Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review

GSMArena team, 25 September 2017.

Display

The Xperia XZ1 Compact packs a 4.6-inch IPS LCD. Its 720p resolution stretched across this screen results in a pixel density of 319ppi - perfectly sharp by our books.

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review

Despite sounding seemingly low in resolution, this panel comes with a slew of Sony's proprietary screen tech, including TRILUMINOS, X-Reality, and Dynamic Contrast Enhancement. The only thing which is perhaps missing from the list is HDR support, which the Xperia XZ1 does have.

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review

We did our screen measurements and found some minor differences between the displays on some of the units. The brightness of a few of our Compacts could go as high up as 600 nits, while on others - as high as 640 nits. The hike in the brightness also bleeds more light into the blacks, so that you don't gain anything in terms of contrast on the brighter screens. The difference could be well due to the fact that the screens come from different suppliers, but it's not a huge margin anyway.

Speaking of contrast, it's quite solid, but it's not that exciting.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact 0.515 640 1243
Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact (unit #2) 0.49 602 1229
Nokia 8 0.382 703 1840
Apple iPhone 7 (max auto) 0.40 656 1640
Samsung Galaxy S8 Max auto 0 618
Apple iPhone SE 0.77 618 804
Huawei P10 0.416 592 1423
Sony Xperia XZ1 0.409 575 1406
Sony Xperia XZ Premium 0.463 573 1238
Sony Xperia XZs 0.461 564 1223
Apple iPhone 7 0.35 561 1603
Sony Xperia XA1 0.512 537 1049
Sony Xperia X Compact 0.44 534 1225
Samsung Galaxy S8 0 440
OnePlus 5 0 435
Oppo R11 0 410

