The Exit of Compact Smartphones

Have you ever searched for “Best Small Phones” on Google? I’ll save you the trouble: the guides you’ll come across feature phones that are old, underpowered, or not small from the start.

The Exit of Compact Smartphones
The Exit of Compact Smartphones

I’ve always preferred smaller phones. I cherished my 2013 Moto X with its 4.7-inch screen, and I stuck with a 5.4-inch iPhone Mini for years. However, when Apple discontinued the Mini last month, I decided it was time for a change. I saved up for the Pixel 8, thinking I would eventually adapt to the “new normal” of 6.2-inch phones.

The Exit of Compact Smartphones

But for tech enthusiasts like me, Google had a different agenda. They are steering buyers toward the oversized Pixel 8 Pro, emphasizing the larger handset’s capabilities, even though both phones have identical cameras and chips.

That’s why I started searching for the few remaining good small phones, but the choices are quite limited.

For instance, you might have come across the Asus Zenfone 10 and thought of it as a small phone due to its 5.9-inch screen, which is smaller than 6.1, 6.5, or 6.7 inches. However, were you aware that the phone’s physical dimensions are nearly identical to a “regular” Galaxy S23 or iPhone 15, excluding the camera bumps?

Size Comparisons of Compact Phones and Folding Flip Phones

A few guides recommend the 2022 iPhone SE, possibly because it features a 4.7-inch screen, which is even smaller than a 5.4-inch iPhone Mini, correct? Incorrect:

Pixel 6A and Pixel 7A? Absolutely not both are larger than a typical Samsung or Apple phone. Even reaching for their under-display fingerprint sensor feels like a stretch for my average-sized hand.

Although Android Police refers to the Sony Xperia 5 V as “the compact flagship Android phone enthusiasts always wanted,” I believe this size comparison makes the point:

And if you believe that folding flip phones are compact, consider this:

When unfolded, the Samsung Z Flip and Moto Razr are nearly the same size as the Pixel 8 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max, both of which are among the largest flagship smartphones available.

When closed, the Z Flip’s thickness doubles, making it more challenging to grip, and it’s quite wide as well. Furthermore, Samsung doesn’t allow you to use it as a compact phone by default—you have to go through some hoops to use apps on the outer screen. Even with the larger cover screen on the Z Flip 5, it remains somewhat awkward.

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