The Best Compact Smartphones of 2024: Small but Powerful

Top compact smartphones
Source: phonearena

Smartphones are progressively increasing in size, yet there still exist a select few hovering around the 6-inch mark. Below, we present our suggestions for the most optimal compact smartphones available in 2024.

The Best Compact Smartphones in 2024

In recent times, the screens of smartphones have nearly eliminated their borders to embrace ever-expanding displays. For many models, screens ranging from 6 to 7 inches have become the norm. Locating a smaller smartphone in 2024 can be challenging.

However, for those who appreciate single-handed phone operation or the convenience of slipping it into a jeans pocket, hope is not lost. Certain brands persist in producing small yet powerful smartphones.

As the market evolves, manufacturers have surpassed the symbolic 6-inch screen threshold for small smartphones. Consequently, in this guide, you’ll encounter references with a 6.1-inch panel, now classified as a compact size. This guide also encompasses folding smartphones, presenting an alternative solution for a compact design.

Presenting our current lineup of the best compact smartphones.

Samsung Galaxy S23: The Compact Powerhouse

Samsung Galaxy S23 - compact smartphones

In the realm of 2024 smartphones, the eagerly anticipated small-sized Galaxy S23 has emerged as a high-end contender. As the successor to the S22, it not only matches but potentially surpasses its illustrious forerunner, addressing certain issues that the S22 faced, such as chip power and battery life.

Aesthetically, the design remains impeccable, boasting premium finishes, and the device maintains the latest anti-water and dust certifications. The 6.1-inch screen is exceptional, delivering vibrant visuals. Powering the device is the formidable Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, ensuring smooth performance in all aspects. However, extended use of 3D games may lead to some heat buildup.

A notable improvement comes in the form of an enhanced battery, coupled with the optimization capabilities of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, allowing the S23 to comfortably last a day and a half with mixed usage—a commendable feat for a compact smartphone.

Turning to photography, while the score is undeniably impressive, it might not reach the pinnacle one would expect given the prowess of its predecessor. The camera exhibits some inaccuracies, particularly in focusing and portrait mode.

Certainly! In 2024, Samsung introduced its latest lineup, including the Galaxy S24—a notably compact device sporting a 6.1-inch screen. While the design retains its impressive aesthetics and the display remains stunning, Samsung has, unfortunately, reverted to using an Exynos chip, a decision that may not resonate positively with some users. However, it’s the camera capabilities that raise significant concerns, particularly with questionable focusing choices.

Given these considerations, our recommendation leans strongly towards the Galaxy S23, which is priced $100 less than the S24. The S23, with its powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and commendable camera performance, stands out as a more favorable choice in the compact smartphone category.

Apple iPhone 15 Pro: The Premier Compact Smartphone

IPhone 15 Pro

With the discontinuation of the iPhone 13 mini, enthusiasts of more petite smartphones will need to adjust to a slightly larger, yet still compact, format at 6.1 inches. Enter the iPhone 15 Pro, unveiled in late 2023, presenting itself as an exceptional model. Apple has introduced a new titanium frame, enhancing the device’s lightweight feel.

Featuring a splendid 6.1-inch screen with minimized borders, the device offers a comfortable grip. Noteworthy is the inclusion of the Action button, providing a convenient shortcut for users.

Powered by the A17 Pro SoC, it stands as one of the most potent phones currently available, particularly recommended for an immersive gaming experience. The iOS 17 ensures a seamless user interface seamlessly integrated into the Apple ecosystem.

In the realm of photography and videography, the iPhone 15 Pro excels. Video recording benefits from exceptional stabilization, surpassing the results achieved by many Android smartphones. A significant addition is the USB-C port, enhancing practicality. However, the charging speed remains a point of contention at 20W, requiring 1 hour and 20 minutes for a complete recharge.

Asus Zenfone 10: The Pinnacle of Compact Android Smartphones

Asus Zenfone 10 Design - compact smartphones

In the dwindling landscape of compact smartphones in 2024, Asus stands out with its Zenfone 10, succeeding the highly regarded Zenfone 9. A testament to technical prowess in a compact package, it offers an excellent grip with its choice of slightly grainy plastic that fits comfortably in the palm, even retaining the appreciated jack port.

The device boasts a striking 5.9-inch AMOLED screen, capable of Full HD+ resolution and reaching up to 144 Hz in gaming mode. While the display quality is commendable, a slightly higher maximum brightness would have been welcomed.

Beyond the screen, the Zenfone 10 packs considerable power despite its compact dimensions. Fueled by a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, it smoothly handles all tasks, especially 3D gaming. Asus ZenUI, on the software side, remains sleek and operates seamlessly. Users also have the option of choosing the stock version of Android. The only notable drawback lies in the promise of only two years of major updates—a shortfall, particularly at this price point in 2024.