Sunlight legibility, on the other hand, is great - in fact we measured a contrast of 3.729 in our standardized test, which is among the best achievements by an LCD panel.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Samsung Galaxy S8
    4.768
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    4.658
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    4.615
  • Oppo R11
    4.454
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
    4.439
  • OnePlus 3
    4.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    4.376
  • HTC One A9
    4.274
  • Samsung Galaxy Note7
    4.247
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • Nokia 8
    4.239
  • OnePlus 3T
    4.232
  • Google Pixel XL
    4.164
  • ZTE Axon 7
    4.154
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
    4.148
  • Meizu Pro 7 Plus
    4.147
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    4.09
  • LG V30
    4.022
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    4.019
  • Vivo Xplay5 Elite
    3.983
  • OnePlus X
    3.983
  • Apple iPhone 7
    3.964
  • Oppo R7s
    3.964
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    3.956
  • Meizu Pro 6 Plus
    3.935
  • Lenovo Moto Z
    3.931
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    3.918
  • OnePlus 5
    3.914
  • Samsung Galaxy C5
    3.911
  • Samsung Galaxy C7
    3.896
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 outdoor
    3.879
  • Samsung Galaxy J2 outdoor
    3.873
  • Samsung Galaxy A8
    3.859
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3.838
  • Sony Xperia XZs
    3.818
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)
    3.817
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)
    3.812
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
    3.804
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.802
  • LG V20 Max auto
    3.798
  • Xiaomi Redmi Pro
    3.798
  • Sony Xperia XZ
    3.795
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    3.789
  • Apple iPhone 6s
    3.783
  • Meizu Pro 5
    3.781
  • Microsoft Lumia 650
    3.772
  • Xiaomi Mi 6
    3.767
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
    3.765
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    3.756
  • Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact
    3.729
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    3.709
  • Vivo X5Pro
    3.706
  • Sony Xperia X Compact
    3.694
  • Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)
    3.688
  • Apple iPhone SE
    3.681
  • Huawei Mate 9
    3.68
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Meizu PRO 6
    3.659
  • BlackBerry Priv
    3.645
  • Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra
    3.597
  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus
    3.588
  • LG G6
    3.556
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    3.53
  • Motorola Moto Z Play
    3.526
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
    3.523
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.523
  • Acer Jade Primo
    3.521
  • Microsoft Lumia 950
    3.512
  • Oppo R7 Plus
    3.499
  • nubia Z11
    3.466
  • Huawei P10 Plus
    3.456
  • HTC U Ultra
    3.453
  • Samsung Galaxy J7
    3.422
  • Meizu MX5
    3.416
  • LG V20
    3.402
  • Huawei P10
    3.379
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    3.378
  • Oppo R9s
    3.352
  • Honor 8 Pro
    3.341
  • Oppo R7
    3.32
  • Lenovo P2
    3.316
  • Honor 9
    3.289
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s
    3.276
  • Nokia 5
    3.261
  • Nokia 6 (Chinese version)
    3.244
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    3.24
  • Nokia 6 (Global version)
    3.238
  • Samsung Galaxy J2
    3.235
  • Sony Xperia X Performance
    3.234
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2
    3.228
  • Motorola Moto X Play
    3.222
  • Oppo F3 Plus
    3.218
  • Huawei Mate 9 Pro
    3.206
  • Huawei P9
    3.195
  • ZTE Nubia Z17
    3.159
  • Lenovo Vibe Shot
    3.113
  • Motorola Moto X Force
    3.105
  • LG Nexus 5X
    3.092
  • HTC U11
    3.089
  • Huawei Mate S
    3.073
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
    3.065
  • Sony Xperia XA1
    3.012
  • Sony Xperia L1
    2.994
  • Sony Xperia X
    2.989
  • Huawei P10 Lite
    2.974
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • Huawei Mate 8
    2.949
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4
    2.92
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3S
    2.913
  • Sony Xperia XA Ultra
    2.906
  • LG G5
    2.905
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime
    2.893
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus
    2.884
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium (sRGB)
    2.877
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium
    2.877
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    2.876
  • Nokia 3
    2.871
  • Microsoft Lumia 550
    2.851
  • Lenovo Moto M
    2.813
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3 Pro
    2.803
  • Sony Xperia Z5 compact
    2.784
  • Meizu MX6
    2.751
  • LG V10
    2.744
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3
    2.735
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625)
    2.714
  • Meizu M5
    2.71
  • Sony Xperia M5
    2.69
  • Huawei P9 Lite
    2.679
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime
    2.679
  • Vivo V3Max
    2.659
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix
    2.658
  • Doogee Mix
    2.642
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
    2.641
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4a
    2.635
  • Xiaomi Mi 5X (Standard)
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia XA
    2.609
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus
    2.582
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus (max auto)
    2.582
  • Meizu M5s
    2.58
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    2.574
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2.567
  • Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
    2.563
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2
    2.561
  • Lenovo Moto G4
    2.544
  • Lenovo K6 Note
    2.544
  • Oppo F1
    2.528
  • Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
    2.525
  • Huawei Honor 7 Lite / Honor 5c
    2.506
  • Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
    2.503
  • Oppo F1s
    2.481
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus
    2.473
  • Huawei G8
    2.471
  • Huawei nova
    2.467
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Lenovo Vibe K5
    2.459
  • Meizu m3 max
    2.447
  • Xiaomi Mi 5X (Auto)
    2.417
  • HTC 10 evo
    2.407
  • Huawei Honor 7
    2.406
  • Sony Xperia E5
    2.386
  • ZUK Z1 by Lenovo
    2.382
  • HTC 10
    2.378
  • Oppo F3
    2.376
  • vivo V5 Plus
    2.371
  • Meizu m1 note
    2.362
  • Huawei nova plus
    2.329
  • HTC One E9+
    2.305
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    2.254
  • Sony Xperia C5 Ultra
    2.253
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (MediaTek)
    2.249
  • Sony Xperia C4 Dual
    2.235
  • Xiaomi Mi Note
    2.234
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Huawei P8
    2.196
  • Meizu M5 Note
    2.189
  • Huawei Honor 6
    2.169
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2
    2.166
  • OnePlus Two
    2.165
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • LG Aka
    2.145
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (X20)
    2.145
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Xiaomi Mi 4S
    2.095
  • Acer Liquid X2
    2.084
  • Huawei P8lite
    2.078
  • vivo V5
    2.059
  • Moto G 3rd gen max manual
    2.026
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Xiaomi Mi Max
    1.996
  • Sony Xperia E4g
    1.972
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Meizu m3 note
    1.923
  • BlackBerry Leap
    1.892
  • Meizu m2 note
    1.892
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • ZTE Nubia Z9 mini
    1.759
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Asus Zenfone Selfie
    1.68
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    1.675
  • ZTE Nubia Z9
    1.659
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    1.311
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215

A host of Sony's proprietary display technologies make sure that the stuff on the screen looks good. Triluminous is Sony's trademark for what is commonly known as a Quantum dot display, a variation of LCD panels that deliver a wider color gamut. It generates colors in a different way than vanilla LCDs.

