The best small phones in 2022 offer a perfect combination of small size and big power: just because they're smaller than their rivals doesn't mean their specifications are smaller too. Whether you have smaller hands or just don't feel the need to have a phone the size of a dinner plate, the best small phones are brilliant buys.
It's nice to see some of tech's biggest names bucking the trend for ever-larger phones: for example, while Apple makes the truly enormous iPhone 13 Pro Max, it also makes the compact and bijou iPhone 13 mini and the small and smart iPhone SE 2022.
To create our best small phones guide we've set the maximum screen size to six inches or a little bit above. That means not every phone here is ultra-compact, but they're all smaller than the big brands' big flagships.
If you decide that the best small phones are a little small after all, we also have in-depth guides to the best phones of any size. We also have guides for specific types of phones: high-powered gaming phones, the best Android phones, the best Samsung phones and many more. And if you're shopping on a budget, don't forget to check out T3's guide to the very best cheap phones.
The best compact phones on the market today include handsets from Google, Samsung, Apple and others. Read on to discover which small phone will be the best phone for you.
The best small phones you can buy today in 2022
While the third-gen iPhone SE for 2022 might not have changed much in terms of looks from its predecessor, it's been given a huge upgrade on the inside: this compact handset is powered by the Apple A15 Bionic chip that also sits inside the iPhone 13 series.
That means any app you want to run on this is going to fly, especially as it only has to push pixels to a 4.7-inch display. The latest version of iOS is on board of course, so it can run any app that the bigger and more expensive handsets in the iPhone series can run as well.
While the camera setup isn't the best you're going to find, it's still capable of getting some very decent results, and then there's the price – this is the most affordable iPhone you can buy at the moment, and by some distance. For a lot of people this is likely to be the perfect iPhone.
If you have a budget that goes beyond the level of the iPhone SE, then the iPhone 13 mini might just be the best small phone for you. It has a screen size of 5.4 inches, but thanks to the notch and lack of bezels, it's actually physically smaller overall than the iPhone SE.
Going with the iPhone 13 mini also gets you 5G and the fastest mobile Apple processor on the market (the A15 Bionic), plus a dual-lens 12MP+12MP rear camera rather than the single camera on the iPhone SE. Both these phones are running the latest version of iOS though, so there's virtually no difference when it comes to the software and apps.
There's faster wireless charging on the iPhone 13 mini compared with the iPhone SE (although it is by far not the fastest on the market) as well, while the screen is a higher resolution and OLED rather than LCD. The iPhone 13 mini costs more, but you get more back for your investment – and it's actually even smaller.
Whether or not it is right for you depends on your needs. If you need flagship-grade performance in a small, compact form factor then you need iPhone 13 mini. If you're happy with just every-day-use kind of performance and don't want to spend a lot, then the iPhone SE is the way to go.
Google has gone back to focusing on flagships with the Pixel 6, but the Pixel 5 remains a relatively powerful and relatively affordable option if you can find it – it has a screen size that's exactly 6 inches from corner to corner.
What really makes Pixel phones stand out are their mobile photography capabilities, and although the Pixel 5 only has a dual-lens 12.2MP+16MP rear camera, it can take some stunning pictures day or night. You also get a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor, 8GB of RAM and 128GB in return for your money.
This being a Pixel phone, it's always going to be running the latest version of Android, which is another reason to give it a look. There's support for 5G, wireless charging, and an IP68 rating for waterproofing as well, so it's a great value offering from Google.
With a 6.1-inch display, the Sony Xperia 5 III is pushing the definition of a small phone, but it's still more compact than a lot of handsets on the market – and thanks to the 21:9 aspect ratio it's very tall and narrow (in portrait mode), making it easier to use with one hand.
It's an expensive phone as well, but you do get a lot for your money: a high-end Snapdragon 888 processor from Qualcomm, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, and plenty of useful extras such as 5G connectivity and IP68 waterproofing. There's even wireless charging.
This being a Sony smartphone, the display and the triple-lens rear camera are top notch – areas that Sony has plenty of expertise in as a company – and it's a handset that's well worth considering if you want a small phone that's also a premium phone.
A stylish foldable small phone that is well worth buying, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G will satisfy your nostalgia for the classic noughties flip phone while actually giving you some of the most up-to-date tech and smarts around.
It has a 1.9inch cover screen and a large 6.7inch 120Hz main screen inside. The cover screen is 4x bigger than the original which means it can fit plenty on it. You can control your music, access Samsung Pay and check your messages, it’s really easy to use you just swipe through the widgets. You can even take pictures without unfolding the handset at all, you’ll just need to double press the power button.
The best part is that Samsung has lowered the price in this model, but actually offers much more in this handset than it did before. Now that it’s about the price of a flagship phone, this is definitely worth considering!
Samsung makes more phones than you might have realised – it's not just about flagship handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra – and with a 6.1-inch display the Galaxy A41 is actually one of the smallest in the current Samsung range, as well as being one of the cheapest.
The phone's budget nature is given away by the Mediatek Helio P65 processor, the 4GB of RAM and the 64GB of internal storage (which you can expand with a memory card), but the phone is still going to be able to get through everything you need it to. The triple-lens 48MP+8MP+5MP rear camera is also very good quality for the price you're paying.
While you don't get extras such as wireless charging, waterproofing or 5G, you don't have to spend very much at all to get your hands on this phone, and it'll still serve you well – on top of being one of the best small phones that you can buy at the moment.
If you want a small phone but still need as much performance as possible, look no further than the Asus Zenfone 8. It comes with the super-speedy Snapdragon 888 processor inside and can be configured with as much as 256GB of internal storage and a whopping 16GB of RAM.
That's not where the appeal of this phone stops either, because this is a very well designed and very well put together handset (as you would expect from Asus). Importantly for this particular round-up, the (bright OLED) screen measures a mere 5.9 inches from corner to corner.
While you can find cheaper small phones out there, and small phones with better camera systems on the back, the Asus Zenfone 8 holds its own in just about every department and is a really good choice for your next upgrade – it's undoubtedly one of the best small phones out there.
The Nokia 2720 Flip is a fascinating little phone. We love its looks, which take us back to the 1990s when dropping your Nokia would break the floor and battery life was measured in weeks and months, not hours. But despite the retro styling this is a very modern device that sits somewhere between feature phone and smartphone. It doesn't have an App Store like Android phones or iPhones do, but it does have Facebook and WhatsApp with 4G LTE connectivity so it's not completely internet-free.
We really like this phone. As much as we love our smartphones there's a lot to be said for simplicity, and this is a particularly good option for people who need a phone with basic social networking and nothing else – or for parents who want their kids to be contactable by them but not by every Tom, Dick and Harry on the internet. The big icons and big numbers on the keys means it's also a good option for people whose eyesight isn't what it used to be.