Review: Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
The Xperia Z compact has almost all the features of a flagship shrunken down into a smaller package
If you're a smartphone fanatic, then you won't care too much about the fact that with each passing model that is released, the handsets seem to be getting bigger and bigger. However, if that's not your thing but you still want some quality specs, then Sony have been clearly working hard on proving that good things come in small packages.
Let's go under the hood, and have a look at what tech spec you're working with. Although they have shrunk down the model, they haven't gone along the 'mini' model, instead opting to call this the compact – implying that what you're getting is a slightly more tweaked version of the bigger model, and that's a pretty fair assesment. Inside there is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.2GHz quad-core CPU backed up by 2GB RAM, which is realistically not too different to what the S4 (not the S4 mini) is packing.
In terms of design, it does have the feel of a premium handset with the glass back, although that can be a little bit of a pain when it comes to keeping it looking clean and avoiding scratches. That said, one of our main gripes with Samsung's last few models has been that plastic outer casing that makes it feel cheap, so it's nice to know that they haven't skimped here either. There's also a mettalic edging and the corners are rounded, giving it a pretty pleasing feel all over, we have to say. Along the side you'll also find a pretty big power button, and, since there's a good camera here, a shutter button that allows you to take snaps, so no excuses for vertical video anymore lads.
Speaking of, they haven't skimped on the camera either, and although we were also using the QX 100 lens at the same time, the camera itself was also of a high quality, although shooting in low light produced some very grainy results, which was a disappointment considering what they're working with. Still, all of this should be kept in mind with the 'compact' feel that they're going for here. That also carries through to the screen, which is 4.3 inches and 720p, but unless you're using this for a lot of media, you won't be too put off by that.
Performance wise, the interface is nice, and has a few Sony touches above the usual Android interface, with a couple of their programs coming pre-installed. One nice touch is that if you use Sony's music streaming service, then whatever music is on your phone is amalgamated in your 'Walkman' or music library, which is something we're a big fan of. With the powerful processor it also works incredibly well when it comes to multitasking, and there was no real lag either moving between screens.
The added fun extras that can be a selling point are always of interest, and when it comes to the Xperia Z1 Compact, the fact that it's waterproof is a big plus. Now, realistically you shouldn't take this swimming or whatever, but it does help if you leave your phone around the shop when you're cooking, or in the bathroom listening to podcasts and tunes. Also it helps if you're clumsy around liquids. There are some great camera effects too which let you add 3D dinosaurs and fish to your pictures, which again are kind of silly but also good craic, while the Timsehift Burst is a very useful feature for capturing the perfect moment.
Overall, the phone has plenty of positives, and the negative points are pretty minor. The smaller screen is something you'll have to take with any smaller smartphone, and in terms of specs, this outstrips the other mini models on the market with ease. There are nice touches all over, from the camera button to having the speaker on the bottom for clearer sound that make us think this phone is well worth your cash.
Our one line review: Honey I shrank a really good phone down into a slightly smaller phone.