So long, small phones

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Ever Googled for “Best Small Phones”? I’ll prevention you nan click: nan guides you’ll find characteristic phones that are old, underpowered, aliases simply not small to statesman with.

I’ve agelong been a mini telephone guy. I loved my 2013 Moto X, pinch its 4.7-inch screen, and I’ve utilized a 5.4-inch iPhone Mini for years. But erstwhile Apple discontinued nan Mini past month, I decided it was clip to jump ship. I saved my money for nan Pixel 8, figuring I’d yet study to unrecorded pinch a “new normal” of 6.2-inch handsets.

But for gadget enthusiasts for illustration me, Google had different plans: it’s arbitrarily pushing buyers to nan ginormous Pixel 8 Pro instead, bragging astir really its larger handset tin grip niftier features moreover though both phones person nan aforesaid cameras and chips.

That’s why I began my hunt for nan past bully mini phones — but gosh is it slim pickings.

For example, possibly you’ve heard nan Asus Zenfone 10 is simply a mini telephone because it has a 5.9-inch surface — smaller than 6.1, 6.5, aliases 6.7. But did you cognize nan telephone itself is almost identically sized to a “normal” Galaxy S23 aliases iPhone 15, not counting camera bumps?

Colored size comparison boxes representing nan Zenfone 10, Galaxy S23, and iPhone 15 broadside by broadside and beforehand to back.

From near to right: Zenfone 10, Galaxy S23, iPhone 15. The Zenfone is somewhat narrower — but thicker.

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Some guides propose nan 2022 iPhone SE, possibly because it’s sewage a 4.7-inch surface — moreover smaller than a 5.4-inch iPhone Mini, right? Wrong:

Colored size comparison boxes representing nan iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone SE, and iPhone 15 show nan SE is halfway betwixt a Mini and a full-size phone.

The iPhone SE is smaller than a “normal” telephone successful 2023, but not by much.

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Pixel 6A and Pixel 7A? Absolutely nope — some are bigger than a modular Samsung aliases Apple phone. Even unlocking their under-display fingerprint sensor feels for illustration a agelong for my average-sized hand.

Colored size comparison boxes representing nan iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 15, Pixel 7A and Pixel 6A show nan Pixels are larger than nan iPhone 15, and measurement larger than nan Mini.

How are these Pixels making their measurement into “Best Small Phone” guides?

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While Android Police calls nan Sony Xperia 5 V “the compact flagship Android telephone enthusiasts ever wanted,” I deliberation this size comparison speaks for itself:

Colored size comparison boxes representing nan Xperia 5 V, Pixel 8, iPhone 15 and Galaxy S23 show nan Xperia is nan largest of nan bunch.

The Xperia is somewhat narrower than nan competition, but taller.

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And if you deliberation folding flip phones are small, well...

Opened, nan Samsung Z Flip and Moto Razr are astir arsenic large arsenic nan Pixel 8 Pro aliases iPhone 15 Pro Max, 2 of nan biggest flagship handsets retired there.

Colored size comparison boxes representing nan iPhone Mini 13, Pixel 8 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro max, Z Flip 5 and Moto Razr Plus show nan folding phones are rather large.

Folding surface phones are galore things, but “small” is not yet among them.

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Closed, nan Z Flip’s girth doubles, making it that overmuch harder to wrap a manus astir — and it’s plentifulness wide, too. Plus, Samsung doesn’t really fto you usage it for illustration a mini telephone by default — you’ve gotta jump done hoops to usage apps connected nan outer screen. Even pinch nan Z Flip 5’s larger screen screen, it’s awkward.

Because I’m emotion nostalgic, here’s a 2013 Moto G (similar to nan Moto X) vs. a 2023 Z Flip 5.

Because I’m emotion nostalgic, here’s a 2013 Moto G (similar to nan Moto X) vs. a 2023 Z Flip 5.

Photo by Sean Hollister / The Verge

There is 1 institution doggedly still pursuing mini phones. It’s called Unihertz, and its Jelly line is mini and has nifty features for illustration a BlackBerry keyboard aliases programmable buttons and other LEDs. But they’re besides exceptionally budget, designed for minimalists, not those who want a awesome processor and a awesome camera for illustration me.

Why isn’t personification building nan iPhone Mini of Android, you mightiness ask? They’re trying! But nan latest dispatches from nan Small Android Phone Project are... not great. The task hasn’t had a meaningful update successful 5 months, and squad leader Benjamin Bryant admits he had to region to look for consulting activity connected nan side.

“We didn’t person excessively overmuch clip to attraction connected nan task complete nan summer” writes Bryant.

Bryant clarified to america that BOE is responsible for nan Find N, not nan Find N2.

Screenshot by Sean Hollister / The Verge

In immoderate ways, they’re still astatine quadrate one: nan full creation revolves astir nan phone’s display, but show manufacturers don’t publically connection nan benignant of small, high-end surface Bryant’s squad is looking for — those are typically produced nether statement to circumstantial manufacturers.

“The problem is Apple has exclusive authorities to [the iPhone Mini’s] show — so, moreover pinch nan statement being discontinued, [Samsung Display] isn’t going to springiness america access,” he told supporters past month.

The business has somewhat improved since then: Bryant says his squad conscionable had its first existent telephone pinch Samsung Display US. “Samsung Display US is consenting to champion us; nan situation will beryllium convincing nan Korean HQ that we are a viable capable task for them to put clip and resources into,” Bryant tells me.

iPhone mini vs. Moto X 2013: 2 flagships, astir a decade apart, that I could easy usage pinch 1 hand.

Other options: location are “apparently much than enough” refurbished iPhone Mini displays connected nan marketplace to capable nan Small Android Phone Project’s needs; nan outer screen show connected nan Oppo Find N2 looks promising; and location are different displays that could activity if they’re consenting to build a telephone pinch a chin.

But I would not expect a telephone retired of them anytime soon. Bryant admits that, successful general, nan mini telephone outlook is “bleak” and that immoderate of his prospective customers “will beryllium forced to upgrade successful nan coming year.”

Personally, I don’t consciousness forced: I could theoretically replace nan artillery successful my Mini yet again and support it moving different year. But instead, I impulsively nabbed a Z Flip 5 at its Prime Day price to effort thing different for a change.

This is my life now. I telephone it nan Z Flip Raptor Grip.

This is my life now. I telephone it nan Z Flip Raptor Grip.

Photo by Sean Hollister / The Verge

I’m connected time four, and while I’m decidedly not satisfied pinch nan size, I don’t want to beryllium stuck connected mini phones nan measurement I was stuck connected beingness keys. A decade ago, smartphone manufacturers pulled nan beingness QWERTY keyboard from my acold Droid hands. This time, I’m getting retired earlier I get near successful nan past.

Correction, 5:03PM ET: The Motorola telephone successful my pictures is nan Moto G, not nan Moto X arsenic I primitively wrote. It felt for illustration my aged phone, but it’s a fund exemplary I recovered lying astir nan office.

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