Review Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Smartphone

Daniel Schuster (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 02/14/2014

Turning big into small. Already the name makes its obvious: The Z1 Compact is the handier version of Sony's Xperia Z1 flagship. These "Mini" editions are presently quite common, but the Z1 is an exception because most of the hardware is the same as used in the larger version.

For the original German review, see here.

A manufacturer has finally succeeded in launching a smaller version of a premium top-seller on the market featuring almost the same innards. HTC's One Mini and Samsung's Galaxy S4 Mini are also "compact" smartphones named after their larger flagships. However, to the dismay of many, these devices only have the name and similar looks in common. Sony takes a different approach with its Xperia Z1 Compact, and squeezes the hardware of its bigger brother in a smaller casing. It also sports the extremely high-performance Snapdragon 800 with a clock rate of 2.2 GHz per core. The screen has shrunk to 4.3 inches, which affects the resolution. Unlike the Xperia Z1, a screen with an HD resolution of 1280x800 pixels is installed in the smaller edition. The difference between both phones should theoretically be quite marginal - particularly in terms of performance. Read in our test whether theory equals practice.

Case

The back is made of scratch-resistant mineral glass.
The back is made of scratch-resistant mineral glass.

Those who have held the Z1 in their hands will find the build quality and choice of materials familiar. It is again a scratch-resistant mineral glass, although we are always wary of words like "scratch-resistant" or "waterproof" in connection with smartphones. We have been testing the Z1 Compact for ten days now, and we can say that this period of use has not passed without leaving signs on the casing. The significant differences of the review sample are its dimensions and weight. The bigger model weighs 169 grams (~6.0 ounces) with a width of 74 mm, length of 144 mm, and a thickness of 8.5 mm (2.9 x 5.7 x 0.3 inches). Naturally, several cuts were made in width and length (64.9 x 127 mm; 2.6 x 5 inches), but not in thickness. The casing has been blown up by 1 mm, but the weight could be reduced to 137 grams (~4.8 ounces) (HTC One Mini: 122 grams; ~4.3 ounces). As known from Sony, this smartphone is also water (IP55 & 58) and dust resistant (IP55).

Connectivity

The positioning of buttons and slots has only been modified insignificantly. As before, the open, 3.5 mm jack is on the upper edge. The centered power button, volume rocker, and camera release are on the right. The Xperia Z1 also has the micro SIM slot on this side. But here, it is on the casing's left, just like the micro-SD slot, micro-USB port, and docking port. The speaker reserves almost the entire width of the Z1 Compact's lower edge.

Micro-USB port, micro-SD slot, and micro-SIM slot on the left.
Micro-USB port, micro-SD slot, and micro-SIM slot on the left.
The 3.5 mm jack is on the upper edge.
The 3.5 mm jack is on the upper edge.
Power button, volume rocker, and camera release on the right
Power button, volume rocker, and camera release on the right
The speaker is on the lower edge
The speaker is on the lower edge

Software

Android 4.3 is already installed here. Of course, Sony insists on overlapping the Android interface with its specially developed user interface (UI). This includes numerous pre-loaded apps that can only be deleted with some effort.

Swift Sat-Fix indoors
Swift Sat-Fix indoors

Communication & GPS 

Seeing that the SoC in our review sample is identical with the one in the full-size model, the number and quality of communication modules have not been modified greatly. The Wi-Fi module also supports the 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac standards, and can transmit in dual-band mode. We also experienced minor problems with the transmission range here. The smartphone uses the LTE (download up to 150 Mbit/s) or the UMTS network when not connected.

The Z1 Compact uses its aGPS module (including GLONASS support) for accurate localization. Our review sample cannot compete, however, with Garmin's Edge 500 outdoor navigation system. This did not surprise us because the Z1 also struggled in this sector. In the smartphone category, both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C have an unchallenged lead in regards to localization.

Garmin Edge 500 bridge
Garmin Edge 500 bridge
Garmin Edge 500 total
Garmin Edge 500 total
Garmin Edge 500 woods
Garmin Edge 500 woods
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact bridge
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact bridge
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact total
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact total
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact woods
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact woods

Telephony & Speech Quality

Although the portable companion can replace many functions of a laptop or computer, its original purpose is telephony. The Z1 Compact does this without faltering, and even thrills with an impeccable speech quality. The test calls were not affected by any interference noises, and the volume during calls did not give any reason for complaint. The included headset sensibly completes the functionality even if the headset's quality is not completely convincing.

