When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works

Home / Features / Best small phone 2024: compact smartphones reviewed and rated

Best small phone 2024: compact smartphones reviewed and rated

Handsets that are less of a handful

best small phone intro graphic featuring Google Pixel 4a iPhone SE and Asus Zenfone

Compact is a relative term these days: smartphones that were once considered pocket-filling phablets are now par for the course. But if you want a mobile that’s easier to tote than the models on our overall best smartphones list, what’s the best small phone you can buy?

There’s no escaping that handset dimensions have expanded considerably over the last decade – but some use frame-filling displays to maximise every inch of screen space, making them more manageable than your average modern flagship. Whether you’ve got smaller paws or simply want a smartphone that doesn’t demand quite so much pocket space, you should find your ideal small phone below. Oh, and don’t forget to check out our guide to the best upcoming phones, too.

What’s the best small phone?

We think the best small phone you can buy today is the Samsung Galaxy S24 (buy now). It’s the full-fat Galaxy experience, with less of the fat; AI enhancements, a bigger battery and more streamlined styling than its predecessor make this a pocketable handset that’s largely free from compromise.

Other small phone recommendations

Best midrange small phone

The Google Pixel 7a (buy now) is a superb, well-rounded phone that continues the Pixel range’s track record for killer cameras – while also borrowing a few high-end features from its bigger brothers.

Best small folding phone

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 (buy now), with its 6.7in screen may not seem like a small phone, but its party trick gives it proper portability.

The best small phones you can buy today:

Samsung Galaxy S24 hands-on homescreen

1. Samsung Galaxy S24

Stuff Verdict

Not the biggest generational upgrade, but AI enhancements and ample performance are hard to beat in this form factor.


  • Streamlined design and slicker screen than last year
  • AI integrations can be very useful
  • Powerful yet pocket friendly


  • Bested by rivals on camera quality
  • Exynos CPU not the best for battery life
Samsung Galaxy S24 specs
Display6.2in, 2340×1080, 1-120Hz AMOLED
ProcessorExynos 2400 (Europe) / Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 (USA)
SoftwareAndroid 14 w/ OneUI
Cameras50MP+10MP+12MP rear
12MP front
Dimensions147x71x7.6mm, 167g

First things first: yes, the Samsung Galaxy S24 is a fair bit bigger than our previous top small smartphone the Apple iPhone 13 Mini. But seeing how Apple threw in the towel on the Mini line, and remaining stock has now all but dried up, it’s time to look elsewhere for a compact fix.

Samsung has squeezed a 6.2in screen into a form factor no larger than last year’s Galaxy S23, which was already one of the smallest flagship phones around. More importantly, it hasn’t compromised on the hardware front. A top-tier chipset, larger battery and a refined design make it a consummate all-rounder, while the super-bright LTPO display looks smooth and colourful in all lighting conditions.

As is the case just about everywhere these days, camera hardware takes a back seat to its S24 Ultra bigger brother, and image quality in general can’t keep up with the very best smartphone snappers – but the S24 still takes fantastic photos both during the day and at night. It also has some of the most advanced (and useful) on-device AI we’ve seen to date. As a complete package, little else comes close with such diddy dimensions.

Google Pixel 7a review front

2. Google Pixel 7a

Stuff Verdict

Gains features missing from its predecessor, while staying fast, long-lasting and able to take a killer photo. The Pixel 7a is the mid-range Android phone to beat.


  • Fantastic still images for a mid-range phone
  • Performance punches above its price bracket


  • Price bump over last year’s effort
  • Charging speeds remain behind rivals
Google Pixel 7a specs
Display6.1in 2400×1080 AMOLED
ProcessorGoogle Tensor G2
SoftwareAndroid 13
Cameras64+13MP rear, 13MP front
Dimensions152x73x9.0mm, 193g

Google’s Pixel 7a is a superb, well-rounded phone that continues the Pixel range’s track record for killer cameras – while also borrowing a few high-end features from its bigger brothers. It may not be quite the value champ that its predecessor, the Pixel 6a, was, but it can safely compete with flagship rivals that cost as much as twice the price. You’re getting a hell of a lot of camera quality for your money here.

You can get other Android handsets for less cash, ones that have nippier charging and a faster-than-90Hz display. Even so, this is a choice that’s hard to argue against, especially if you’re perfectly comfortable darting your digits around its 6.1in screen.

Asus Zenfone 10 review lead

3. Asus Zenfone 10

Stuff Verdict

Upgrades a winning formula with wireless charging and more power. Possibly the last of its line?


