While maximum small smartphones compromise on hardware and specs, the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact is one of the rare smartphones on the market that gives a flagship expertise in a diminutive size. The XZ1 Compact uses all of the essential elements of the standard Xperia XZ1 and places them in a smaller and simple to use form factor, but it still arrives with a full-sized price tag. Let’s dig deep for its specs and features in our Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review.
What We Like?
- Small form factor
- Running Android Oreo
- Top-notch performance
What We Don’t?
- Only 32GB of storage
- Tired design
- No wireless charging
Highlights Of Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact Review
Here’s a brief look at the specs and unique features of Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review.
- Sony’s Xperia XZ1 Compact is the scantier variant of its Xperia XZ1 handset.
- It has a teeny small 4.6in 1,280 x 720 display, shifts into any pocket with cinch.
- It’s considerably cheaper than its elder sibling.
- It doesn’t skimp on the specifications, though, including Qualcomm’s latest and excellent
- Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, which is expandable via microSD card by up to 256GB.
- There’s also a 19-megapixel camera on the rear, which supports Sony’s new 3D scanning tech.
- Compact runs Android 8 Oreo with Sony’s launcher software plastered on top.
- Sony has packed the same 2,700mAh battery into the Xperia XZ1 Compact as you’ll find in the XZ1.
For years, we have been daydreaming about a small, genuinely premium Android phone. Sony is taking it to us. The Xperia XZ1 Compact ($599.99 unlocked) is the original sub-5-inch, the no-compromise Android device in ages. Along with its elder sibling, the Xperia XZ1, the Compact is positioned as the best one-handed phone for anyone into 3D printing, with a really cool 3D-scanning app that will eventually let you share 3D photos on Facebook. It’s also powered by a screaming-fast Snapdragon 835 processor, making it the most potent small Android phone you can get.
- Review Price: £499
- 4.6-inch 720p screen
- Snapdragon 835
- 4GB RAM
- 32GB storage and microSD
- 2700 mAh battery
- Android Oreo
- 19-megapixel camera with face scanning
- 8-megapixel wide-selfie
The Xperia XZ1 Compact, as the name implies, is a smaller variant of Sony’s main flagship, the Xperia XZ1 and as such it inherits many of the similar features and specs. Apart from the phone’s lower size, there are some fundamental contrasts, the most striking being the phone’s design.
Instead of the vagrant and somewhat curvier design of the XZ1, the XZ1 Compact is more evocative of classic Sony designs with a boxier rectangular aspect. There are some sparse tapers all around, but for the most portion, the XZ1 Compact has a smooth surface on all sides and has a slightly aggressive loop design when matched to the XZ1.
The phone’s system is also worth remarking as it’s built chiefly from plastic whereas the XZ1 features an all-metal construction. Notwithstanding the variation in material selections, the XZ1 Compact has a substantial and sturdy texture, and there are traces of metal on the top and bottom shares of the phone that supplement to the phone’s overall build status. The phone’s body is smeared with a non-glossy satin-like polish that provides an excellent grip and doesn’t pull fingerprints.
If it wasn’t clear enough already, the XZ1 Compact’s foremost appeal is that it’s just as compelling as the standard XZ1, only diminutive. This smaller size equalizes to a phone that is an utter breeze to use in one hand.
Many companies are trying to make larger phones shorter by thinning down bezels, but Sony just delivered a smaller phone. While having a small phone can have its shortcomings, it’s incredibly delightful to use a phone that can be operated without two hands or any uncomfortable shuffling just to touch the farthest corners of the screen.
Staying sincere to its name, the XZ1’s small 4.6-inch screen holds the overall size of the device down. But it could have been decreased further had it not been for those annoying bezels at the top and bottom of the phone; which make it seem dated after most other smartphones released in the past six months.
For some time now, my tablet at home has been catching dust due to the availability of various phablets, but I settled up forking it out for some sectional browsing because the experience showed just too fiddly on the small XZ1 Compact.
However, the image quality of the screen is good. The application of LCD over AMOLED advances for better viewing angles, even if shades don’t dart quite as much nor are blacks as murky. Brightness is fair, so I never encountered problems with outdoor visibility during Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review.
A smart backlight control mode stops the display dimming when you’re holding the phone and looking at the display.
Like the elder XZ1, there are three color gamut choices: Standard, Professional, and Super-vivid. The Professional applies the sRGB color space. You won’t be astonished to learn that, unlike the XZ1, the XZ1 Compact gives no HDR support.
What I did miss while testing the XZ1 Compact for Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review; was an always-on display and better handling of incoming notifications. There’s a little notification LED, but it’s effortless to miss. There’s also no way to have the display enabling even instantly to confer an incoming notification.
The XZ1 Compact has a Snapdragon 835 processor under the cover with 4GB of RAM, indicating this small phone doesn’t do any compromises on power. In the AnTuTu benchmark, which includes overall system performance, it totalled a solid 154,837.
That’s a bit unexpected though because the Snapdragon 835 matched with a 720p screen should have benchmarks for breakfast, but the Compact fell somewhat short of the XZ1 (165,553) and Galaxy S8 (173,609). We marked it heating up a bit when running benchmarks and playing games; something we didn’t struggle during Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review. It’s conceivable Sony is restricting the processor to maintain the temperature down.