Cameras & Multimedia

The Z1 Compact's primary camera has a resolution of 20.7 megapixels. This extremely high rate sounds familiar to us because it is, of course, the same as the one in its name-giver. The camera modules in both smartphones are identical. Logically, it is not very surprising that the taken sample pictures show a barely visible difference.

Here, we have to point out again that the Exmor RS sensor in both Xperia Z1 models does an outstanding job. The colors are natural, and the sharpness is impressive.

Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5
Nokia Lumia 1520
Nokia Lumia 1520
Nokia Lumia 1520
Nokia Lumia 1520
Nokia Lumia 1520
Nokia Lumia 1520
Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung Galaxy S4
Reference camera: Sony Alpha A57, 16 MP
Reference camera: Sony Alpha A57, 16 MP
Reference camera: Sony Alpha A57, 16 MP
Reference camera: Sony Alpha A57, 16 MP
Reference camera: Sony Alpha A57, 16 MP
Reference camera: Sony Alpha A57, 16 MP
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Accessories & Warranty

Apart from the phone itself, there are many instructions in paper form, the modular power supply, and the in-ear headset in the box. Other accessories, such as a docking station, are optionally available.

Similar to the big Z1, the manufacturer includes a warranty period of up to 24 months. However, the battery and included accessories are only covered for 12 months in case of accidental damage.

Input Devices & Controls

The phone's main control is the capacitive touchscreen. It can deal with up to ten inputs at the same time, responds accurately and very fast. The virtual keyboard takes up about half of the visible screen on the 4.3-inch display. It is even tighter in landscape mode. Barely anything is visible alongside the word suggestion feature. Nevertheless, we did not notice any significant differences compared with the Xperia Z1 - both phones work flawlessly.

There's still enough room on the screen in portrait mode,
There's still enough room on the screen in portrait mode,
but gets very tight when rotated by 90°.
but gets very tight when rotated by 90°.

Display

HD resolution on a 4.3-inch screen
HD resolution on a 4.3-inch screen

The biggest difference between the Xperia Z1 and our review sample is the screen size. It is 0.7 inches smaller, and the resolution is thus lower. 1280x800 pixels result in a pixel density of 351 ppi. Sony manages to improve the average brightness by over 70 cd/m² to now 569.2 cd/m². The illumination has also been upgraded; the screen exhibits a very homogeneous illumination of 92%. The next highlight follows without delay; Sony has also dug deep in the bag of tricks regarding the black level. The manufacturer succeeded to halve the Xperia Z1's black level. Along with the screen's brightness, the Z1 Compact ultimately achieves a contrast of 1295:1 - kudos are due because rarely are all screen qualities on such a high level.

590
cd/m²
577
cd/m²
554
cd/m²
580
cd/m²
570
cd/m²
543
cd/m²
577
cd/m²
569
cd/m²
563
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 590 cd/m²
Average: 569.2 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 92 %
Center on Battery: 570 cd/m²
Black: 0.44 cd/m²
Contrast: 1295:1

The screen is also compelling in the assessment with CalMAN 5. Although a bluish cast is evident, the DeltaE in ColorChecker is just 3.9, and the DeltaE in Grayscale is 2.33. The grayscale reproduction is not congruent with the ideal line, but the deviations are not massively irritating.

Color Management
Color Management
ColorChecker
ColorChecker
ColorChecker AdobeRGB
ColorChecker AdobeRGB
Grayscale
Grayscale
Saturation Sweeps
Saturation Sweeps

The screen can fully exhibit its many advantages in this department. It is extremely bright, and features a very high contrast - the only thing standing in the way of a perfect score is the screen's reflective glass.

Sony has also improved its poor rating in viewing angles. The issues, in the form of pale colors and low contrast starting in acute viewing angles, have been reduced to a minimum. The review sample also convinces us here.

Viewing angles: Z1 Compact
Viewing angles: Z1 Compact
Outdoor suitability
Outdoor suitability

Performance

Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, an Adreno 330, a clock rate of 2.2 GHz per core (quad-core), and 2 GB of working memory - any questions? These specs should indicate a clear direction even before performing the actual benchmarks. The Z1 Compact is a model from the very top of the premium range and promises abundant power. This hardware combination is found in many competing models and convinces once again.

