9 Best Small Phones to Buy in 2024

In Short
  • Having faced an uphill battle against large-screen phones, small phones have been phased out but you can still buy them.
  • Zenfone 10, Pixel 8, Galaxy S24, and Galaxy S23 are some of the best small phone options you can get your hands around.
  • Other solid options include foldable phones such as Motorola Razr+ and Galaxy Z Flip 5, which are compact when folded.

Remember small phones? Those pocket-friendly devices that dominated the early 2010s? Despite the arduous efforts of companies like ASUS to make people fall in love with small phones, it wasn’t enough in the end. But don’t despair! Existing small phone models are still powerhouses, and can last you for years. Here’s a look at the best small phones you can still buy in 2024.

1. ASUS Zenfone 10

ASUS Zenfone 10 was the last saving grace of small Android phones. It features a 5.9-inch display and weighs only 172 grams. Powering the device is a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset and a 4,300 mAh battery capable of charging at 30W.

In addition, the phone features UFS 4.0 storage, up to 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM, and a 144Hz OLED display with 1100 nits of peak brightness and Gorilla Glass Victus protection.

Zenfone 10 - best small phones

The phone has dual-rear cameras with the primary camera being a 50MP sensor and the secondary being a 13MP ultrawide shooter. The software is mostly stock Android with ZenUI, the company’s proprietary skin. The phone is available in a myriad of colors, has a headphone jack, combined with a decent price of $699, and flagship-grade specifications make it one of THE best small phones to get.

The only thing you need to be wary of when buying is that the phone is eligible for only two major Android updates, meaning Android 15 will be the last major update on the Zenfone 10.

Excellent one-hand usabilityAverage cameras
Good higher refresh rate displayOnly two major Android updates
Retains the headphone jackSlightly expensive
Near Stock Android experience with ZenUI
Great performance

2. Samsung Galaxy S24

At first, the Galaxy S24’s display size of 6.2 inches may not make it seem like a small device, but the phone is just 5.79 inches tall length-wise, making it as pocketable as the Zenfone 10 and worth considering if you’re looking for a small phone.

It boasts a 120Hz 6.2-inch dynamic AMOLED display and is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 or Exynos 2400 chipset depending on where you live. Powering the device is a smaller 4,000 mAh battery capable of charging at 25W wired and 15W wireless.

Besides, this Samsung phone also features UFS 4.0 storage (256GB and above models only), and LPDDR5X RAM. There are three cameras at the rear — a 50 MP wide, 10 MP Telephoto, and a 12 MP Ultrawide. You get OneUI 6 on the software front with plenty of customizations and up to 7 years of updates, making it a long-term option for many.

The phone’s overall design with uniform bezels around the display makes it a beautiful compact smartphone for $799.

Great one-hand usabilityAverage battery life, slow charging speed
Excellent Dynamic AMOLED displayExynos 2400 variant might not perform as good
Great camerasA bit expensive
Excellent performance (on Snapdragon variant only)
Entitled to 7 major OneUI updates

3. Google Pixel 8

Google’s latest Pixel flagship, the Pixel 8 is a tad bit smaller than its predecessor but also a tad bit bigger than the above two devices. For starters, it too features a 6.2-inch display but length-wise, the Pixel 8 measures 5.93 inches, which could still be considered small in the context of other devices in the market. The display is an OLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and 2000 nits of peak brightness.

Sure it features the slower UFS 3.1 storage and the Google Tensor G3 might not be as fast as the latest Snapdragon SoCs, but all you’re looking for is a compact phone with the best cameras in the business, the Pixel 8 won’t disappoint you for $599. In terms of longevity, you get seven years of major OS updates; so the device should be a safe bet for years to come.

Decent one-hand usabilityPerformance
Higher refresh rate displaySome features deliberately locked to the 8 Pro
Exceptional camera performanceOlder and slower UFS 3.1 storage
7 guaranteed OS updates

4. Xiaomi 14

With a 6.36-inch display and 6.01-inch length, not many would consider the Xiaomi 14 a “small” device, but for those willing to sacrifice the same for the features the phone packs, it’s a no-brainer. The 6.01-inches tall length is still small compared to other smartphones in the market, and Xiaomi could achieve this via the slim uniform bezels on the Xiaomi 14.

The phone is packed with features. Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, UFS 4.0 storage, triple cameras (all of them being 50MP sensors), LTPO OLED panel with 3,000 nits peak brightness, and a 4,610 mAh battery with 90W wired and 50W wireless charging, it ticks almost all the boxes in a flagship.

The company promised major Android updates for up to 4 years and up to 5 years of security updates. Coming at around $799, it’s a device worth considering.

