Phones with huge displays like that, and certainly have their advantages. Top specs and great cameras are often packed into these larger cases, while the big screens can be great for watching video on the go. But there’s no escaping this sheer size: the 13 Pro Max’s 6.7-inch display makes it unlikely to squeeze into tight jeans pockets – and one-handed use is so good for anyone with hands smaller than continents how impossible.
Phones have steadily grown in size over the years, with phones 6 inch or larger now being the norm. This is great for watching videos or playing games on the bus on the way home, but what if you don’t care about screen real estate and want a small smartphone that actually fits in your pocket?
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Your options are unfortunately limited, but there are still some great compact phones to consider. Everyone’s definition of “small” is different, and a size that is comfortable for you may feel uncomfortably large for others. With that in mind, I’ll be including phones with a screen size of 6 inches and below. If you are concerned about size, then you should try laying hands on a phone in your next store.
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At 6 inches, the Pixel 5 is the smallest smartphone at the higher end of the size range on this list, but the narrow bezel around the screen makes it a surprisingly compact smartphone. It’s a lot more pocket-friendly than the huge 6.8-inch S21 Ultra. It has a solid rear camera setup, rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, 5G, and a fast and smooth interface that impressed us in our review.
The Pixel 5 has wireless charging and the battery lasts up to 48 hours. With Call Screen, the Google Assistant filters out incoming calls, detects spammers and provides helpful information on phone calls. The processor is Qualcomm Snapdragon, the internal memory is 128 GB and the device has 8 GB of RAM.
It’s not Google’s newest flagship – those are the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro – but even the smaller of the new flagships measures 6.4-inches. And unfortunately that is not small.
Read our Google Pixel 5 review.
Patrick Holland / CNET
The iPhone 13 Mini is one of the few small phones that doesn’t force you to compromise on performance or performance. It shares the same A15 Bionic processor found in all 13-series phones and has longer battery life than its predecessor, the iPhone 12 Mini. Overall, this iPhone Mini is a great phone, and at just 5.4 inches, it’s one of the best little phones money can buy.
Read our iPhone 13 Mini review.
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We liked the balanced overall performance of the Pixel 4A with its low price point when it launched in 2020. With its screen size of 5.8 inches, it’s on the smaller side of today’s phones. But what this little Android phone doesn’t have is 5G, which can be a problem if you want to get those super-fast data speeds everyone is talking about.
So take the 4A 5G right? Not so fast. When Google added 5G to its cheapest phone, it also increased the smaller screen size to 6.2 inches, while the newer Pixel 5A has an even larger 6.34-inch display. Boo and actually hiss.
Read our Google Pixel 4A review.
John Kim / CNET
Apple’s cheapest iPhone is a hit for the price with its powerful processor and a single camera that can take beautiful photos. Like the Pixel 4A, it doesn’t have 5G, but that can be a sacrifice to make if you can’t expand your budget to include the 5G-enabled iPhone 12 Mini. The 4.7-inch screen is small, but the wide bezels at the top and bottom mean the phone itself isn’t much smaller than the standard iPhone 13.
Read our review of the Apple iPhone SE (2020).
Patrick Holland / CNET
Wallet can’t expand to Apple’s newest iPhone 13 Mini? Last year’s 12 Mini is still officially sold by Apple, and it now starts at $ 599 – a decent saving over the new model. Its 5.4 inch screen certainly makes it pocket-friendly, while its solid camera and strong performance make it great in general.
Read our Apple iPhone 12 Mini review.
At 6.1 inches, this Android phone is technically outside the 6-inch threshold that I set out in this article. But listen to me before you go on Twitter and call me a buffoon. The phone has an aspect ratio of 21: 9 which makes it much longer than it is wide. At just 2.68 inches wide, it’s actually narrower than the Pixel 4A listed above, making it as comfortable to hold as any other small phone.
It’s also packed with cutting-edge technology, including a crisp camera setup and 5G connectivity (though 5G is only supported on Xperia 5 II phones sold outside of the US). The screen is nice and its aspect ratio makes it great for widescreen videos. It might be a wise compromise when you want a more hand-friendly phone but still want to enjoy videos on the go.
Read our Sony Xperia 5 II review.
Andrew Hoyle / CNET
Apple officially discontinued the iPhone 11 Pro for 2019, but you can still find it at various retailers. Its screen measures 5.8 inches. This, together with narrow bezels, makes it conveniently pocket-friendly.
It’s packed with power and its triple camera system blew me away with its quality when I took it on a road trip in a supercar when it was launched. No, it doesn’t have 5G, but if you can handle that, it’s an excellent smaller phone to consider.
Sara Tew / CNET
Particularly noteworthy is the Z Flip 3. While its main screen measures a full 6.7 inches, this compact smartphone can be completely folded in half. It can be closed to sit comfortably in the palm of your hand or to fit in your pocket without creating any uncomfortable bulges. It might be the ideal compromise of portable size but with a nice big screen if you want to use it.
You’ll pay well for that compromise, as flip phones like the Z Flip (or Motorola’s Moto Razr 5G, which offers the same concept) cost a lot more than regular smartphones. You have to decide if you want to spend that much money just on the practical size.
Read our Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 review.