Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Sony Xperia Z1 vs Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Sony Xperia Z Ultra vs Sony Xperia Z1 vs Sony Xperia Z1 Compact: Which one should you choose?
Bigger is better... right?

When out browsing for a new mobile device chances are you've stumbled across Sony's Xperia range; you can't fail to miss the Xperia Z Ultra stretching across 6.44 inches of phone shop wall.

In a Samsung like bid to take on the market in all its shapes and sizes, Sony has created an Xperia line up featuring the leviathan Z Ultra, the more moderately sized flagship Xperia Z1 and the baby of the bunch, the Xperia Z1 Compact.

If you're struggling to decide which of these well designed handsets is best for you, you've come to the right place as we take a look at how they all compare.


When looking at the three handsets it is clear that the biggest difference in design is the sheer size of the varying screens.

The biggest of the three is the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, measuring in at a whopping 179.4 x 92.2mm yet manages to measure only 6.5 mm deep.

This makes it a lot larger than the Xperia Z1 with its 144.4 x 73.9 x 8.5mm frame and the much smaller 127 x 64.9 x 9.5mm Xperia Z1 Compact.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra vs Sony Xperia Z1 vs Sony Xperia Z1 Compact: Which one should you choose?

Elsewhere the Sony hansets all follow the same design DNA with a large black glass front surrounded by a coloured metal band and matching coloured all glass back.

All of the Xperia phones here come in black and white, with the larger Xperia Z Ultra and Z1 also coming in a fetching purple hue.

Owners of the Xperia Z1 Compact are treated to a slightly wider range with purple being omitted for a choice between lime green or pink. If choosing a phone based on colour is vitally important, you might be a little limited.

Sony has managed to pull off a very industrial theme throughout its range; big black glass rectangles with sharp edges contrasting well with the metal chassis.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

The Sony Xperia Z Ultra is the big daddy

This sleek design is particularly impressive on the Z Ultra as it comes in exceptionally thin making it deceptively easy to hold, in two hands that is.

That extra size on the Xperia Z Ultra does come at a cost though with it sitting awkwardly in one hand, though we'd recommend the use of a Bluetooth headset.

Not only does it make calling easier, it also means you won't look ridiculous when making that all important phone call.

Sony Xperia Z1

You can take any of the phones for a quick dip

The smaller sizing of the Xperia Z1 and Z1 Compact lend themselves to easier one handed use, but even the Xperia Z1 sits a little uncomfortably in a single hand.

This does mean you can use the Xperia Z1 and Z1 Compact more inconspicuously, with fewer eyes drawn to their smaller stature.

Those with smaller hands (or smaller pockets) may find themselves best suited to the more diminutive Xperia Z1 Compact.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is the baby of the bunch

One of Sony's biggest design successes is the way that it has covered the microSD and SIM trays, whilst at the same time waterproofing the external speakers and headphone port; all three devices have IP58 dust and waterproof certification.

If anyone is in doubt as to what the Xperia Z Ultra is for, the positioning of the headphone jack should be enough to highlight that it's best used in landscape mode for watching movies.

The top mounted jack on the Xperia Z1 and Z1 Compact lends itself more to music whilst your phone is sat in your pocket.


All that talk of headphone placement might make you think the Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z1 Compact are unsuitable for watching movies, but that's far from the case.

With its 6.44-inch screen, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra manages to tower over nigh on every handset on the market let alone the 5-inch Xperia Z1 and the 4.3-inch Xperia Z1 Compact making it far more comfortable for watching movies on.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra vs Sony Xperia Z1 vs Sony Xperia Z1 Compact: Which one should you choose?

It even comes in as a full HD 1080 x 1920 pixel display meaning a iPhone beating pixel density of 344ppi making watching movies a dream, although lacking the razor sharp picture quality that a full HD 5-inch screen packs.

The Xperia Z1 comes with the same 1080 x 1920 resolution, but it's packed in much tighter giving an impressive 441ppi. This adds the benefit of making images seem much clearer and text far crisper.

A little disappointingly, Sony hasn't kept the full HD screen on the Xperia Z1 Compact, but then again that would have been wishful thinking.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

The Xperia Z1 Compacy misses out on full HD

Instead Sony has fitted a HD 720p (720 x 1280) screen giving a ppi of 342. That's almost identical to the Xperia Z Ultra.

One area that the Xperia Z1 Compact excels in the screen department is the ability to use the screen while wearing gloves. Although this presents a rather annoying circle on screen, this is a feature that we can see being really important for those that live in less sunnier climes.

The more diminutive stature also means that typing on the Xperia Z1 Compact's screen is a lot easier one or two handed; certainly more than wide enough to cope with the larger digits.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Love mobile gaming? Check out the Z Ultra

For those looking to play mobile games downloaded off the Play Store or from PlayStation Mobile, all three handsets will connect (via a separately purchased) USB cable to a DualShock 3 controller that is found with the Sony PlayStation 3.

This means that you won't have to fork out for a separate Bluetooth controller, although is a little harder to use given that there is no dock to sit your phone in.

Streaming via screen mirroring to a smart enabled TV or monitor makes the whole premise seem a little less ridiculous, and the full HD displays of the Z Ultra and Z1 come in really handy here.