The best small smartphones you can buy in 2022

While the largest smartphones can still fit in a back pocket (barely), there are plenty of smaller smartphones that function as well, if not better, than their humongous counterparts. Smaller phones are easier to carry with screens that only need one hand. Thankfully, you don’t have to sacrifice performance with a smaller phone.

The best small smartphone available today is the iPhone 13 Mini. Apple’s smaller-sized iPhone is a triumph, and it’s absolutely the phone to start with if small is your top priority. But, while it’s far from the most expensive phone around, we also include a number of other great smartphones on the smaller side, so you can find the perfect one at your ideal price.

Extremely large phones are popular, but they have always been controversial. Despite the call to provide a smaller phone like the original Apple iPhone of 2007, for many people, it’s hard to scale back down. Should you opt for a smaller phone with your next purchase? We’ve tested hundreds of smartphones at Digital Trends and all the diminutive devices that made our list have been thoroughly put through their paces. Here are some of the best small smartphones we have found.

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best iphone to buy 13 miniJohn Appleseed/UnsplashApple iPhone 13 Mini The best overall small phone

Pros

  • Small, compact design
  • Just as powerful as the larger iPhones
  • Excellent camera
  • Strong battery life

Cons

  • No telephoto lens
  • No higher refresh rate

Why we picked the iPhone 13 Mini: Apple’s iPhone 12 Mini rocked our world, so it makes sense to put its successor — the iPhone 13 Mini — at the top of this list. The iPhone Mini is crammed with the same power as the bigger iPhones but in a compact form. The iPhone 13 Mini shares many of the key specs with its bigger siblings, including the powerful A15 Bionic processor, which pits it against the heavyweights in the smartphone industry. It is our pick for the best small phone.

The iPhone 13 Mini continues to use pretty much the same design as the iPhone 12 Mini, although with a tweaked camera module. There are, however, several upgrades in the package other than just the A15 Bionic chip. The 5.4-inch display remains the same, but the notch on the iPhone 13 Mini is narrower than its predecessor. The Super Retina XDR OLED display is also much brighter, with 800 nits of claimed maximum brightness measured using the High Brightness Mode (HBM) method.

The latest generation of the iPhone Mini removes the 64GB storage option, so the minimum storage is now 128GB. In addition, the highest storage option has also been increased from 256GB to 512GB. Like the iPhone 13, the Mini also features a larger primary camera sensor than the previous generation, along with sensor-shift optical image stabilization (OIS) in which the sensor moves to compensate for any changes in the phone’s orientation, to avoid shakes and blurs while taking photos or videos.

The iPhone 12 Mini had a weaker battery than most of its larger siblings, which put it to a disadvantage against other flagship phones. The iPhone 13 Mini slightly improved this rand now features a 2,438mAh battery, which is about 10% bigger than the previous generation. For most casual users, this battery should be enough to last about a day if not more. The small battery, however, does allow for faster charging with claims of 50% charge in just 30 minutes of being plugged into a Lightning connector using an 18W (or higher) power brick. The smartphone also supports fast wireless charging at 15W using MagSafe and at 7.5W using other regular wireless chargers.

iPhone 13 Mini
Apple iPhone 13 Mini

The best overall small phone

asus zenfone 9 review back handAndy Boxall/Digital TrendsAsus Zenfone 9 The best small Android phone

Pros

  • Compact and easy to handle
  • Powerful processor
  • Neat, lightweight design
  • Strong audio features
  • Main cameras take good photos

Cons

  • Gimbal disappoints
  • Screen doesn’t get bright enough
  • No wireless charging

Why we picked the Asus Zenfone 9: The Zenfone 9 truly delivers flagship smartphone performance, visuals, and audio — in a compact package. The Asus Zenfone 9’s size adheres to Asus’s rule of making a smartphone that’s less than 70mm wide and under 150mm tall, making it perfect for one-handed use. This phone’s squared-off shape and right-angled corners ensure it can pack as much inside the phone as possible, and the aluminum frame and a polymer material rather than glass on the rear panel reduce weight. The screen is smaller than the iPhone 13 and S22 at 5.9-inches, so it’s convenient, pretty, durable, and suitable for everyone, regardless of hand size.

The 5.9-inch AMOLED screen has a 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate, a 240Hz touch sampling rate, plus Gorilla Glass Victus over it. Inside is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor and either 8GB or 16GB of RAM. The basic version comes with 128GB of storage space, but a 256GB model is also available. With its flat sides, the polymer rear panel curves at the edge, so the phone never digs into your hand. The material has a textile-like texture and does not show fingerprints or smudges.

There are two cameras on the phone, set inside metal rings. The main 50MP Sony IMX766, with the gimbal attached, and a 12MP Sony IMX363 113-degree wide-angle camera, have autofocus. There’s 8K video recording, a macro mode built into the wide-angle camera, and a 12MP selfie camera with autofocus inside a hole-punch cutout in the screen. The Zenfone 9 camera typically sharpens scenes with extra contrast and saturation.

Asus’s ZenUI is based on Android 12, and most of Google’s main design elements remain, so it’s suitably customizable. A 4,300mAh capacity battery may not sound like much, so be prepared to charge the phone each day. A 30W charger is included in the box, and the phone supports Power Delivery 3.0 and Quick Charge 4.0, but it does not have wireless charging. You’ll need more than an hour to fully charge the battery using the Asus charger.

Asus Zenfone 9 5G 128GB 8GB RAM Factory Unlocked (GSM Only | No CDMA - not Compatible with Verizon/Sprint) - Blue
Asus Zenfone 9

The best small Android phone

Joe Maring/Digital TrendsSamsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 The best small folding phone

Pros

  • Flatter design looks and feels fantastic
  • Bespoke customization is unmatched
  • Excellent main display
  • Blazing fast performance
  • Good, fun cameras

Cons

  • Battery still only lasts a day
  • Limited cover screen functionality

**Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4: The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is one of the best folding smartphones available in 2022. Is the Galaxy Z Flip 4 a substantial improvement over the Z Flip 3? No, but it is one of the best foldable phones you can buy today.

When it’s open, the Flip 4 looks like any other smartphone, with a large display, centered hole-punch camera cutout, and slim bezels. But snap the phone shut, and its hinge transforms it into a compact square you can slide into small spaces. The rear glass panels have a frosty matte finish, the frame is flatter, and the hinge is smaller. Samsung says the Z Flip 4 should survive over 200,000 folds during its lifetime.

The glass panels and cover screen are covered with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, the frame is Samsung’s Armor Aluminum, and the device holds an IPX8 water-resistance rating (enough to submerge it in up to 1.5 meters of freshwater for up to 30 minutes). There’s no dust resistance.

The Z Flip 4 features a 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel with a 2640 x 1080 resolution, HDR10+ support, 1,200 nits of peak brightness, and a variable refresh rate up to 120Hz. Colors are vibrant with wide viewing angles. The Flip 4’s cover screen is the same 1.9-inch Super AMOLED 512 x 260 resolution screen that’s on the Flip 3. It also serves as a handy viewfinder, allowing you to take photos/videos of yourself with the main a

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