That said, benchmarks are just bit of the performance story. In actual practice, the XZ1 Compact is active, managing multitasking and demanding games like GTA: San Andreas without any retardation. Usually, you get the same overall performance as the elder sibling. Read on Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review to know more.
Battery life is mediocre. The phone timed 5 hours, 40 minutes when we ran full-screen video over LTE at the full-screen brightness. Compared with the Google Pixel 2 (8 hours, 45 minutes), it’s not individually sufficient for a smaller phone. Luckily, the XZ1 Compact is packed with some battery-saving characteristics that help extend screen time by crippling connectivity and decreasing brightness and performance. Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 is supported for fast charging.
The XZ1 Compact’s 19-megapixel f/2.0 rear camera is identical to the regular XZ1’s and benefits from Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS) for seriously stable video. The excellent “predictive” phase-detect and laser autofocus also make another appearance, for speedy hassle-free shooting in all sorts of lighting conditions.
Given the higher pixel number, images looked much cooler than those taken with the OnePlus 5; capturing lots of detail in complex brickwork and foliage. There was a tenor to over-sharpen the picture which leads to the deterioration of some of the exquisite features, while the low-light performance was satisfactory; if a touch on the noisy side.
How about that 3D scanning tech, then? It’s easy to use: just map a face, head, food or any other thing with the back camera by tailgating the dotted lines that emerge onscreen. You can then re-scan to load in more obscure details with the camera, and tap to affirm when you’re ready to start rendering.
The problem is, despite its simplicity, the results are horribly inconsistent. Face and head scanning can be nice and detailed on occasion, but too often you’re left with a Frankenstein’s Monster of a look, or a mangled burn victim.
Still, it’s impressive that all the fancy post-processing is rendered on the handset itself, without sending it over to a distant server somewhere. And, there’s the likelihood of future integration with Sony’s PlayStation division in the future, which could transform this otherwise gimmicky feature into a more compelling one.
When it comes to the rest of the phone’s hardware; there are no trade-offs here, and the XZ1 Compact arises with every bells and whistle that you would desire on a smartphone. For beginners, there is a 3.5 mm headphone jack and the XZ1 Compact gives the typical slew of audio capabilities as previous Sony phones including Sony’s proprietary DSEE HX technology that will upscale compressed music files for a closer to Hi-Res sound. There’s also built-in support for other high-resolution audio codecs such as LDAC.
The XZ1 Compact also features dual front-facing stereo speakers giving the phone’s small top and bottom bezels a determination. The speakers are audible with no deformity, but clearly, lack of volume contrasted to other phones with a front facing speaker setup.
For storage, the phone is available in only one storage capacity at 32 GB but, if you want more, there is a microSD card slot with support for up to 256 GB of added storage. IP68 dust and water resistance are also on board, giving the phone protection against the occasional splash in the rain or submersion.
The phone does feature a fingerprint sensor on the side mounted power key but, like the last several generations of Sony devices; the U.S models has no fingerprint snesors. It’s something we’ve now become habitual to with Sony phones, but it’s still baffling that U.S. consumers don’t have access to this feature.
Despite the phone’s smaller size, the battery room is still the same 2700 mAh power pack as the standard XZ1. This seems small for a phone in 2017, but it has demonstrated itself to be more than enough in our Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review. Plus, the lower resolution 720p display makes a significant impact on the phone’s longevity.
When it comes to software, Sony currently has a huge leg up as the XZ1 Compact is presently one of the few smartphones on the market to ship with Android 8.0 Oreo. All of the Android 8.0 features remain intact such as notification dots; native picture-in-picture, improved visual tweaks, new autofill APIs, and much more.
Sitting on top of Android Oreo is Sony’s own skin which doesn’t drastically change the experience (as it’s still very close to stock), but Sony’s skin does feel outmoded in some aspects. The app drawer for example even utilizes a dedicated button in your dock instead of the swipe up that pure Android uses. Sony’s skin does, however, include some nice features such as customizable themes and PlayStation integration. Outside, of Sony’s typical suite of apps; the software is virtually free of bloatware.
The 2,700mAh battery in the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact may not seem that bountiful on paper, but thankfulness to the phone’s smaller 4.6-inch display copulated with the upgraded power performance of the Snapdragon 835 chipset and Android Oreo software; it gives 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 on the larger phone.
Putting the Xperia XZ1 Compact through our standard battery test during Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review; 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%.
Notwithstanding the phone having a wireless charging-friendly plastic material rear; Sony hasn’t included wireless charging in the Xperia XZ1 Compact, and acknowledging Apple’s new focus on the technology it’s a disgrace Sony hasn’t chosen to do the same.
Wireless charging is becoming more conventional in the modern phones, so it would have been a shrewd move by Sony to include it here.
Our Point Of View:
The Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact is a decent phone with good battery life, high performance, and the latest version of Android. It’s a shame it’s too expensive, looks dull, the lack of a fingerprint sensor is irritating, and the camera just isn’t as good as it should be as per our Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review.
Should I Buy It?
No. We believe there are too several better alternatives for most people. If you’re a die-hard Sony aficionado; or you have your soul set on a small form factor, and you live outside the States, so the fingerprint sensor works; then the Xperia XZ1 Compact is worth considering. Everyone else can get better.