Our Verdict

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact is a small and powerful albeit a chunky phone. It's the best option available to consumers that prefer a small phone.

For

  • Solid camera
  • Great performance
  • Sharp screen

Against

  • Could go on a diet
  • No headphone jack
  • Selfie camera isn’t great

Almost all new flagship phones have large screens and require two hands to us. Middle Eastern consumers looking for smaller but equally powerful phones have only had one option- the Xperia Compact. 

And when Sony chose to not bring that to the Middle East last year, many people were left disappointed. Thankfully Sony has made a u turn on their decision and the Xperia XZ2 Compact is on sale across the UAE.

If you want top specs and a phone that won’t stretch your fingers or your pocket lining, the Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact is one of your best options, as you don’t see hardware this impressive in other phones with 5-inch screens.

Its camera and chipset will smoke those of just about any other phone this size, but unless you go pixel-peeping at its photos or notice the milliseconds it shaves off app loads, you can get a similar experience for under half the price.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact price and availability

  • Costs AED 2,599
  • Available now

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact is one of Sony’s top phones for 2018. It was announced at the MWC conference in February 2018, alongside its big brother the Sony Xperia XZ2.

It's now available through power retailers in the UAE and costs what used to be the standard price for a high-end phone, before the ceiling rose to accommodate mobiles like the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. In short, you’ll have to shell out AED 2,399 for it.

There aren't many direct rivals for the XZ2 Compact. No other big phone brand makes Android phones this small with top-end components. Google does make the Pixel in a 5-inch screen but that doesn't make it to the Middle East either.

Key features

  • Compact build with high-end specs
  • Strong 19MP camera

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact shares many features with the larger, more expensive Xperia XZ2. It’s what makes this small phone so unusual.

These features include Qualcomm’s top-end Snapdragon 845 chipset, a 19MP camera, 64GB of storage and a screen capable of playing HDR video. That’s the kind of footage you might watch on a high-end TV.

You simply don’t get this sort of hardware in other phones this small. Your closest option from Samsung is the Galaxy S9, which is a little wider and a lot longer, though considerably thinner.

This combination of top-quality internals and a small frame is exactly what some are after. 

This is a great phone for the right buyer, particularly as Sony has made real improvements to the camera performance this year. Well, aside from the front camera, which is surprisingly unremarkable. However, you do have to care, a lot, about its small, cuddly frame.

Design

  • Tubby and rounded rather than blocky
  • Plastic back doesn’t feel that expensive
  • Fingerprint reader yes, headphone jack no

Most phone-makers try to make their handsets as thin as they can. The design goal of the Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact is not about thinness. Where other flagships stand at 8mm, the XZ2 feels rather chunky at over 12mm.

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact has the silhouette of a phone with a 4.5-inch screen. Its actual display measures five inches across, but this is only because it has a 'longer' 18:9 aspect display, like so many recent phones.

Screen shape aside, using the Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact is a pleasant callback to years past, when we didn’t have to stretch our thumbs. This has been the key appeal of Sony’s Compact phones since the series began in 2013.

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact’s design is different to the Xperia XZ1 Compact, though. It’s no longer a rectangular brick, using much smoother curves across its back for a palm-hugging feel.

It’s oddly similar to the style of the very first Motorola Moto G, an instantly lovable budget classic. The obvious issue: that was a much cheaper phone.

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact has a plastic back, which doesn't necessarily give it an immediately impressive feel. Its sides are aluminum, but the feel is defined by the smooth, plastic curves.

Considering its thickness, it is disappointing the Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact does not have a headphone jack. You have to use wireless headphones or a little adaptor (included) that plugs into the USB-C socket on the bottom. It’s as clear a sign as any that phones with 3.5mm sockets are headed for extinction.

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact does have water resistance, though. It’s IP68 certified, meaning it can be dropped in water without damage.

There’s also a fingerprint scanner on the back, which has moved from Sony’s traditional side position in the Xperia XZ1 Compact. A rear scanner is more convenient.

Screen

  • 18:9 screen cuts down wasted space
  • Ultra-saturated color
  • Very bright

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact’s display is another aspect changed for this year. It’s an 18:9 aspect screen, leaving smaller screen-less borders at its top and bottom.

It is also a much higher-spec display than the XZ1 Compact’s. That phone has a 720p resolution. This is a wide Full HD screen, with a resolution of 1080 x 2160. It’s very sharp, with density of 483 pixels per inch.

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact also has the spec bragging points of the larger Xperia XZ2. It supports HDR, and Sony’s X-Reality engine upscales standard dynamic range content to HDR too.

Sure enough the screen has extremely vibrant color, excellent maximum brightness and great contrast for an LCD, although when tilted there is some visible greying of blacks.

If you find the out-of-the-box color too vibrant, or not vivid enough, you can change it too. The standard mode is a great balance of saturation and accuracy, but the Xperia XZ2 Compact also has a relaxed-looking sRGB mode and a Super Vivid one, dripping in color.

Such tech does seem wasted on such a small display, though. Watching Netflix or a long YouTube video is going to be more fun on a larger but poorer 6-inch screen than a high-end 5-inch one like this. 

Also factor in that most content is at 16:9 ratio, that leaves the extreme left and right parts of the screen unused, effectively reverting to a 4.5-inch-ish display size for watching media.