Excellent bright displayFeels a little bulky for a “small phone”
Exceptional performanceLimited availability
Great battery life with best-in-segment fast chargingHyperOS might not be everyone’s cup of tea
Excellent Leica-tuned cameras

5. ASUS Zenfone 9

If you’re out of options for an inexpensive device, the predecessor to Zenfone 10 still does the trick. The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is still plenty fast and the 5.9-inch OLED 120Hz display is similar to that of Zenfone 10. Sure it features the older UFS 3.1 storage but it more than makes up for it with a headphone jack and the lower price tag of $349 on websites such as eBay.

Yes, ASUS discontinued the Zenfone 9 earlier last year, so the only way to buy it is from eBay and similar websites. For that price, it’s a phone that’s quite tough to beat. However, do remember that Asus’ track record with updates isn’t the best.

The Zenfone 9 launched with Android 12 and can only be updated to Android 14. It will be the last update for the phone.

Exceptional one-hand usabilityBelow average cameras
Good higher refresh rate displayOnly two major Android updates
Still retains the headphone jackLarge, uneven bezels
Near Stock Android experience with ZenUI
Good performance

6. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

Those looking for pocketability rather than a smaller screen will appreciate the new-gen foldable phones. When unfolded, the Galaxy Z Flip 5’s display measures 6.7-inch diagonally and 6.5-inch in length, which is not pocketable or suitable for one-handed use.

However, when folded, the form factor comes down to 3.3 inches, which any pocket can easily accommodate. You can then use apps on the smaller 3.4-inch outer screen. It’s actually too small and counterintuitive for a small phone, yes, but it technically makes the Galaxy Flip 5 the smallest phone on this list.

Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Specs-wise, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 boasts a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC, UFS 4.0 storage, 3,700 mAh battery, and dual 12 MP rear cameras. It should get 4 years of Android updates, potentially till Android 17.

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 launched at $999 but since it’s been almost a year since the launch, you can sometimes buy one brand new for $499.

Exceptional pocketabilityOuter display is a low resolution 60Hz panel
Great higher refresh rate inner displayRelatively expensive
Great performance
Decent cameras
Four years of Android updates

7. Motorola Razr 40 Ultra

The Motorola Razr 40 Ultra aka the Razr+ in the US is a tad bit bigger than the Galaxy Z Flip 5 both in terms of screen size and the overall footprint. However, it’s a flip phone with a foldable screen, so pocketability should be no issue. Besides, it’s got a slightly bigger and higher resolution cover screen so running apps on it should feel a little better.

Image Courtesy: Motorola

The Razr 40 Ultra features UFS 3.1 storage and the older Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC. Powering the smartphone is a 3,800 mAh battery capable of charging at 30W. Motorola promises up to 3 major Android updates, which is great but knowing the company’s track record with updates, I wouldn’t expect the updates to arrive quickly.

The Razr 40 Ultra launched at $1,049 but has since received several price cuts bringing the price down. You can grab one brand new or refurbished for around $500-$600 on websites other than Amazon.

Exceptional pocketabilityThree years of major updates
Great high refresh rate inner and outer displaysExpensive
Decent performance
Modest cameras

8. Pixel 7a

Pixel 7a is no tiny phone but again, when you consider it in the context of other Android devices, the 7a’s 6.1-inch display and 6-inch length, while barely suitable for one-handed use, could be considered pocketable.

The phone boasts an OLED 90Hz screen, Google Tensor G2, UFS 3.1 storage, and arrived with Android 13 so it will be upgradeable to Android 16. Besides being relatively small, it’s also one of the best camera devices you can get in the sub-$400 price range.

Extremely affordable and value for moneyGoogle Tensor G2 is old and slow
Decent display, good battery life
Exceptional camera performance
Great software experience

9. Samsung Galaxy S23

The Galaxy S23 is a year old and has been superseded by the Galaxy S24, but it’s still very much relevant in the current market. With a 6.1-inch almost bezel-less display and a length of a mere 5.76-inches, it’s one of the best hand and pocket-friendly devices you can buy right now.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 combined with UFS 4.0 storage translates to the phone being able to keep up with current standards. With a triple-camera setup and four years of updates (up to Android 17), the Galaxy S23 should be relevant for several years. It deserves your attention if you’re looking for a compact device.

Great one-hand usabilityAverage battery life, slow charging
Excellent Dynamic AMOLED displaySlightly expensive
Great cameras
Good performance (on Snapdragon variant)
Entitled to four major OneUI updates

There are lots of reasons why people moved on from small smartphones, but I feel one of them is due to the lack of innovation. There were no generational improvements, contrary to what we’ve seen with larger devices.

Besides, small devices require a lot of R&D to manage and fit components in a tight chassis. So why put that effort when you’re better off selling phones with larger displays? Purchasing small phones also meant compromising on battery life, a key factor that people consider when buying a device. In ASUS’ case, it was due to the lack of updates. Two major updates are quite frankly a joke in this day and age.

What are your thoughts about small phones? What could the firms have done to keep them alive? Let us know in the comments below.

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