Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review

The best small-form-factor Android returns

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Anything else I should know? 

  • Top end performance with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and 4GB of RAM
  • Limited storage with only a 32GB model on sale
  • One of the first phones to come with Android Oreo right out of the box

It may be small, but the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact is powerful, with a Snapdragon 835 chip and 4GB of RAM on board. These specs earn the phone some immediate future-proof cred.

It puts the Compact right up there with the Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6, HTC U11 and Huawei P10 in terms of pure power, which is certainly impressive.

We ran the phone through Geekbench 4 and it came out with an impressive score of 6,500, one that’s reflected in everyday performance as well as intensive usage, such as when gaming or multi-tasking.

We haven’t found XZ1 Compact to be as powerful as the Sony Xperia XZ1, and it’s slightly behind the OnePlus 5 or Honor 9 in terms of benchmarking, but this is still one of the most powerful phones on the market, and you really won’t be disappointed with its performance.

Inside you'll also find 32GB of storage, which these days doesn’t feel particularly generous. You can expand on this with a microSD card, but it would have been ncie if Sony had offered 64GB of storage as standard, like it did on the Xperia XZ1.

The Xperia XZ1 Compact launches with Android Oreo onboard, and it’s one of the first phones to be available with the new software. Sony’s own UI sits over the top and it's great to have the latest version of Android at use here.

Hopefully this indicates that Sony is keen to keep the phone up to date with subsequent versions of Android too, so you should be future-proofed for a few years.

The UI itself can look a little dated, but it’s much improved over the Sony phones we’ve seen in the past. There are a few unnecessary pieces of Sony software included, such as the PlayStation or What’s New apps, but these can be deleted if you want to free up the space on your device.

Like its larger sibling, the Xperia XZ1 Compact also comes with Sony’s new 3D Creator application, which enables you to quickly and easily take 3D scans of faces, heads, food and random objects on your phone, and then save, share on social media and even 3D-print your creations.

It’ll take you a while to get the hang of the process, but it’s a fun tool to play around with once you’ve made one. Below you can see a video in which we try out the feature on the Xperia XZ1.

Among other things is means you can map your friend’s face, put their likeness into silly videos and send it to your friends as either a GIF or MP4. There’s not much else you can do with these scans, but it's another entertaining feature.

We hope it’s a feature that Sony will one day bring to the PlayStation 4, so that, for example, you’d be able to play a game with your face on your character.

Like the XZ Premium, the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact brings support for Hi-Res audio, and is even capable of upscaling MP3 tracks to sound better through a decent set of headphones.

When using such heaphones with the phone there’s a notable difference in audio quality compared to other handsets.

There are also dual-firing speakers on the front of the phone, which makes for great audio performance when you’re listening to music or watching videos on your phone. If audio quality is a key feature for you, this is another reason to buy the Xperia XZ1 Compact.

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.