On the software side, Sony does offer three different color gamut and contrast options. You can choose between Standard mode with moderately vivid colors, Professional sRGB option for more accurate colors, or go all in with Super-vivid mode. You can get a side-by-side comparison to help you make your choice too.

You also get a White balance option in the menu, where you can adjust the colors via RGB sliders but you need to have a calibration tool as you likely won't be able to improve anything going by eye alone.

The default mode is Standard, and here the XZ1 Compact screen produced an average deltaE of 3.9, with a maximum deviation of 8.5 in the whites, which is not bad to beging with. Excluding the bluish whites, the rest of the hues are pretty accurate, but you may get the feel of washed out colors. The Super-Vivid mode could help if that's the case.

Oddly, opting for the sRGB mode didn't change that much regarding colors, in fact it made the red and yellow hues even less accurate, while everything else remained quite the same.

Finally, Sony additionally offers the X-reality for Mobile engine, which only works on videos and makes them perceivably sharper by improving clarity on the fly as the video plays back on the phone. This feature, however, you can toggle either On or Off.

Battery life

The Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact is powered by the same 2,700 mAh that keeps the lights on in the Xperia XZ1. While the battery capacity was unexpectedly low for a flagship, the XZ1 and its Snapdragon 835 chip turned out quite well. There is also the matter of Oreo software optimizations, which seem to help the battery performance in standby.

The Xperia XZ1 Compact scored an excellent 108-hour Endurance rating in our set of proprietary tests. It bested all other Sony smartphones we have tested so far, and this is one of the best ratings in our all-time chart! The XZ1 Compact pushed great browser and video playback scores, and its small display surely helped there. The call test and standby endurance turned out equally great, too.

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review

Our endurance rating estimates how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the Xperia XZ1 Compact for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We've established this usage pattern so our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.

The XZ1 Compact supports QuickCharge 3.0 but does not ship with a QC-compatible charger on all markets. Our unit came with a bog standard 5V/1.5A plug, which restored only 28% of the empty battery after a 30-min charging session.

Just like the previous Sony Xperia Zs, Qnovo adaptive charging and Battery Care are available in addition to Quick Charge 3.0.

The Qnovo Adaptive Charging tech built inside recent Sony Xperia phones allows the smartphone to monitor the cell's electrochemical processes in real time and adjust charging parameters dynamically to minimize cell damage and extend the battery unit's lifespan.

Qnovo claims that the battery should last hundreds of charge cycles more than a conventionally charged battery. This potentially means a year or so of extra longevity, as the battery performance deteriorates more slowly and should be able to hold more charge when it gets older.

Then there is Battery Care. Say you charge your phone overnight, and you regularly plug it in at midnight and unplug it at 8 in the morning. In time, the phone will recognize the pattern, charge the battery to 90% and then stop charging. And then at, say, 7:30 in the morning, it will pick up where it left off and top it all up to 100% at a slower pace, so the battery doesn't stay at full charge for prolonged time periods. This should further extend the battery's lifespan.

Battery saving modes - Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review Battery saving modes - Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review Battery saving modes - Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review
Battery saving modes

On the software side of things, you get a pair of battery saving modes. One is the regular STAMINA mode, which caps performance and disables a few non-vital background tasks. Then there is Ultra STAMINA mode for when you are far away from a wall socket. It disables Wi-Fi and data entirely and pretty much leaves you with the bare essentials of your phone.

Connectivity

The Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact is pretty decked-out in the connectivity department. Some variants come with two Nano-SIM slots, for extra flexibility. Sadly, Sony's solution, in this case, is a hybrid one, so it's either the microSD card or the second line.

Cat.16 LTE is capable of download speeds of up to 1Gbit/s, provided your carrier can step up to the challenge. Wi-Fi also has most goodies on board - dual-band, a/c. The same goes for the fast USB 3.1, Type-C data interface and the shiny new Bluetooth 5.0 radio, with support for aptX HD and LE.

Of course, there is satellite positioning as well, which should work great everywhere in the world, thanks to A-GPS, GLONASS and BDS support.

The phone doesn't come with an FM radio.

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...