April 25, 2014

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Review

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Review

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Review Scoring Summary

Style & Handling
User Friendliness
Feature Set
Battery Power
Overall Score 4G.co.uk grey star

Pros Cons
 High-end specification  Little on the chunky side
 Premium compact design Subpar low-light camera performance
 Great display  No Android KitKat  out of the box
 Good battery life
Verdict: Sony has raised their game once again with the Xperia Z1 Compact. It’s easily the best compact Android smartphone on the market and one of the most powerful, feature-packed smartphones in the world today.

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Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Full Review

While most companies also slim down the specs when slimming down their flagships, Sony hacked a good chunk of the size off the Xperia Z1 but kept the specs intact. The upshot? This is a (relatively) compact phone with top tier internals. That’s a rarity these days and almost totally unheard of in Android land, but it’s likely to come much appreciated by fans of smaller phones.

So is that all the Xperia Z1 Compact did right or does it have other things going for it too?

Small Size, Big Power

The Xperia Z1 Compact might be smaller than its big brother but it’s not tiny, as it comes with a 4.3 inch screen, which is slightly bigger than what you’d find on the iPhone 5S. That screen by the way is a 720 x 1280 IPS LCD display with a pixel density of 342 pixels per inch.

That’s only 720p then but it still has a higher pixel density than the iPhone 5S with its much hyped retina display. It’s a good quality screen too, with strong colours and good viewing angles.

No corners were cut when it came to powering the Xperia Z1 Compact. It has a 2.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM. Sony has since topped that with the Xperia Z2, but even so those are some high end specs and aren’t likely to struggle for a long time to come.

Premium Build

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Review

The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact has a premium build, with a metal frame and glass back. It looks and feels every bit a high end phone. Yet it’s not a design that we’re totally in love with. At 127 x 64.9 x 9.5mm it’s quite chunky and with its very rectangular look it can seem quite blocky too.

It’s not a terrible build by any means though, as we’d still take that over the plastic constructions of most handsets. Plus the Xperia Z1 Compact is IP58 certified dust and water resistant, so it’s well protected.


Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Review

Sony seems to have really got cameras down. The Xperia Z1 Compact comes with a 20.7 megapixel snapper. It doesn’t fare brilliantly in poor lighting but the rest of the time the Xperia Z1 Compact is more than capable of getting some good shots and the inclusion of a dedicated shutter button doesn’t hurt matters either.

It can also shoot 1080p video at 30fps and there’s a 2 megapixel camera on the front for selfies.


Sony takes a less is more approach to Android interfaces and it pays off. While the company does place its own skin and features over stock Android they’re minimal and unintrusive, letting you enjoy Android as it’s meant to be. Which means it’s intuitive and has a clean look.

Speaking of Android, the Xperia Z1 Compact launched with version 4.3, but it’s now upgradeable to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, taking it right up to date.

Battery Life, Memory and Connectivity

The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact has a 2300 mAh battery, which promises a standby time of up to 600 hours, a talk time of up to 18 hours or a music playback time of up to 94 hours. In short it’s pretty long lasting and it lives up to those stats in every day use.

The likes of the LG G2 and Samsung Galaxy S5 top it but light users can expect to go two days between charges and even a heavy user would be hard pushed to drain the battery in a single day.

For memory, the Xperia Z1 Compact has 16GB built in and it also has a microSD card slot with support for cards of up to 64GB. We’d have liked to see a little bit more built in, but with a microSD card slot it doesn’t matter too much.

The Xperia Z1 Compact has a bunch of connectivity options, including 3G, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC, so it’s not really lacking there. The only thing we can think of that it’s missing is an infrared port but we’d argue that for most users they’re little more than a novelty.

Our Verdict

The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is a terrific little phone and little is the key word, because while most high end handsets are also pretty large this keeps the dimensions small, making it ideal for all the people who don’t actually want a huge screen but don’t want to be stuck with a mid range phone as a result.

That’s easily the best thing about it, but the Z1 Compact isn’t just coasting on size. It’s also well built, with a water and dust resistant body, has a fantastic camera, just as long as the lighting is good and has pretty decent battery life. Just like the Xperia Z2 and Xperia Z1 then it’s a great all rounder and Sony should be applauded for keeping the key features and specs intact for this mini outing.

We still think Sony should rethink the design of its phones a little and while it’s got high end specs they’re not quite top end, but on the whole the Xperia Z1 Compact is fantastic and it has very little competition, especially among Android handsets.

Right now in fact you can’t do better if you want a combination of small size and big power while running Android. If you’re a little more OS agnostic then the iPhone 5S is worth considering, but that’s just about the only thing the Xperia Z1 Compact needs to worry about right now, which shows how under served this segment of the market is.

So buy it, and love the feeling of having a high end phone that doesn’t break your pockets.

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Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Specification

Dimensions 127 x 64.9 x 9.5mm

Weight: 137g

Screen size: 4.3 inch display

Screen Resolution: 1280 * 720 pixels

Pixels Per Inch (PPI) : 342

Processor: 2.2 Ghz Quad-core processor


Battery capacity :  2300 mAh

Onboard Memory: 16GB (microSD support)

Camera :  20.7 mega-pixel camera

Operating system: Android Jelly Bean

Ultrafast / 3G / 4G LTE : Yes / Yes / Yes

Bluetooth / NFC : Yes / Yes

IP58 Certification: Waterproof and dustproof

Colours : Black, White , Pink and Lime

Launch Date:  Out Now

Price : £450