Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review

The best small-form-factor Android returns

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  • Same size battery as the larger Xperia XZ1 with a 2,700mAh cell
  • We found it would last a full day of intensive usage
  • Fast-charging tech is impressive, but no wireless charging

The 2,700mAh battery in the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact may not sound that generous on paper, but thanks to the phone’s smaller 4.6-inch display coupled with the improved power efficiency of the Snapdragon 835 chipset and Android Oreo software, it offers impressive stamina.

It’s the same cell as in the Xperia XZ1, but as here it’s only powering a 720p display it performs much better than it does in the larger phone.

During our testing we never found the battery dying on us before the end of the day. Even with extensive use we found it would last a full day, and still have around 10% left in the tank when we plugged it in at night.

Compared to a lot of top-end Android phones at the moment that is some phenomenal battery life, and while it doesn’t hit the two-day heights of the Moto E4 Plus, it also doesn’t have a heavy and stocky battery inside.

Putting the Xperia XZ1 Compact through our standard battery test, which involves playing a 90-minute video with the screen brightness at maximum and accounts syncing over Wi-Fi in the background, we found it dropped down to 83%.

Despite the phone having a wireless charging-friendly plastic material back, Sony hasn’t incorporated wireless charging in the Xperia XZ1 Compact, and considering Apple’s new focus on the technology it’s a shame Sony hasn't decided to do the same.

Wireless charging is becoming increasingly commonplace in the latest phones, so it would have been a smart move by Sony to include it here.

There is at least fast-charging tech on offer with the Xperia XZ1 Compact, which should mean your phone is pumped up to 50% from zero in half an hour or so. We found this worked as advertised, and the switch to USB-C tech is a great move from Sony.


  • Uses a 19MP rear sensor that comes with slow-mo capabilities seen in the Xperia XZ Premium
  • 8MP front-facing camera with wide-angle lens, that's great for selfies full of people

The XZ1 Compact also boasts the same 19MP rear-facing camera as the larger Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ Premium.

This means it has a sensor that’s capable of super slow-mo video recording at 960 frames per second. This feature is by far the highlight of the camera, and it’s a great extra little feature to play with.

We managed to get some fantastic slow-mo shots, and they’ll beat anything you can shoot on the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy Note 8. That said, this feature does have a very limited use case.

There’s also a mode called Predictive Camera where it burst shoots three images before you press the camera shutter, and it does this through smile-detection technology. It should mean if you shake slightly you'll hopefully still get a non-blurry shot, but that’s also because of Sony’s fast auto-focus technology too.

In terms of everyday camera use, we found the 19MP sensor would shoot some impressive photos but would struggle with low-light photography. If you’re shooting at night the photos can sometimes become quite grainy.

Landscapes shot in good light came looked good, although not as impressive as we'd hope for from such a powerful camera.

There’s also an 8MP front-facing snapper on the XZ1 Compact. Sony is aiming this phone very much at the social media/selfie generation, and the front-facing camera is a key component of its appeal.

It offers a super-wide mode that gives you a 120-degree field of view, which is similar to that of our eyes and allows you to cram more of your buddies, or the beautiful vista behind you, into the shot.

We found ourselves using this mode frequently, as it gives your selfies a different style, but it’ll become genuinely useful if you’re shooting a group of mates or you’re in front of an impressive landscape.

You can switch between this wide-angle view and a more typical 80-degree option that's perfect for those close-up Instagram pouts and Snapchat Stories.

The front camera also offers video recording, and if you find yourself in a dim bar you can employ the help of the display flash – this turns the phone’s screen bright white when you hit the shutter key to ensure that your selfies aren’t a blurry, dark mess.

Camera samples

James Peckham

James is the Editor-in-Chief at Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.