Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review

The best small-form-factor Android returns

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The Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact is a promising step forward for the popular one-handed-use series.

The price is a touch higher than we’d hoped for, but there are still a lot of reasons to recommend this capable and pocketable smartphone as your next handset. 

The fact that it’s one of the most powerful phones on the market, and is running Android Oreo software, are just a couple of the big highlights of this phone.

Who’s it for?

The Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact is the phone for you if you’re looking for a compact device that offers high-end spec and runs Android software.

Sony is the only company making handsets with screens this small that can still keep pace with the big, high-end handsets, and the Xperia XZ1 Compact is even more powerful than its close riva, the iPhone SE.

This phone is also a great buy if you’re looking for a phone that’s running the latest Android software, as the Oreo update is ready and waiting for you.

Unlike Pixel handsets it’s not running stock Android O, but you’ll get all the benefits of the newest software and it means your phone is fairly well future-proofed too.

Should I buy it?

The Xperia XZ1 Compact isn’t a cheap phone. It sits at the high end of the mid-range price bracket, meaning it’s competing with handsets like the OnePlus 5 or Honor 9 for your money, but it is the only phone right now with top specs and a smaller display.

If you genuinely think you’ll be disappointed with the screen resolution this may not be the best phone for you, but we found the display to be bright, and packing enough pixels to make everything look good.

The impressive battery life of the Xperia XZ1 Compact is something we haven’t seen from many flagship phones in recent years. It lasts for at least a day of intensive usage, which is some of the best battery life on a modern smartphone.


Here are a few alternative handsets to consider if you’re not certain that the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact is for you.

Honor 9

One of our favorite small-form-factor Android handsets is the Honor 9. It comes with a 5.1-inch display, which is just below the screen size of the larger Sony Xperia XZ1, although the phone itself is smaller than the Sony handset.

It also comes with a particularly powerful dual-sensor rear camera, a premium-feel glass design and plenty of other high-end features, as we’ve come to expect from flagship Honor devices.

iPhone SE

The iPhone SE is still holding onto the small screen of the iPhone 5S, and every handset from Apple before that. It has a 4-inch screen, which is even smaller than the one on the Xperia XZ1 Compact, and runs iOS software.

If you’re embedded in the iOS ecosystem, the iPhone SE is the best small phone to go – even though it’s now getting on a bit it looks great and runs smoothly.

OnePlus 5T

The OnePlus 5T has a much larger display that the Xperia XZ1 Compact – in fact, you may find it too large at 6-inches – but it does come at a similar price.

It has a dual-lens rear camera that we’ve found takes more impressive shots than the Xperia XZ1 Compact’s shooter, and the metal body feels a touch more premium than Sony’s offering.

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.