable and unique small phone experiences around.

Best for enthusiasts

ASUS Zenfone 10 review

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)
Best for enthusiasts

Specifications

SoC: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Display: 5.92-inch AMOLED 144Hz
RAM: 8GB or 16GB
Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Battery size: 4,300mAh
Charging speed: 30W wired, 15W wireless, 5W reverse wireless
Cameras: 50MP wide, 13MP ultrawide, 32MP selfie
Dimensions: 5.77 x 2.68 x 0.37 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible performance
+
Sublime 144Hz screen
+
Vanilla Android UI with zero bloatware
+
Great cameras
+
Loud stereo sound, 3.5mm jack
+
Battery lasts two days with ease

Reasons to avoid

-
Only two Android updates
-
No wireless charging
-
Doesn't work on Verizon

Most small Android phones can't be called small by the same definition we had just five years ago, but the Asus Zenfone 10 eschews that thought and delivers a true one-handed experience. Even the side-mounted fingerprint sensor can be used to scroll content on the screen, enabling new ways of one-handed use that aren't often seen.

In addition to that, Asus packed a big, huge battery inside as well as the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. That means you're going to get the best performance from an Android phone right now and battery life that'll make you wonder what sort of voodoo magic Asus worked on the phone. Two-day battery life is normal with the Zenfone 10, and that's almost hard to believe when a phone is this fast.

Asus also packed in some truly superb cameras, plus a 3.5mm headphone jack onboard, making us wonder why other OEMs can't get their act together and include one. Zenfone 10 is available in the U.S. and works on both the AT&T and T-Mobile network with support for 5G, though rural coverage may be weaker than Samsung and Google phones due to supporting fewer bands.

Best alternative

Sony Xperia 5 III Colors

(Image credit: Source: Sony)

5. Sony Xperia 5 III

Best alternative

Specifications

SoC: Snapdragon 888
Display: 6.1-inch OLED 120Hz
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB or 256GB
Battery size: 4,500mAh
Charging speed: 30W wired
Cameras: 12MP wide, 12MP telephoto, 12MP ultrawide, 8MP selfie
Dimensions: 6.2 x 2.7 x 0.3 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Sharp and colorful display
+
Strong performance
+
Solid camera output
+
Long-lasting battery
+
Good water resistance

Reasons to avoid

-
Odd fingerprint sensor
-
Comes with Android 11
-
Outdated design
-
Front-facing camera is only 8MP

This phone borrows heavily from the Sony Xperia 1 II, making cuts in size inside and out. The smaller frame still gives you a 6.1-inch FHD+ OLED with a 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch sampling rate, so visually, there's something neat to look at. You won't be getting 4K resolution on this panel, but that's fine if you don't mind a step or two lower at 2520x1080.

The Xperia 5 III is also easier to wield, not just because of its smaller stature, but also a wise decision to go with rounded corners. There are also some decent performance specs, courtesy of the Snapdragon 888 5G chipset, along with 8GB of RAM and 128GB/256GB storage (there's also a micro SD slot if you want more space). That makes it more than capable of handling pretty much any task, even if the look of the phone may feel a bit aged. Streaming media is easy, and if you want to do some gaming, that's easy enough, too. There's even a headphone jack in case that's useful.

A good IP68 rating gives the phone some decent water resistance, which may compel you to take a few risks when shooting with its capable camera. The triple camera array in the rear can take good shots, with more true-to-life color that might please your eye if you take photography more seriously. The 4,500mAh battery also holds up well because of its larger size relative to the phone's slimmer frame, and that's more than enough to last a full day, every day.

Best for Apple users

iPhone SE 2022 review

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)
Best for Apple users

Specifications

SoC: Apple A15 Bionic
Display: 4.7-inch IPS 60Hz
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB
Battery size: 2,018mAh
Charging speed: 20W wired, 7.5W wireless
Cameras: 12MP wide, 7MP selfie
Dimensions: 5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches

Reasons to buy

+
A15 Bionic is a powerful chip
+
IP67 dust/water resistance
+
Qi charging and Touch ID
+
Great size for one-handed use
+
Up to five years of OS and security updates

Reasons to avoid

-
Chunky bezels look dated
-
No USB-C port
-
Doesn't have Face ID

Sure, this is Android Central, but it's hard not to mention the Apple iPhone when exploring the world of small smartphones. With the Apple iPhone SE (2022), camera output is going to be as good as it gets for something in this price range. Decent shots in good conditions and not so good when the lights dim. That's the same for the battery, which lasts a long time, thanks to its 4,000mAh size and the lighter specs. So you should breeze through a full day with plenty left to spare.

It's always nice when hardware and software can run this well on a device this size. The A15 Bionic chip is a steady performer, and with iOS 15 running smoothly, it's as intuitive as you'd expect an iPhone to be. Apple's tendency to also support its phones with years of updates (assuming they won't throttle it in any way) will also keep the iPhone SE 2022 relevant for some time.

Trimming things down also means a smaller battery. However, the 2,018mAh cell keeps the device up for a decent amount of time. Unfortunately, there's still no USB-C, so you will have to charge via Lightning or Qi wireless charging. The single 12MP main camera takes decent shots, leveraging the processing powers of the A15 Bionic and software improvements. You do miss out on Face ID, but there's the throwback home button with Touch ID built-in for biometric security.

How to choose

The market for small Android phones isn't as expansive as it used to be, but there are still plenty of choices out there if you know where to look. When it comes to our performance, the Galaxy S24 is an easy choice with the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC powering it, and excellent software support from Samsung promising seven years of Android updates. Compared to the S23 from last year, the S24 has increased its screen size and battery size without making the phone noticeably wider.

The Google Pixel 7a may not be what everyone considers "small" but it has amazing specs across the board, comes in at a price that's more than reasonable, and can still be considered small by modern phone standards. Using the Pixel 7a is pretty darn great no matter what you're doing, often punching above what you'd expect from a phone this cheap.

If you need a phone that's truly designed for one-handed use, then look no further than the Zenfone 10. ASUS somehow managed to deliver high-end hardware, great cameras, and a large battery into this small phone, and it is a truly standout package.  It would be a bit higher on the list with better support for U.S. carriers like Verizon, and more retailer availability.

Namerah Saud Fatmi
Senior Editor — Accessories

Namerah enjoys geeking out over accessories, gadgets, and all sorts of smart tech. She spends her time guzzling coffee, writing, casual gaming, and cuddling with her furry best friends. Find her on Twitter @NamerahS.

With contributions from