Most smartphone companies today seem to follow the mantra that bigger is better; handsets that come with larger, 'Plus' variants are often preferred over their smaller counterparts. But in the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey, it's the 4-inch iPhone SE that comes out on top.

Introducing what is essentially an iPhone 5s that's as powerful as an iPhone 6s seems to have paid off for Apple. Thanks to its relatively low price point, flagship features, and excellent battery life, the SE received numerous glowing reviews when it arrived in March last year. Consumers agreed with critics; the handset tops the survey with a satisfaction score of 87 out of 100.

"Over the past few years, the general trend for smartphones has been toward larger screens," writes ACSI Managing Director David VanAmburg in a statement obtained by Mac Rumors. "But apparently, consumers were craving a new iteration of a smaller, less expensive phone as the iPhone SE - Apple's first update to a 4-inch phone since 2013 - comes in first in ACSI this year."

The data comes from 36,194 randomly chosen US customers interviewed between May 2016 and April 2017, which means newer devices such as the Galaxy S8 and LG G6 are absent. The responses were run through ACSI's "cause-and-effect economic model" that assigns an estimated customer satisfaction rating.

While the fun-sized iPhone takes the number one spot, it's worth noting that out of the ten smartphones behind it - all scoring between 81 and 86 - seven of them are either plus-size versions or phablets like the Note 5.

While there are plenty of people who prefer devices that comfortably fit in their hand and pocket, the iPhone SE's low price may have contributed to its satisfaction rating. But the survey indicates there's still a market in the US for cheaper smartphones with screens measuring five inches or smaller.