Interface and reliability

Sony's twist on Android Nougat is in full effect here. If you've used an Xperia phone before, you know the deal. But if not, here's what you need to know: it's gorgeous and outright helpful sometimes, with the Xperia Lounge offering tips and exclusive wallpapers, among other goodies.

It offers up its take on the familiar stock apps, like messaging, music player, and a calendar, but those who already have an allegiance to a set of trusty apps are likely not to find reasons convincing enough to switch away from them.

Sony Xperia X Compact

Music, movies and gaming

  • Screen resolution is on the low side, but looks vibrant and sharp
  • MicroSD and 3.5mm jack means that your entertainment knows no limits

Sony's smartphones are usually equipped to deliver a superb multimedia experience, and the Xperia X Compact doesn't fall far from the tree.

Starting with the screen, Sony has injected its 720p screen - which looks totally fine because of its small, 4.6-inch size - with the company's own Triluminos and X-Reality tech, resulting in balanced color and contrast, and a picture that's surprisingly sharp.

Sony Xperia X Compact

Listening to music through the X Compact is a relatively standard experience, unless you're used to the 3.5mm-less iPhone 7, and if you're an audiophile, you'll like that Sony's custom music app allows you to listen to high-resolution music files, such as FLAC and LPCM. The front-facing speakers sound decent, though their tinny output will have you reaching for headphones in no time.

The Xperia X Compact comes with 32GB of onboard storage by default, and lets you increase the capacity by way of its microSD card slot. Downloading extra games, music and movies won't be an issue.

Sony Xperia X Compact

As this small phone is stocked with a decent amount of power and the full suite of expected sensors, it can handle gaming easily. Whether you play a game that requires tilt, or one that demands power, the X Compact doesn't break a sweat - even when we thought it would.

Specs and benchmark performance explained

  • This year's Compact has more RAM, but a toned-down chipset
  • Even so, the performance defies its small size and can stand up to demanding tasks

The Sony Xperia X Compact's specs are somehow a little better and a little worse than Sony Xperia Z5 Compact.

Worse in the sense that the chipset has received a core-count downgrade, down from the octa-core Snapdragon 810 to a hexa-core Snapdragon 650. But it's not all bad.

After a little digging, we discovered that the 650 actually houses two ARM Cortex-A72 cores, which promise double the performance and better efficiency than what's delivered by four of the mid-range-targeted A57 cores used in the 810 architecture. All told, the 810 still achieves better numbers due to the sheer number of cores, but the 650 accomplishes a heck of a lot with less. Point being, the drop of two cores won't impact many.

Sony Xperia X Compact

As stated earlier, playing our favorite games is something that the X Compact can do well, and Sony has boosted the RAM count up from 2GB to 3GB to keep things smooth into 2017. This is where things are looking better.

We put the Sony Xperia X Compact through GeekBench 4 to see how it performs compared to some of today's top contenders. It put up an average multi-core score of 3,331, which puts it - not too surprisingly given the research detailed above - not too far back from the Snapdragon 810-toting Nexus 6P that scored 3,445. Of course, the Samsung Galaxy S7 spanked them both with its Snapdragon 820 and a score of 3,880.

Despite our initial worry, we aren't left with performance that suffers greatly because of the chipset downgrade, but we're still puzzled why the substitution was made. Maybe we'll find out in the upcoming battery section.