A Review Of Sony’s Xperia Z1 Compact

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Overview

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It looks like the OEM’s have come to understand that smaller form factors are in demand.  Unfortunately, mini versions tend to lose a lot of what was appealing in the original bigger flagships.

Though big 4.7 inch and more devices – such as the LG G2, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and the Nexus 6 – are fast becoming the norm, there is still a huge portion of the market that is not used to using devices this big and would still rather have something smaller.

In an effort to cultivate consumer loyalty and maintain a market share, Sony has made an effort to really provide a mini version of their flagship that is just shrunken in size.  Sony has developed the Xperia Z1 Compact, a version of their Xperia Z1, to provide a powerful but accessibly-sized phone.


  • Almost exactly like the Xperia Z1 except smaller. The dimensions of the Xperia Z1 Compact are 127 x 64.9 x 9.5 mm and it weighs 137g.
  • The Xperia Z1 Compact has a glass finish with an aluminium frame to maintain Sony’s reputation for phones with a premium look and feel.
  • The button layout of the Xperia Z1 Compact follows the classic Sony look. A big silver power button shares the right side of the phone with the volume rocker and camera shutter button.
  • Probably as a result of the reduced dimensions, the small and slim camera button can be a bit hard to press.
  • At the left side of the Xperia Z1 Compact, you will find the mircoUSB charge port, microSD slot and SIM tray.


  • As the Xperia Z1 Compact is water and dust proof, all three of these slots are covered with plastic pieces.
  • The smaller size is great for one-handed use. The stock Sony Keyboard makes it easy to type on the Xperia Z1 Compact.
  • While some might find that the Xperia Z1 Compact has bezels that are thicker then they need to be, this lends itself to increased durability and the Zperia Z1 Compact can withstand accidental drops better than other devices.


  • The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact has a 4.3-inch TFT LCD display screen that is surrounded by thick bezels.
  • The display has a resolution of 720 and a pixel density of 342 ppi.
  • While the pixel density of the Xperia Z1 Compact can seem small compared to the 440+ ppi offered by the screens of larger devices, it is still above 320 ppi which is when pixels no longer resolve for people with normal eyesight. This means, the 720p resolution is more than adequate for the display size.
  • The display uses Sony’s Triluminos and X-Reality technologies. Triluminous uses quantum dots to render color, allowing the display to show colors at par to an LCD.  X-Reality allows the phone to process images and videos on the spot to make them look their best.   Both these technologies make it seem like the screen of the Z1 Compact is almost a mini-Sony TV.
  • Aside from good colors, the Z1 Compact display also has great viewing angles.
  • Some apps don’t look so good in a smaller screen but all in all, the screen of the Xperia Z1 Compact is very good.



  • Sony brings the high-powered processing package found in the Z1 into the Z1 Compact.
  • The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact uses a Snapdragon 800 quad-core CPU which clocks at 2.2 GHz. This is backed up by an Adreno 330 GPU with 2 GB of RAM.
  • As Sony’s UI is minimalistic, this processing package is more than adequate to most tasks. The processing package works well even when running applications that are power-hungry.



  • The Xperia Z1 Compact has much of the hardware that is found in the Xperia Z1.
  • The Z1 Compact has 16GB on-board storage with a microSD slot that allows you to increase storage with 64 GB.
  • All of the sensors and connectivity features made the jump to the Xperia Z1 Compact.
  • The speaker at the bottom of the Xperia Z1 Compact is a bit lacking in volume and richness of sound output. Call quality is good though.
  • The Xperia Z1 Compact provides good cell connectivity, in voice and data, from T-Mobile’s LTE.
  • The battery of the Z1 Compact is a 2,300 mAh unit. This is an unavoidable reduction from the battery used in the Z1.
  • Despite the reduction in battery size, the battery life of the Z1 Compact is still very good. Utilizing Sony’s power-saving features, the Z1 Compact can last a full day with heavy usage.
  • There is a USB OTC cable that comes with a Z1 Compact. This is not something that is offered in the larger devices from Sony.


  • The Xperia Z1 Compact still has the same camera made available in the Xperia Z1.
  • The Z1 Compact has a 20.7 Sony Exmore RS sensor. However, if you want to take a photo formatted at 16:9, you need to use 8MP resolution.
  • The camera also has a Superior Auto mode which adapts to the scene and picks the best setting accordingly. This only shoots at 8MP.
  • The Z1 Compact also uses G Lens camera optics which are Sony’s best quality lenses.
  • The camera here uses BIONZ, an image processor that is similar to what Sony uses in its DSLRs.
  • The firmware on the Z1 Compact actually improves on that of the Z1. Photo’s in low-light areas are more detailed with less smudging.
  • The size of the phone makes photo taking easy, as does the ability to start the camera using the shutter button and the relatively speedy app.


  • The Xperia Z1 Compact uses Sony’s Timescape UI.
  • The homescreen is simple. The app drawer has an additional feature, quick pullover, which is found on the left and houses extra options.
  • Has the Walkman and Album apps which are a throwback to Sony’s history of media offerings.


While the size of the Xperia Z1 Compact might have dropped, its price has not.  It is sold for around $570 unlocked via Amazon.  This is comparable to some of the larger sized flagships out there.  However, if you look at what you are getting – a high-performing, fast performing device that is also water resistant and durable with a great camera and at a one-hand use friendly size – you can see that the price is worth it.


You can get a small smartphone for a cheaper price then the Xperia Z1 Compact, but you are not going to find a cheaper small phone that performs as well.


What do you think? Is the Xperia Z1 Compact worth its price tag?


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