OS

Perhaps one of the biggest deciding factors of the Xperia Z1 Compact and the iPhone 5C will be the OS that comes supplied. Where the Sony comes with a heavily skinned version of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (although an upgrade to KitKat is on the horizon), the iPhone comes with Apple's proprietary iOS7.

One of the greatest features of iOS has always been its very heavily populated App Store, although there is no doubt that today this is under serious threat from Google's Play Store. Both now provide innumerable apps to solve pretty much every smartphone problem that you could ever imagine.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

iOS is a rather heavily locked down system, coming with the bonus that a regulated app store means that there are no virus' wandering around and that when OS updates are made available they can be grabbed almost instantly.

It is also one of the simplest mobile OS' to learn and use thanks to its icon based system, control centre (that can be accessed with a swipe up from the bottom from the screen) and a very unified feel.

Apple's guidelines on how to make apps fit in with the iOS7 style really means that moving from apps from different developers doesn't come with a massive jump.

Android is completely different thanks to the open source nature. Sony has had its chance to throw on many tweaks including a revamped notification centre than gives access to the same quick toggles that are found in Apple's Control Centre, as well as coming with a dedicated app drawer and widgets.

Widgets are possibly one of the biggest draws to Android as they allow access to a plethora of information without having to physically open up an app. Another area that Android excels is its almost infinite customisability. Don't like the keyboard app? Get a new one. Don't like the SMS app? Fine another that suits your needs.

In all there is a lot on offer from both OS' with both making an equally strong case. The simplicity of iOS tends to lend itself more to younger and older audiences thanks to its ease of use with the Sony's OS more appropriate to more intense users that want to be able to change things and at the drop of a hat.

Performance and Storage

In terms of performance there is little to choose from. Looking at the sheer specs you would think that Xperia Z1 Compact would completely blow the iPhone 5C out of the water. This isn't the case though thanks to the way iOS7 has been built.

As we said, specs wise the Xperia Z1 wins hands down thanks to a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU that pumps out 2.2GHz of goodness backed up by 2GB or RAM. Apple's iPhone appears to lag a fair bit behind, graced instead with Apple's dual-core 1.3GHz CPU A6 chip and 1GB RAM.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
A lot of power inside

In day to day use the iPhone doesn't suffer though. Swiping between home screens is equally fluid, as is opening up the messaging app or calendar. Even casual gaming is as smooth on both handsets.

Storage wise both the Xperia Z1 Compact and the iPhone 5C come out relatively even. Both come in 16GB options with Apple also providing a 32GB option should you decide that you want a little more storage for your vast music or film collection.

Apple iPhone 5C
Great power squeezed from lower specs

Instead of offering a larger storage option the Sony offers microSD support instead. This does give the Japanese handset a slight advantage as the meagre 16GB can be boosted to a pretty massive 80GB, a whole 64GB extra.

Colours

One area that both the iPhone 5C and the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact can compete is in their wide range of colours. The plastic build of the iPhone means that Apple offer it in five colours to show off your personality, as well as coming with some equally bright 'Connect 4' style cases.

iPhone 5C
The 'colourful' cases

Should you opt for it, there are white, blue, green, yellow or pink versions of the iPhone 5C. Interestingly there is no black version, but it's clear that the iPhone 5C is being targeted at a younger audience that is unlikely to want a boring black handset.

Z1 Compact
All the colours on show

The black and white versions of the Xperia Z1 Compact both come with the industrial feel that accompanies the more premium feeling Sony, although there is also the ability to get the Xperia in a lime green (which looks almost yellow in most cases) or pink hue.

These are less suited for the business professional but seem much better for students.

Verdict

The choice between an Xperia Z1 Compact and iPhone 5C won't ever be an easy one. The larger camera of the Xperia makes it far more appropriate to those that are looking for a true replacement to the compact camera that they have to carry around.

This is something that we can see being essential to property surveyors or other professionals.

The Sony is also more appropriate to those that want to be able to heavily customise their handset or who want to play more intense games on the more powerful CPU.

There is little doubt that the Sony is targeted towards the professional market in its black or white colours but also has enough appeal for a younger audience with its pink and green hues.

Apple however has taken a far different tack. Where Sony has offered a shrunk down offering of the Xperia Z1, Apple has taken what makes its flagship so popular and wrapped it up in a cheaper chassis and aimed it at a market that might otherwise have been unable to get its hands on the iPhone 5S, although the Sony Xperia Z1 is cheaper to own.

This is highlighted by the plastic build which is comfortable in smaller hands, the rounded edges not being as industrial and sharp, as well as the bright colours of the chassis that will help the handset stand out against the sea of black mobiles.

The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact caters to every market with its more premium feel and will always target the more professional and more intense user, but if you're looking for something that keeps things more colourful and simple, the iPhone is likely to be your best bet - especially if you want a larger and better equipped apps store (but only just).