  • Flagship power and storage
  • Excellent video stabilisation
  • Considered UI customisations


  • No telephoto camera
  • Aggressive camera processing
Asus Zenfone 10 specs
Display5.9in 2640×1080 AMOLED
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
SoftwareAndroid 13
Cameras50+13MP rear, 32MP front 
Dimensions147x68x9.4 mm, 172g

Wait, isn’t there a Zenfone 11 out now? Yes and no – Asus decided to introduce its latest phone line with an Ultra variant, complete with huge display and equally beefy battery. It’s unclear if there’ll be a ‘regular’ version that follows more closely in the footsteps of previous generations; we won’t know until July 2024, when the Zenfone 10 reaches its first birthday.

Until then, the Zenfone 10 remains on sale, and continues to squeeze superlative performance into a pocket-friendly package.

Chunky at 9.1mm, it sits comfortably in the hand, with a synthetic layer giving the plastic back something of a premium feel. The 5.9in display fills the entire front of the phone, with a punchy OLED panel, adaptive 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10+ credentials and fantastic colour accuracy.

Two sizeable stabilised eyes reside on the rear: a 50MP Sony sensor and a 13MP ultra-wide. Results are reliably fine, occasionally good but never excellent, with auto processing not doing justice to the hardware. That said, 8K video is brilliant at 30fps.

Generally deployed in gaming handsets, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip makes the Zenfone 10 something of a small superphone. During our time with the device, there were no bugs, crashes or overheating issues. Wired charging rates are capped at 30W, but the 4300mAh battery can comfortably make it through the day – provided you limit 5G downloads. It also gains wireless charging, something missing from the outgoing Zenfone 9.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 hands-on verdict

4. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

Stuff Verdict

The best Flip yet is all the evidence you need to know foldable phones have a big future.


  • Sublime design and capable cover screen
  • Flagship-tier performance


  • Battery life is just fine, and charging speeds could be better
  • Cameras haven’t stepped up in a meaningful way
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 specs
Display6.7in, 2640×1080 flexible OLED w/ 120Hz (inner)
3.4in, 720×748 OLED (outer)
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
SoftwareAndroid 13 w/ OneUI
Cameras12MP + 12MP rear, 10MP front
Dimensions165x72x6.9mm (unfolded), 85x72x15.1mm (folded), 187g

With a 6.7in screen, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 4 doesn’t sound like a small phone. But its party trick gives it proper portability: like a classic clamshell, it can flip satisfyingly shut to form a square. Yes, it’s as thick as two phones when folded (17.1mm), but it also measures a miniature 72x85mm.

Premium materials make it one of the sturdiest foldables to date. That AMOLED main panel is likewise a thing of beauty, with vivid colours, rich blacks and smooth 120Hz refresh rates. Plus its narrower 22:9 aspect ratio makes it ideal for streaming movies. A smaller 1.9in display on the outside is big enough for framing selfies, controlling music and checking notifications.

Dual 12MP wide and ultra-wide main cameras are perfectly capable, but not excellent. They perform well enough in good lighting, but struggle in dimmer conditions. More convincing is the engine: a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip keeps things swift, with the help of 8GB of RAM. And while the cell is smaller than many flagships, it still delivers a full day’s use.

Sony Xperia 5 V review lead

5. Sony Xperia 5 V

Stuff Verdict

Everything we loved about the Xperia 1 IV, distilled down for the mainstream with a much more manageable price. The Xperia 5 IV is very creator-friendly, as long as you don’t mind doing a lot of the w


  • Manual camera modes for both stills and video
  • Stellar screen and a design that oozes sophistication


  • Previous-gen CPU gets hot and sucks power
  • Basic camera mode can’t match more automatic rivals
Sony Xperia 5 V specs
Display6.1in 2560×1080 AMOLED
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Storage128GB (expandable)
SoftwareAndroid 13
Cameras48+12MP rear, 12MP front
Dimensions154x68x8.6mm, 183g

Despite having a 6.1in screen (making it one of the larger displays on our compact handset list), the tried and tested unique Sony aspect ratio means that the Xperia 5 V is actually narrower than most of the competition. This makes it a pleasure to use for activities like one-thumb typing and scrolling. The downside, of course, is that you’ll have to reach further to drag down the top notification bar, but that doesn’t detract too much from the overall compact feel on offer.

Size aside, there’s a very capable dual-camera system on the rear, though as is the case with most Xperia handsets, you’ll get the best results if you’re tweaking things manually in pro mode. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor is perfectly potent, and it manages to surpass quite a few rivals in the longevity department too, though the 30W wired charging speed is nothing to write home about.

As with other Xperia handsets, the 5 V is more of a niche consideration, but definitely worth exploring, especially if you’re already an Xperia fan.

Profile image of Chris Rowlands Chris Rowlands Freelance contributor


Formerly News Editor at this fine institution, Chris now writes about tech from his tropical office. Sidetracked by sustainable stuff, he’s also keen on coffee kit, classic cars and any gear that gets better with age.

Areas of expertise

Cameras, gear and travel tech