Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review

GSMArena team, 25 September 2017.

Introduction

The Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact is a rare breed - it's small on the outside, but big on the inside. Packed with all the latest hardware and having only a small screen to power, Sony’s latest super-mini may very well be the performance champion to beat. But whenever there is a superhero, there is a villain lurking in the shadows. So yes, the Compact has its own battle to fight that’s not all about size or speed.

Three years ago, the first Xperia Z1 Compact did the unthinkable, taking the then flagship apart and putting it back together into a smaller, nimbler package. Economy? Absolutely not. It was the performance package.

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review

Sony eventually pulled the brakes with the X Compact last season but the XZ1 Compact is trying to make up for it and get back in the fast lane: the latest Snapdragon 835 chip, the flagship-grade Sony IMX400 camera with 960fps slow-mo vids, the elegant waterproof design, and Android Oreo right out of the box.

With a screen that size, the XZ1 has no business in the resolution race and the performance has the biggest gain. The XZ1 Compact is shaping up to be what the iPhone SE was to loyal Apple users and we can't wait to take this little beast out for a spin.

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact key features

  • Body: 129 x 64 x 9.3mm, 140g of a glass-fiber-reinforced plastic unibody, Gorilla Glass 5 front, IP65/68 waterproofing
  • Screen: 4.6" Triluminos display of 720p resolution (720 x 1,280px); 319ppi
  • OS: Android OS v8 Oreo with the Xperia launcher and Sony multimedia bundle
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 835 chipset: octa-core Kryo 280 CPU (4x2.46GHz +4x1.9GHz); Adreno 540 GPU; 4GB of RAM
  • Camera: 19MP, 1/2.3" Sony IMX400 camera, f/2.0 lens, predictive hybrid laser/phase detection/contrast AF, burst AF, IR sensor for white balance, LED flash, dedicated hardware shutter key;
  • Video recording: 4K video recording @30fps, 1080p @60fps, 720p @960fps, Steady Shot; Stereo audio recording;
  • Selfie: 8MP, 1/4" front-facing ultra wide-angle camera with FOV120 and 1080p@30fps video
  • Storage: 32GB of built-in UFS storage and a microSD card slot
  • SIM: Single and dual-SIM models (region specific)
  • Connectivity: Cat. 15 LTE; Dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, MIMO; GPS/GLONASS/Beidou/Galileo, Bluetooth v5.0; NFC, USB-C port with USB 2.0 support, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Audio: Active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic; 24-bit/192kHz Hi-Res audio; S-Force Front Surround stereo speakers
  • Battery: 2,700mAh non-removable battery, QuickCharge 3.0 support, Qnovo adaptive charging, Battery Care smart charging
  • Misc: Fingerprint sensor (market dependent), stereo speakers

Main shortcomings

  • Big screen bezels
  • No HDR screen
  • Low screen resolution

Although the Compact series have clearly evolved over the past few years, the screen resolution is still stuck at 720p. It's not that 319ppi is dismal but Sony should’ve moved on to 1080p instead of risk slipping behind the curve.

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review

The generous screen bezels are something the entire Xperia XZ lineup needs to deal with. We wonder if they’re less annoying on a smaller scale, or is it one of those things that are easier for a mini to get away with than a flagship.

Anyway, the real question is, can the XZ1 Compact sell the super-mini concept to enough people in the times of borderless displays and pretty compact five-inchers? Let’s see.

Reader comments

  • Anonymous

I love my SONY XZ1 Compact!! I have been looking for a phone with a smaller screen than 5 inch. I have had this phone for over a year now. I have to say it is one of the best 3 phones I've ever had!!

  • NOBODYOLD -

I buy this phone because i utilised 3 years another model sony[zi compact] and i was verry satisfait .I want buy the new xz1 compact because the Procesor is more powerful and his memory too. the phone is magnific and i verry enchanted about performan...

  • Reprotski

Hi guys, Any reported camera going black on this model yet. I'm hesitant to buy Sony as I had 2 Xperia Z3 compacts which the camera didn't last for a month on the first and about 3 month for the second. I had the Xperia Ion and Acro S which still r...