Where did all the small smartphones go? Once dominating the market, compact phones are slowly but steadily getting replaced by bigger handsets, and the few that remain, like the iPhone mini line, seem to be on their way out.
Apart from the occasional compact phone announced once in a blue moon, the big players such as Apple, Samsung, Sony, and Motorola release larger than life phones, and definitely don't cater to folks with smaller hands or just those who prefer a more compact phone, easy to pocket and carry around.
But don't think that small phones are going the way of the dodo. Albeit scarce, they do exist. In fact, just last year we saw a renaissance of compact phones. And if you're looking to get one, you're in the right place, as we've rounded up the best small phones you can buy right now.
What are the best compact smartphones in 2022? Let's explore! The best small, compact phones to buy in 2022:
Apple iPhone 13 mini – 5.4-inch screen
Apple iPhone SE (2022) – 4.7-inch screen
Google Pixel 4a – 6.2-inch screen
Samsung Galaxy S22 – 6.1-inch screen
Sony Xperia 10 II – 6-inch screen
Asus Zenfone 8 – 5.9-inch screen
Until not long ago, we thought the era of compact flagship phones is over. But last year, these compact devices made a surprise comeback. The iPhone 12 mini became the smallest iPhone Apple is offering, beating even the iPhone SE for that title. And this year, we got its successor – the iPhone 13 mini.
Thanks to its thin bezels and flat-edge design, you're getting a bigger screen compared to that of the iPhone SE, yet in a smaller body. And what's even better is that the iPhone 13 mini is the cheapest of the four iPhone 13 models, starting at $699 for the 128GB model, which is also double the storage of last year's iPhone 12 mini, but for the same price!
You won't sacrifice much in terms of specs, either, going with the mini iPhone. You still get Apple's A15 Bionic processor and same fantastic new camera features as the other iPhone 13 models. When it comes to high performance in a small package, nothing beats the iPhone 13 mini right now, and it's probably the fastest compact phone you can get.
This year Apple updated its "budget" SE series with a new iPhone SE (2022). To save on costs, the Cupertino company once again reused the now quite outdated body of the iPhone 8, but internally, this phone is a beast, and arguably the most powerful smartphone in its price range.
And yes, it's also a pretty compact phone with a 4.7-inch display, weighting just about 5.08 oz (144.0 g). Despite its old design with large top and bottom bezels, the up-to-date hardware inside, notably the A15 Bionic chip and 5G support, makes the iPhone SE (2022) highly futureproof. So if the price of the iPhone 13 Mini is too high for you, this is the next best thing if you're looking for a small iPhone.
2020's budget Pixel is an all-around pleasant surprise. It undercuts the iPhone SE price wise and while it's nowhere near as powerful, it is pretty compact. It features a 5.8-inch display unlike the newer Pixel 5a, which is actually bigger at 6.3 inches.
But what's best about the Pixel 4a is that Google has brought its computational photography wizardry to it, making it one of the best camera phones in its price category. Yes, there's only one rear camera, but the Pixel 4a makes it count where it matters: picture quality.
Packing a reasonably-sized, high refresh rate 6.1-inch display with AMOLED technology, Samsung's newest Galaxy S22 is well worth considering.
It's the smallest in the Korean company's latest S-series of phones, but even so, it packs the flagship specs you want in 2022. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor paired with 8GB of RAM, Android 12, and three solid main cameras. Want to learn more and see samples? Check out our review, link below.