Surprisingly, this compact smartphone excels in battery life. With its 4,300 mAh battery, the Zenfone 10 delivers outstanding endurance, lasting up to two days. Its 30W recharge capability ensures a full recharge in just one hour, outperforming flagship devices from Samsung and Apple.

The overall assessment leans positively, with the only notable drawback being the photographic performance of the Asus Zenfone 10, which lags behind the competition. Equipped with a modest dual sensor at the back, it falls short of standing out, which is a notable disappointment at this price range.

Google Pixel 7a: The Budget-Friendly Compact Choice

Google Pixel 7a Thick Bezels

In the realm of affordability and compact design, Google hits the mark with the Pixel 7a, a more budget-friendly iteration within the Pixel 7 series. This newcomer brings several advantages to the forefront, featuring a discreet design and exemplary finishes. The 6.1-inch OLED screen, with a refresh rate of 90 Hz and high brightness (reaching 1230 cd/m3 max in HDR), impresses. However, the somewhat noticeable screen borders may diminish its compact feel, especially for users with smaller hands, like women. Weighing 192 grams, it’s relatively heftier for its screen size compared to the S23, which weighs 167 g, making it less inconspicuous in hand.

With flawless software integration (running Android 13 and now upgradable to Android 14), Google’s affordable offering proves capable, thanks to its Tensor G2 chip, a champion in artificial intelligence. Remarkably, it shares the same chip as the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro but at a considerably lower cost. The Pixel 7a excels in photography, offering unmatched performance in its category at $500, even providing a commendable digital zoom. It handles portraits, night photography, and moving subjects with finesse.

However, the Pixel 7a falls short in battery life, lasting only a day, a notable drawback in 2024. Moreover, the fast charging, capped at 18W, should be noted, and it’s important to mention that the power supply is not included.

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Despite its limitations, the Pixel 7a stands out as a compelling option for those seeking a compact, aesthetically pleasing, and camera-centric phone. The added bonus of receiving three years of major Android updates adds to its appeal.

If your budget constraints limit your spending, an alternative is to consider the Pixel 6a from the previous year. Sporting a screen of the same dimensions, this model stands out as an excellent smartphone for photography, in line with the high standards set by all Pixel devices. Typically priced around $350, it offers a compelling option for those seeking affordability without compromising on camera quality.

On the contrary, if you’re inclined to enhance your smartphone’s performance, be it in terms of power, camera capabilities, or artificial intelligence, the Pixel 8 is a viable choice. Despite featuring a slightly larger 6.2-inch screen, it manages to maintain a compact profile through thinner borders compared to its predecessors. However, this upgrade comes at a price, as you will need to allocate $730 to make it yours.

Apple iPhone SE 5G (2022): The Affordable Compact iPhone

iPhone SE (2022) - compact smartphones

The successor to the iPhone SE 2020 maintains its compact design, a hallmark of its name. In the 2022 iteration, Apple utilizes the iPhone 8 chassis, complete with the iconic central button dedicated to Touch ID. The modest 4.7-inch screen, unfortunately, continues to employ LCD technology. While this may limit display advancements, it ensures easy handling and enhances daily usability, especially emphasizing the tactile interface.

True to Apple’s tradition, the strength of this budget-friendly compact smartphone lies in its internal power. Featuring the Apple A15 Bionic chip, also found in the iPhone 13, it delivers seamless performance. The configuration includes 4 GB of RAM, contributing to a smooth user experience. Notably, the iPhone SE 2022 introduces 5G compatibility, keeping it up to speed with the latest connectivity standards.

Equipped with a 12-megapixel sensor on the back, the phone’s photographic capabilities are supported by features like Smart HDR 4 and Deep Fusion.

Available in various configurations, the starting price for this compact iPhone is $529. If you desire a compact iPhone and find the iPhone 13 mini beyond your budget, the iPhone SE 5G (2022) emerges as a compelling alternative.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5: Unfold to Triumph

Galaxy Z Flip 5G

With its expansive 6.7-inch display, the inclusion of the Galaxy Z Flip 5 in this selection may raise eyebrows. However, the magic lies in its foldable design, reducing its size to half when closed and enhancing its portability—a true embodiment of the “small object” effect. This, coupled with its lightweight build, makes it effortlessly pocketable.