AndEBench
Native (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
16985 Iter./s ∼80%
Sony Xperia Z1
13571 Iter./s ∼64% -20%
LG G2
13332 Iter./s ∼63% -22%
Google Nexus 5
11344 Iter./s ∼53% -33%
HTC One Mini
4389 Iter./s ∼21% -74%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
5254 Iter./s ∼25% -69%
Motorola Moto G
6412 Iter./s ∼30% -62%
Java (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
607 Iter./s ∼59%
Sony Xperia Z1
611 Iter./s ∼60% +1%
LG G2
503 Iter./s ∼49% -17%
Google Nexus 5
407 Iter./s ∼40% -33%
HTC One Mini
186 Iter./s ∼18% -69%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
346 Iter./s ∼34% -43%
Motorola Moto G
338 Iter./s ∼33% -44%
3DMark (2013) - 1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
19340 Points ∼14%
Sony Xperia Z1
17053 Points ∼12% -12%
Motorola Moto G
4399 Points ∼3% -77%
Basemark X 1.0
On-Screen (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
32.581 fps ∼100%
Sony Xperia Z1
17.334 fps ∼53% -47%
LG G2
14.636 fps ∼45% -55%
Google Nexus 5
17.466 fps ∼54% -46%
HTC One Mini
6.2 fps ∼19% -81%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
11.825 fps ∼36% -64%
Motorola Moto G
7.477 fps ∼23% -77%
Off-Screen (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
14.675 fps ∼69%
Sony Xperia Z1
14.356 fps ∼68% -2%
LG G2
13.02 fps ∼61% -11%
Google Nexus 5
14.034 fps ∼66% -4%
HTC One Mini
2.77 fps ∼13% -81%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
3.092 fps ∼15% -79%
Motorola Moto G
2.96 fps ∼14% -80%
Epic Citadel - Ultra High Quality (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
56.6 fps ∼95%
Sony Xperia Z1
55.2 fps ∼92% -2%
LG G2
52.6 fps ∼88% -7%
Google Nexus 5
49 fps ∼82% -13%
Motorola Moto G
34.4 fps ∼58% -39%
Geekbench 3
32 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
924 Points ∼26%
Sony Xperia Z1
912 Points ∼26% -1%
LG G2
819 Points ∼23% -11%
Google Nexus 5
521 Points ∼15% -44%
Motorola Moto G
341 Points ∼10% -63%
32 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
2869 Points ∼22%
Sony Xperia Z1
2817 Points ∼22% -2%
LG G2
2210 Points ∼17% -23%
Google Nexus 5
1613 Points ∼13% -44%
Motorola Moto G
1169 Points ∼9% -59%
AnTuTu Benchmark v4 - Total Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
34481 Points ∼80%
Sony Xperia Z1
31914 Points ∼74% -7%
LG G2
22397 Points ∼52% -35%
Google Nexus 5
22379 Points ∼52% -35%
Motorola Moto G
17360 Points ∼40% -50%
Linpack for Android
Single Thread (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
386.329 MFLOPS ∼57%
Sony Xperia Z1
445.922 MFLOPS ∼65% +15%
LG G2
415.017 MFLOPS ∼61% +7%
Google Nexus 5
95.049 MFLOPS ∼14% -75%
HTC One Mini
153.823 MFLOPS ∼23% -60%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
193.164 MFLOPS ∼28% -50%
Motorola Moto G
88.432 MFLOPS ∼13% -77%
Multi Thread (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
839.432 MFLOPS ∼77%
Sony Xperia Z1
963.81 MFLOPS ∼88% +15%
LG G2
730.159 MFLOPS ∼67% -13%
Google Nexus 5
273.81 MFLOPS ∼25% -67%
HTC One Mini
241.643 MFLOPS ∼22% -71%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
347.766 MFLOPS ∼32% -59%
Motorola Moto G
225.792 MFLOPS ∼21% -73%

Legend

 
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Sony Xperia Z1 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
LG G2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 32 GB SSD
 
Google Nexus 5 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
HTC One Mini Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 8930AB, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195 Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 8930AB, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB SSD
 
Motorola Moto G Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8226, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB SSD

The results in the synthetic benchmarks speak a very clear language. The Z1 has the lead in virtually every test, and can partly clearly surpass the contenders. Even the 5-inch original barely stands a chance against the Mini edition.

Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
4114 Points ∼17%
Peacekeeper - --- (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
809 Points ∼13%
Sony Xperia Z1
869 Points ∼14% +7%
LG G2
829 Points ∼13% +2%
Google Nexus 5
835 Points ∼13% +3%
Apple iPhone 5S
1775 Points ∼29% +119%
HTC One Mini
670 Points ∼11% -17%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
530 Points ∼9% -34%
Nokia Lumia 1520
515 Points ∼8% -36%
Motorola Moto G
488 Points ∼8% -40%
WebXPRT 2013 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
348 Points ∼24%
Sony Xperia Z1
346 Points ∼24% -1%
LG G2
245 Points ∼17% -30%
Google Nexus 5
302 Points ∼21% -13%
Apple iPhone 5S
503 Points ∼35% +45%
Apple iPhone 5S
503 Points ∼35% +45%
Nokia Lumia 1520
255 Points ∼18% -27%
Motorola Moto G
188 Points ∼13% -46%
Mozilla Kraken 1.0 - Total Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
13016.8 ms * ∼8%
Sony Xperia Z1
13611.9 ms * ∼8% -5%
LG G2
14333.8 ms * ∼8% -10%
Google Nexus 5
14298.2 ms * ∼8% -10%
Apple iPhone 5S
8019.3 ms * ∼5% +38%
HTC One Mini
22196.1 ms * ∼13% -71%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
14193.3 ms * ∼8% -9%
Nokia Lumia 1520
28592.3 ms * ∼17% -120%
Motorola Moto G
31625.5 ms * ∼18% -143%
Browsermark - --- (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
2493 points ∼35%
Sony Xperia Z1
2980 points ∼41% +20%
LG G2
2646 points ∼37% +6%
Google Nexus 5
2803 points ∼39% +12%
Apple iPhone 5S
3365 points ∼47% +35%
HTC One Mini
2878 points ∼40% +15%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
2188 points ∼30% -12%
Nokia Lumia 1520
2098 points ∼29% -16%
Motorola Moto G
2432 points ∼34% -2%

Legend

 
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Sony Xperia Z1 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
LG G2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 32 GB SSD
 
Google Nexus 5 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
Apple iPhone 5S Apple A7, PowerVR G6430, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
HTC One Mini Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 8930AB, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195 Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 8930AB, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB SSD
 
Nokia Lumia 1520 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Motorola Moto G Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8226, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB SSD

* ... smaller is better

The formerly achieved, extremely positive scores are put back in perspective in the browser-based runtime tests. Although the scores are still on a high level, the contenders frequently take the lead this time. Even the considerably more sparsely equipped Moto G can surpass the Z1 Compact in "WebXPRT 2013" - by as much as 46%.

AndroBench 3
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
66.47 MB/s ∼40%
Sony Xperia Z1
72.02 MB/s ∼43% +8%
LG G2
111.49 MB/s ∼67% +68%
Google Nexus 5
74.9 MB/s ∼45% +13%
HTC One Mini
53.1 MB/s ∼32% -20%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
50.88 MB/s ∼30% -23%
Motorola Moto G
103.28 MB/s ∼62% +55%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
20.02 MB/s ∼35%
Sony Xperia Z1
19.42 MB/s ∼34% -3%
LG G2
17.42 MB/s ∼30% -13%
Google Nexus 5
15.52 MB/s ∼27% -22%
HTC One Mini
15.71 MB/s ∼27% -22%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
6.33 MB/s ∼11% -68%
Motorola Moto G
12.54 MB/s ∼22% -37%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
13.85 MB/s ∼66%
Sony Xperia Z1
12.76 MB/s ∼61% -8%
LG G2
16.65 MB/s ∼79% +20%
Google Nexus 5
9.88 MB/s ∼47% -29%
HTC One Mini
10.53 MB/s ∼50% -24%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
9.37 MB/s ∼45% -32%
Motorola Moto G
13.61 MB/s ∼65% -2%
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
1.68 MB/s ∼58%
Sony Xperia Z1
1.69 MB/s ∼58% +1%
LG G2
1.34 MB/s ∼46% -20%
Google Nexus 5
0.84 MB/s ∼29% -50%
HTC One Mini
1.18 MB/s ∼40% -30%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
0.32 MB/s ∼11% -81%
Motorola Moto G
2.52 MB/s ∼86% +50%

The Z1 Compact gives everything in the flash memory's speed assessment. The extremely swift storage in both the LG G2 and Moto G give the review sample a hard time; nevertheless, the score is once again outstanding. Sony apparently beefed up the performance considerably, and squeezes the last drop out of the compact, high-end phone.

