So many Android flagships – which have the best cameras – are ridiculously big and cumbersome. Amy Davies asks, why is it only Apple which offers a small flagship phone?

Whether we like it or not, smartphone photography is here to stay. And do you know what, they’re really good at it too. There may be plenty of people who decry the threat to “real” cameras and “real photography” at the hands of the smartphone, but I’m pretty sure I can’t be alone in loving the freedom and “always-there” possibilities that they bring.

Naturally, as a professional photographer, I generally want the best possible device I can if I’m going to rely on a smartphone for a large swathe of my picture-taking. There’s a huge amount of choice right now, and the best smartphones for photographers can produce some stunning images. Overall, Android phones do a better job of it than iPhones too. As someone’s who tested all the flagships from the big brands like Samsung, Sony, Xiaomi, OnePlus, Google and of course Apple, it’s still the Samsung S23 Ultra that holds the crown as the best of the best.

But, there’s one massive factor that can’t get over – and it’s the reason why I won’t buy one for myself – and that it’s great big whopping size. At 6.8-inches, some people call these mega devices “phablets” as they straddle a bridge between smartphone and tablet. They’re great for watching films when you’re on the train, or even looking at your photos. But, they’re an absolute pain in the proverbial to use an actual phone. Why can’t I have a small top-name, top-performing flagship phone if I opt for Android?

Small flagship phones: where are you?

I can barely stretch my hand across the S23 Ultra’s screen if I want to text, email or browse the internet. I certainly can’t do it comfortably. And no, I don’t have particularly small hands. I’m sure plenty of other women (and men for that matter) have even smaller hands and also struggle. And let’s not even get started on how stupidly small (or completely absent) pockets are in women’s clothing – trying to jam an S23 Ultra into my jeans pocket means it invariably either pokes into my ribs when I sit down, or it falls out and bounces off the floor. Sometimes both if I’m really lucky.

iPhone 14 Pro and Samsung S23 ultra side by side screen and design

Sorry Samsung, but your S23 Ultra is just too darn big compared to the iPhone 14 Pro. Photo credit: Amy Davies.

But, annoyingly if I want the very best camera, it’s the one I have to go for. If I give up on that idea, I can go for the much more pocket and hand friendly Samsung S23. It’s a great smartphone in its own right, and at 6.1”, it’s nicely sized as a phone without compromising too much on the real estate available to look at my photos and videos. But, it’s not the “best”. It doesn’t have four lenses like the S23 Ultra, it doesn’t have a 200MP sensor (not that you necessarily need one, but let’s not get side-tracked here), and it doesn’t have a macro mode. Why do I have to miss out on so much just because I don’t want a monster device?

Samsung are not alone here. Let’s look at some of the other big names on the market…

Android flagship screen sizes

Pixel 7 Pro: 6.7-inches

Xiaomi 13 Pro: 6.7-inches

OnePlus 11: 6.7-inches

Sony Xperia 1V: 6.5-inches

They’re all pretty massive, albeit not as big as the beastly Samsung S23 Ultra.

Now, here’s where I’m going to heap some praise on Apple. And yes, I know that many of you reading this will roll your eyes at this point. But you simply can’t argue with the fact that the iPhone 14 Pro flagship is available in two sizes. And, yes I know you’ll try.

The iPhone 14 Pro can be bought in either its standard size (6.1-inches), or for those who want the bigger screen – and I do acknowledge that some people obviously love them – the iPhone 14 Pro Max (6.7-inches). Both have exactly the same triple-lens camera set up, which comes with great features such as a 48MP main sensor and macro shooting. Both are the best that Apple currently has to offer, but with the crucial element that the other manufacturers don’t give you – a choice. Yes you can have your small flagship phone and eat it too. Or something.

Admittedly, it’s not quite as good as the Samsung S23 Ultra (nothing is, yet). But it’s just as good – if not better – than several of the other Android phablets. It strikes me that it’s no wonder that Apple devices sell so well… yes, they have all the clever advertising and amazing brand loyalty, but, they actually fit neatly in your pocket too. Revolutionary.

When will the others cotton on?

The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of Amateur Photographer magazine or Kelsey Media Limited. If you have an opinion you’d like to share on this topic, or any other photography related subject, email:

Related content:

Follow AP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.