Embracing Compact Elegance: Discovering the Best Small Phones for Your Pocket-Friendly Needs in 2024

We live in an age of supersized screens and superphoned smartphones, but that’s not to say that there isn’t a quiet clamour for a slightly reduced portable communications device. But while bigger is purported to be better, there is a select following for mini come back. This list of the best small phones for 2024 won’t have you slum it if you don’t want to, but rather experience the buoyant joy of the little things.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Small Phone

So, before we get to our round-up, it’s worth thinking about exactly why you want a small phone. Do you need it to be easy to use, or for it to cut down on pocket strain, or perhaps it’s all about looks? Your primary motivator will probably guide you to your perfect choice. It’s important to remember that a small phone might require a compromise on specifications – you might have to sacrifice processing power and screen quality for compactness – but knowing what you can’t compromise on is key. For example, if you can only fit a phone in your pocket of a certain size, you know what the minimum dimensions will be; if you want features such as dual cameras, know what technical specs you require.

Unveiling the Elite Miniature Marvel: IPHONE 15 PRO

  • Sleek titanium body
  • Exceptional A17 Pro Chip
  • Advanced camera systems
  • Intuitively designed OS


  • Premium price tag
  • Display larger than some small-phone seekers might prefer

If there’s one phone this year that shows you don’t have to buy a large phone to get performance, it’s Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro. Coming in at 6.1 inches and squeezed into a tiny package, the iPhone 15 Pro handily blows past the larger, clunkier options that have become the de facto status quo with high-end phones. Its superb craftsmanship, top-notch processor, and best-in-class photography chops make it my top choice for anyone who wants a smaller phone that doesn’t skimp on the juiced-up power game.

Pioneering Budget-Friendly Excellence: ONEPLUS NORD N30 5G

  • Vibrant 120Hz display
  • Competent Snapdragon processor
  • Pocket-friendly pricing under $300


  • Performance lags behind pricier competitors
  • Battery life could be better

For my money, the OnePlus Nord N30 5G is the best value out there, and the one I’d recommend for the budget-minded: it has a large screen, big enough for easy viewing but not so big that it feels unwieldy in the hand. Affordability and size efficiency go hand in hand, and you still get a good smartphone for much less money.

The Quintessence of Compactness: IPHONE SE (3RD GEN)

  • Attractive pricing
  • Stellar camera performance
  • Premium Apple build quality
  • Potent A15 Bionic Chip


  • Smaller display comes with significant bezels
  • Design may feel dated to some

The iPhone SE (3rd Gen) is the least monumental iPhone that Apple has ever made. It’s a squat little classic, with the same general profile as second- or third-generation iPhones from a decade ago; it’s unobtrusive in a way that few other modern smartphones can claim to be, with the same heft and small profile as those older ones. For anyone who remembers an age when smartphones were actually small, it’s the closest thing to hitting the reset button and going back in time, from thick and coarse present-day tech to the same thinner, lighter in-pocket functionality that those first phones had.

Folding into the Future: SAMSUNG GALAXY Z FLIP 5

  • Dual-screen functionality
  • Ultra-portable design
  • Remarkably versatile camera setup


  • Small external display
  • Longevity of the folding mechanism is a concern

The Galaxy Z Flip 5, released by smartphone giant Samsung earlier this month, represents a striking attempt to satisfy these appetites by offering the best of both worlds. It gives users a full-size screen experience when it’s unfolded, but folds up to conserve space and fit in small places when it’s closed. It’s the pocket-size creature comforts of flip phones, morphed into the catwalk opulence of the cutting edge. We expect the rise of the flip phone to be a complicated story, pitting technological desire against nostalgic pull – and also, perhaps, the inexorable need to build on Flash Empire’s legacy of progress For some users, the Z Flip’s offer will be irresistible.

Retro Chic Meets Modern Simplicity: NOKIA 2780 FLIP

  • Iconic flip-phone design
  • Access to essential modern apps
  • Ultra-affordable


  • Basic functionality
  • Clunky user experience by smartphone standards

The Nokia 2780 Flip is all about the pure minimalist desire to strip away the complexity of modern phones to expose the simplest, most straightforward tactile modes of interaction. It would never win a race against its smarter cousins, but who cares: it is a bracing simplicity, and a salutation from the past when phones were just phones. Perfection for digital minimalists.

Understanding the Role of the Phone Today

We ended our tour of the best small phones of 2024 in a remarkable place: with the iPhone 15 Pro (which is essentially a small phone supercomputer, and the ultimate expression of just how far technology has come, and how far phones have turned into life-changing computers in our pockets). We also visited the Nokia 2780 Flip, which distilled the technological function of mobile phones down to its absolute bare essentials, with its tiny screen, simplified menu and good old-fashioned flip design. There’s a small phone out there for any segment of the smartphone market – whether that’s premium, mid-range or budget. If you care the most about performance, there’s a small phone that’ll give you that. If you want a small phone that still offers great performance but is cheap, you can get that as well. There’s foldable phones, if you’re after gadgets that push the boundaries of what a phone can be, encouraging us to think differently about our devices. There are even throwbacks to the first generation of mobile phones, which will help us think more broadly about what we actually use our phones for and how big the screens need to be to be useful to us. In fact, despite its prevalence, size is not necessarily the most important thing to appreciate about a 3in phone: it’s simply a feature of the broader category of handset. Sure, there’s a significant amount of overlap between the largest small phones and the smallest flagships, as is the case with the Dixon Diphone and Apple iPhone 15 Pro.

Jun 16, 2024
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