Sony Xperia Z3 Compact review: Not your usual suspect

Not your usual suspect

GSMArena team, 12 September 2014.

Robust retail package

The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact comes with some healthy extras in its retail package. Besides a standard USB adapter comes a robust 1.5A charger, which means you'll be able to juice up your Z3 Compact that much faster compared to a standard 1A unit.

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The robust retail package

More importantly, in some markets the smartphone is also bundled with Sony's MDR-NC31E Digital Noise Cancelling headset, which integrates with the built-in noise cancellation capabilities of the new Z3 series devices. It works quite well (you check out our own review of the headset), and is the only headset that can take advantage of the Z3's noise cancelling capabilities - third party units won't be able to. Keep in mind that the presence of the headset in the package is strictly market-dependent so you might need to purchase it separately.

Design and handling

Sony has greatly improved the design of the Xperia Z3 Compact over its predecessor, the Z1 Compact. The latest Compact generation is no longer a mere miniature copy of its fullsize counterpart, but remakes Sony's Omnibalance design into something uniquely its own. So much so, that you may even prefer it over the Xperia Z3.

While it lacks the metal frame of the Xperia Z3, the Compact does sport the former's front and rear glass panels. Although we would have liked to see some metal on the Z3 Compact as well, its glass panels are elevated - unlike those of the Z3 - giving the Z3 Compact a premium feel without the added weight that a heavier frame would bring.

Another benefit that the Z3 Compact holds over the Z1 Compact is that its rear panel is actual glass, like on the front, which does not tend to get scratched up like the plastic rear panel on the Z1 Compact.

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The Xperia Z3 Compact's design stands apart from the rest of the Z3 series

In hand, the Z3's glass edges are pleasantly rounded to be comfortable to hold, and its small size makes one-handed operation a breeze. Although its thickness is greater than that of the Z3, it actually helps when holding the device as its larger size makes it easier to grip.

Speaking of, the glass panels have a tendency to be very slippery both in the hand and on smooth flat surfaces like wood or plastic. This, combined with its small size also makes it somewhat easy to drop, so care should be taken when handling the Xperia Z3 Compact.

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Handling the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Controls

The Xperia Z3 Compact features a control layout that's identical to the rest of the Xperia Z3 series. Up front, you'll find the 2.2MP front-facing shooter above the display, next to the earpiece, a small status LED, and some sensors.

The capacitive control buttons are built into the display itself, so the only thing you'll find under the display is the front speaker.

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The front of the Z3 Compact

Both sides of the phone are chock-full of slots and controls. On the left side lies a dock for connecting the Z3 Compact to a charging cradle or car kit, flanked by a slew of ports on either side. The microUSB port and microSD card slot are under their own flap, while the nano-SIM card slot is under its own flap.

The plastic flaps are there to ensure IP68 water and dust resistance - certified for up to 1.5meters for 30 minutes - so you better keep them covered if you plan on exposing the Z3 Compact to the elements.

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The left side of the phone for connectivity

The right side houses Sony's characteristic rounded power/lock button, next to a tiny volume rocker and a dedicated camera shutter key.

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The right side of the phone for control

Up top you'll find an exposed 3.5mm audio jack of the waterproof variety alongside a secondary microphone, while on the bottom rests a lanyard eyelet and the primary microphone.

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The top and bottom houses dual microphones

Around back is the 20.7MP camera lens alongside an LED flash. The rear panel is not removable, so you won't have access to the 2,600mAh battery.

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The back of the Xperia Z3 Compact

One final note on controls - Sony is planning on releasing complete PS4 connectivity exclusively to the new Xperia Z3 series this coming November. This means that you'll be able to connect the Xperia Z3 Compact to a dualshock 4 controller with the provided mount accessory, and stream full PS4 games directly from a PS4 system on the same wireless network.

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The Xperia Z3 series will be getting full PS4 integration

Reader comments

Where you buy?

  • Dan

I chose z3 compact in 2019. Why? Battery 2-3 days and dimension. Thank you gsmarena!

My z3 compact been around since 2015 and got no problems with it just make sure you dont let it sit on high heat for long periods of time or else the display would act up and the back will stick out due to heat melting the back glass adhesive.