Sony Xperia Z1 Compact review: Mini gone big

Mini gone big

GSMArena team, 28 January 2014.


Sony is the first to deliver a smartphone, which wouldn't let size get in the way of performance or screen quality. It's no accident that it's a compact rather than a mini - the Snapdragon 800-powered beast would be ashamed to share a name with the upper-midrange (at best) wannabes of the competition.

We've had this for two years now - Android flagships growing in size faster than the US national debt, leaving those in search of a premium phone that doesn't need its own seat on the bus with an increasingly tougher puzzle to crack. You could either defect to iOS at the cost of a two or three month's worth of rent or live with a chipset and screen that are at least a year old.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact official photos

Email boxes were spammed, comment sections were trolled, petitions were posted but not a single Android smartphone manufacturer dared go against the grain and create a mini that's actually worthy of its big brother's name. Not until today.

Hard to believe? Just take a look at that spec sheet:

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support; 3G with 42Mbps HSPA; 150Mbps LTE
  • 4.3" 16M-color 720p capacitive touchscreen Triluminos display (342pixel density); X-Reality engine; shatter proof and scratch-resistant glass
  • Android OS v4.3 Jelly Bean with custom UI
  • Quad-core 2.26 GHz Krait 400 CPU, 2 GB RAM, Adreno 330 GPU; Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset
  • 20.7MP autofocus camera with a 1/2.3" Exmor RS sensor and F/2.0 Sony G Lens; Info-eye, AR effects
  • 1080p video recording @ 30fps, continuous autofocus and stereo sound; live video streaming to Facebook
  • 2MP front-facing camera, 1080p video recording
  • IP58 certification, dust- and waterproof
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA; Wireless TV-out
  • 16GB of built-in storage; microSD card slot
  • MHL-enabled microUSB port
  • Bluetooth v4.0
  • NFC & ANT+ support
  • FM radio with RDS
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic
  • 2,300mAh Li-Ion battery

Main disadvantage

  • Weak LED flash
  • Non-user-replaceable battery
  • Below average loudspeaker performance (probably due to level of waterproofing)

If the first thing you look for in a smartphone is screen real estate, you might just not find that sort of credentials exciting. If a huge screen is an absolute must, be it for gaming or video watching, then you are excused if the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact doesn't get your pulse racing. In all other cases you have no choice, but to admire this Japanese creation.

A smartphone barely bigger than an iPhone 5s, that's got the latest chipset available in the market, a high-res camera and a screen that, at least on paper, should provide splendid image quality. Compared to the full-size Xperia Z1, the Compact is only some screen resolution and battery juice short.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
Sony Xperia Z1 Comapct

However, when you think about it, 1080p would've been an overkill on a 4.3" screen, adding to the battery drain rather than the image quality. And with the reduced screen consumption the smaller battery shouldn't be an issue either - it's as big as what the Xperia Z offered anyway.

All in all, there's no doubt that the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact has the makings of a winner. But if it was all decided on paper, you wouldn't really be reading this - unless it's the specs you're buying. And with that kind of specs, we can understand. But anyway, let's see how the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact does in real life, shall we?

Reader comments

  • Hani
  • 07 Apr 2020
  • HI{

Its been 4 years that I have Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and never failed me. only 2 times I changed the battery and I can open heavy files with it easily. I Love it, it is a loyal phone :_)

  • norber
  • 17 Aug 2017
  • Bw@

Great 4g enabled phone Only mediocre battery life Sorry sony but galaxy s3 took far better pics...

  • Khalid
  • 19 Jan 2017
  • 8n}

How can I prepare battery for Z1 compact ?? Or how can I get new one