The Samsung flip phone features a 3.4-inch AMOLED external panel with HD definition. Once unfolded, the internal screen boasts a diagonal measurement of 6.7 inches, with a refresh rate ranging from 1 to 120 Hz. Achieving a peak brightness of 1635 cd/m2, the display excels in brightness, and Samsung’s signature color fidelity is evident, delivering an exemplary screen quality. Notably, the hinge has undergone improvements.

Powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 ensures smooth daily usage. However, in terms of battery life, it settles for a single day, a somewhat standard performance for a high-end device.

On the downside, the photographic capabilities could have been better. In comparison to the S23 Ultra, one of the current photography champions, the absence of a telephoto lens is noticeable. Additionally, the external screen’s functionality is limited at present. Nevertheless, by offering a remarkably large screen in a compact and charming form factor, the Z Flip 5 provides an intriguing alternative as a commendable foldable smartphone.

Which compact smartphone to choose in 2024?

Opting for a small-format phone in 2024 may require some compromises in terms of technical specifications, despite advancements in component size. Notably, devices like the iPhone 13 mini and Zenfone 10 have demonstrated impressive performance despite their compact designs. However, it’s essential to note that these smaller smartphones typically feature batteries around 3,000 mAh, while their more traditional counterparts often start at 4,000 mAh. Nevertheless, advancements in less energy-consuming chips have contributed to respectable battery life, exemplified by the Asus Zenfone 10.

What is the screen size of a compact smartphone?

The landscape of smartphone screens has significantly evolved, with 5-inch screens, once the norm in the 2010s, now being considered marginal. Devices with screens measuring less than 6 inches are now deemed compact and are relatively rare. For instance, while the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 exceeds 6 inches when unfolded, its foldable design offers a compact form when closed. Generally, a smartphone with a screen size of less than 6 inches is considered compact.

Why choose a mini format device?

The primary allure of mini-format devices lies in their ease of handling. Manufacturers prioritize ergonomics for everyday use when designing compact smartphones. Beyond their ability to easily fit into pockets or bags, these devices facilitate one-handed operation. Allowing users to comfortably reach the top of the screen with their thumb.

What are the most compact smartphones in 2024?

As of now, the smallest smartphones available in 2024 include the Asus Zenfone 9 and 10, along with the iPhone 13 mini. These devices stand out as the only ones featuring screens measuring less than 6 inches. Maintaining a truly compact profile in the current market.

Here are some tips and tricks when choosing and using compact smartphones in 2024:

  • Consider Battery Life Carefully: While compact smartphones may have smaller batteries, advancements in chip efficiency can still deliver decent battery life. Prioritize devices with optimized power management features and fast charging capabilities to mitigate any concerns about battery longevity.
  • Evaluate Camera Performance: Compact smartphones might not have the same extensive camera setups as larger counterparts. But advancements in camera technology allow for impressive photography. Prioritize devices with features like image stabilization, night mode, and AI enhancements to maximize your compact phone’s photographic capabilities.
  • Explore Foldable Options: Foldable smartphones, like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, offer a unique combination of larger screens when needed and compact designs when folded. Explore foldable options if you desire a balance between compactness and a more expansive display.
  • Customization for One-Handed Use: Take advantage of customization options offered by the operating system to optimize your compact phone for one-handed use. This might include rearranging icons, enabling one-handed mode, or using gesture controls.

  • Storage and Expandable Memory: Compact smartphones often come with varying storage capacities. Consider your usage needs and choose a device with adequate storage or expandable memory options through microSD cards to ensure you have enough space for apps, photos, and videos.
  • Screen Quality Matters: Given the smaller size of compact smartphone screens, prioritize devices with high-quality displays. Look for features like AMOLED technology, high resolution, and HDR support for a more immersive visual experience.
  • Check for Water and Dust Resistance: Since compact smartphones are designed for portability, it’s beneficial if they come with water and dust resistance. This feature adds durability and ensures your device remains functional in various environments.
  • Read User Reviews: User reviews can provide valuable insights into real-world experiences with compact smartphones. Pay attention to reviews related to battery life, performance, and overall user satisfaction to make an informed decision.
  • Explore Accessories: Look into accessories that enhance the functionality of your compact smartphone. This might include compact phone stands, cases with built-in grips, or Bluetooth accessories for added convenience.
  • Stay Updated on Software Support: Compact smartphones, like other devices, benefit from regular software updates. Ensure that the device you choose receives consistent software support to access the latest features, security patches, and improvements.

By considering these tips and tricks, you can make a well-informed decision when choosing and optimizing the use of a compact smartphone in 2024.

Disclaimer: We may be compensated by some of the companies whose products we talk about, but our articles and reviews are always our honest opinions. For more details, you can check out our editorial guidelines and learn about how we use affiliate links.

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