Sony Xperia Z1 Compact review

Is the solution to the Z1 conundrum to make it smaller?

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The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is a phone that looks Mini but packs a Mighty punch. The key thing to realise here is that it's a phone that isn't a rival to the mid-range market, but a brilliant example of a smartphone for those that don't want a massive screen.

So what of the rivals - how does it compare to the cream of the competition?

The one they all want to be

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact review
I wanna be the very best, the best there ever was

Chances are that if you're looking at purchasing the Xperia Z1 Compact, you will have at least thought about buying an iPhone 6. Apple's handsets are well known for their media capabilities, as well as the wide range of apps on Apple's App Store.

There is no doubt that despite the many leaps and bounds that the Android Play Store has made, and the inclusion of the PlayStation store, that the App Store is ahead in terms of app population and app quality.

Apple has also managed to create a really tight ecosystem that syncs together almost perfectly; apps and data sync from iPhones to iPads to iMacs and MacBooks, making them more useful for people who hop between devices.

The iPhone 6 falters when it comes to screen resolution though, with the Xperia Z1 Compact managing to pack a 720p display into a similar size, making it more pleasant for watching movies and playing games. It is also easier to hold with its rounder edges, and is waterproof.

The iPhone 6 packs a resolution of 750 x 1334 into a 4.7-inch display, resulting in a pixel density of 326ppi (pixels per inch). The Xperia Z1 Compact fits a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels into a 4.3-inch display with a higher pixel density of 342ppi. The higher the pixel density, the sharper the image quality.

The big rival

Samsung S5

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is currently retailing at a very similar price tag to the Xperia Z1 Compact, even though it's more recent than Sony's offering. On the whole it seems that you may be getting more for your money with the Samsung too.

Its larger and higher res screen make it ideal for watching movies and for heavy web browsing, but also put a larger strain on the battery. The Galaxy S5 was a device that was built with media consumption in mind; media creation appears to have been put more on the back foot.

This means that the Xperia Z1 Compact beats the Galaxy S5 hands down when it comes to image capture.

The high-end specs also mean that it comes with slightly more powerful innards, although day to day use is largely fairly similar. Its smaller stature makes the Sony easier to hold, and the glass/metal construction also make it seem more fitting of a more premium price tag.

Sony's miniature marvel also excels in terms of battery life thanks to the Snapdragon 800 chip powering things along.

The Minis

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact review
Good things come in small packages

With smaller screened and baby flagships proving to be one of the hottest areas of the mobile market, the Xperia Z1 Compact has a true fight on its hands in the form of the superb Samsung Galaxy S5 Miniand the HTC One Mini 2.

On paper the Z1 Compact has the beatings of both handsets; with double the number of cores, a lot more RAM and a better screen, be it quality or resolution. Both the HTC One Mini 2 and the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini sport 720p screens, but the Xperia Z1's screen is no match for Samsung's Super AMOLED offering.

Camera-wise the Xperia also smashes the S5 Mini and the One Mini 2, dwarfing the 8MP and 13MP found in those respective handsets. The HTC has the beating of the Z1 Compact in low light situations, though, as it captures more light with those larger pixels.

The HTC One Mini 2 does not come waterproofed either, although all these extra features on the Z1 Compact do mean that it comes with a heftier price tag.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported64 GB
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, UMTS, HSPA+
SAR Value0.74 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyXperia Z1 Compact
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1700, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution20.7 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD, microSD Extended Capacity (microSDXC)
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSony Mobile
Battery Talk Time18 Hour
Screen Size10.9 cm (4.3")
Screen Resolution1280 x 720
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)137 g
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.3 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density342 ppi
Front Camera Resolution2 Megapixel
SIM Size SupportedMicro
Height127 mm
Width64.9 mm
Depth9.5 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time670 Hour
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product NameXperia Z1 Compact Smartphone
Processor Speed2.20 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon 800
Product LineXperia Z1 Compact
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Digital Compass, Proximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part Number1279-5054
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Introducing the Xperia Z1 Compact

The Xperia Z1 Compact is everything you expect in a premium smartphone, beautifully crafted to fit perfectly in the palm of your hand. Capture stunningly beautiful photos and videos using the same technology as featured in our compact digital cameras. Easily move all your valuable content from your smartphone to your new Xperia Z1 Compact with Xperia™ Transfer. Best of all, the Xperia Z1 Compact is waterproof* and comes in a range of colours.

Standard Memory2 GB