In recent years, smartphone manufacturers like Samsung and HTC have sought to win more customers by releasing “mini” versions of their most popular phones. But all of these phones are compromised – they aren’t just smaller, they have less memory, slower processors and inferior cameras. So Sony has decided to change the rules by releasing a “compact” version of its flagship Xperia Z1 smartphone. The Z1 Compact has all of the capabilities of the Z1, but with a smaller screen and footprint.
So, just how compact is the Z1 Compact? It’s bigger than the iPhone 5s, but significantly smaller than phones such as the Xperia Z1, HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S4. That makes it a good choice for anyone who covets the power and speed of a top phone, but lacks either the budget or the pocket real estate.
The Z1 measures 127 x 64.9 x 9.5 mm, which makes it thicker than many phones, but it can hardly be described as bulky. The Z1 is a well-built product that makes use of premium materials – glass and metal – and is waterproof and dustproof too.
The main compromise necessary to make the phone smaller is a reduction in the screen size. The display here measures 4.3 inches instead of the 5 inches of the original Z1. That makes it 25% smaller in terms of display area and positions it midway between the iPhone and the top Android phones. Many people would consider that to be a perfect size. The display is sharp too – with 1280 x 720 pixels it’s a genuine HD display (unlike the iPhone 5s with its so-called Retina display.)
Let’s take a look now at the hardware inside the phone. The phone is powered by an incredibly fast 2.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad core CPU, making it a match for the top Android phones and even faster than last year’s models like the Samsung Galaxy S4. The phone is equipped with 16GB of flash memory and the total storage can be expanded by an additional 64GB as it’s compatible with SDXC memory cards. The total RAM available is 2GB.
The camera has the same specs as the incredibly good camera used in the Xperia Z1. Headline features include the 20.7 megapixel Exmor RS mobile sensor, the award-winning G lens, image stabilizer, pulsed LED flash and auto focus. In video mode, the camera can record Full HD 1080p footage. HDR mode is available in both photo and video mode, and enables much better low-light performance. The phone also incorporates a front camera that can be used to take self-portraits or to make video calls.
The phone is an Android-powered smartphone running version 4.3 of Android (nicknamed Jelly Bean). This is not quite the latest version (the Google Nexus 5 runs Android 4.4 KitKat) but is very close.
The battery size is 2300mAh, which is less than in the full Z1. This isn’t surprising, as the smaller screen requires less power. However, the processor and other features are just as power-hungry and it is likely that battery life will suffer as a result of the smaller battery size.
The Z1 Compact includes all the connectivity options of the original Z1. These include LTE support (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 20) as well as HSPA and GSM network support. Other options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB, aGPS, DLNA and NFC, making the Z1 Compact capable of connecting to just about any device you can find in the home or office.
Overall, the Xperia Z1 Compact is a device that should be ideal for anyone who wants a powerful Android smartphone with all the bells and whistles, but who feels that the largest five-inch screens are just too big for comfort. It could also be a good choice for any iPhone users looking to save some money and make the switch to Android.