The best small phones of 2023 offer a perfect combination of small size and big power. Just because they're smaller than their rivals doesn't mean their specifications are necessarily smaller. 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.
To create our best small phones guide we've set the maximum screen size to 6.1-inches (well, foldables excluded). That means not every phone here is ultra-compact, but they're all smaller than the big brands' big flagships, which are typically 6.7-inches in screen size these days.
If you decide that the best small phones are a little too 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.
Best small phones 2023: the top 3
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While the third-gen iPhone SE 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 14 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.
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 by some distance. It's small, affordable and, therefore, will be the ideal small phone for most people
Read our full iPhone SE (2022) review for the full ins and outs about this pocketable iPhone
If you have a budget that goes beyond the level of the iPhone SE, then the iPhone 13 mini might 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 SE.
Going with the iPhone 13 mini also nets you 5G, a dual-lens rear camera, faster wireless charging, and a higher-resolution OLED display. It's the more powerful choice and, perhaps surprisingly, the last of its kind: there's no iPhone 14 mini coming, so if you want higher-end Apple and you want it small, this is your last chance.
Wait, what, not the latest Google phone? Sure, there's been the Pixel 6, 6A and 7 series released since, but all those are larger-scale than the Pixel 5, which is why this 6-incher still sits in our list as the best small Google phone.
What really makes Pixel phones stand out are their photography capabilities, and although the Pixel 5 only has a dual-lens rear camera, it can take some stunning pictures day or night. And being a Pixel phone you can expect the latest and best version of Android too, ensuring everything runs nice and smooth.
Fancy the best small Google phone? Take a read of our Google Pixel 5 full review to learn more
Best small phones 2023: Best of the rest
If you want a small phone but still need as much performance as possible, look no further than the Asus Zenfone 9. It comes with the super-speedy Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 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 put together handset. Importantly for this particular round-up, the bright OLED screen measures a mere 5.9-inches from corner to corner.
The Asus Zenfone 9 is close to being a world-class, compact flagship, but its camera falls short of excellence and it misses out on wireless charging. Despite those drawbacks, it’s still an incredibly powerful compact Android device with long-lasting battery life.
Sounds like the powerful small Android phone you've been looking for? Read our full Asus Zenfone 9 review for more info
Ok, so this might seem like cheating seeing as it's not a sub-6-inch phone; indeed unfolded the display is 6.7-inches... but it's still small, because it folds literally in half to make for a pocketable or purse-friendly phone.
On the front the Z Flip hosts a 1.9-inch Cover Display which you can interact with more than was possible in its predecessors. The battery life is also beefed up, which makes it a far longer-lasting option then earlier foldables.
Perhaps the best part is that Samsung has lowered the price in this model, so while it's still kind of pricey you can bag it for about the same as any standard flagship these days.
Always thought of buying a folding phone? Read our full Galaxy Z Flip 4 review to see whether it's the choice for you