Games & Videos

The installed SoC actually makes this test section superfluous. The Snapdragon 800 has so much power that no current game could push this device to its performance limits. We nevertheless checked this thesis using various games from the Play Store. Our assumption proved right.

The SoC is certified for rendering QFHD contents, and does this task well as expected. All tested trailers could be played without problems, and did not produce any artifacts or other ugly side effects.

Neither games nor UHD trailers are...
Neither games nor UHD trailers are...
...a challenge for the Z1 Compact.
...a challenge for the Z1 Compact.

Emissions

Temperature

The temperature development during load did actually surprise us. Sony has managed to optimize the heat dissipation to such an extent that the Z1 Compact operates with lower temperatures than was the case in the bigger model - and that despite the casing's smaller volume. We measured between 35 and 38.4 °C (95 and 101.12 °F), in contrast to the larger model's 35.8 to 39.1°C (96.44 to 102.38 °F). Even more astonishing is the direct comparison with HTC's One Mini (41.1°C; 105.98 °F), and Samsung's Galaxy S4 Mini (38.1°C; 100.58 °F) because both phones have a much lower performance and lower clock rates. Just as excellent is the temperature development in the idle scenario. The average temperatures on the back and front clearly settle to below 30 °C (86 °F). Although we measured similar temperatures on the One Mini (29 °C; 84.2 °F) and Galaxy S4 Mini (28.4 °C; 83.12°F), the Z1 is again unrivaled - full score!

Max. Load
 37.7 °C38.8 °C38.4 °C 
 38.8 °C39.8 °C39.7 °C 
 37.1 °C37.8 °C37.1 °C 
Maximum: 39.8 °C
Average: 38.4 °C
30.6 °C36.6 °C34.1 °C
30.7 °C38.9 °C37.0 °C
32.1 °C39.3 °C36.0 °C
Maximum: 39.3 °C
Average: 35 °C
Power Supply (max.)  39.9 °C | Room Temperature 22.3 °C | Voltcraft IR-350

Speakers

The elongated speaker on the lower edge suggests quality, and gives hope for a pleasing sound experience. Well, it is an experience, though not really a good one. The sound is tinny, and lacks depth even in low volumes. Of course, this impression does not improve at higher volumes - rather the opposite. This is the first drawback, because the Z1 Compact was throughout exceptional until now.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The Z1 Compact benefits from its small screen in this section. The 5-inch edition consumed between 1.2 and 2.2 Watts during idle, and 3.9 to 5.7 Watts during load. Although it sports the same hardware, the Z1 Compact is considerably more frugal. We recorded the biggest difference in full load where the review sample only consumed 4.1 Watts. Compared with the One Mini and Galaxy S4 Mini, the three phones are only on par in the load scenario. The Snapdragon 400 in both contenders is satisfied with significantly fewer Watts when idling.

We measured 0.1 Watts when the Z1 Compact was on standby, and the Voltcraft VC 940 did not record any consumption when the phone was completely off.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.0 / 0.1 Watt
Idle 1.1 / 1.6 / 1.9 Watt
Load 3.5 / 4.1 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

The marathon-runner among smartphones. The 2300 mAh battery is quite generously sized for such a "compact" device. Even if the bigger model's battery adds up to 3000 mAh, it does not stand the slightest chance against the Z1 Compact's extreme battery runtime. The battery lasted for over 40 hours in idle, and we measured an equally very enduring runtime of just over 19 hours in the Wi-Fi scenario. The Z1 Compact still managed 3 hours and 28 minutes when all wireless modules were enabled, the screen's brightness was set to maximum, and the SoC was fully loaded. Thus, the small premium phone outperforms the 5-inch edition in all departments, and even the contenders can barely compete with such runtimes. The battery cannot be removed because the casing is certified according to IP standards (water and dust resistant).

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
40h 40min
WiFi Surfing
19h 04min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 28min

Verdict

Gigantic performance in a small casing - the Xperia Z1 Compact
Gigantic performance in a small casing - the Xperia Z1 Compact

Sony fulfills the wish of many customers with the Xperia Z1 Compact because these "Mini" versions were only available with stripped down hardware (see HTC's One MiniSamsung's Galaxy S4 Mini). The Z1 Compact, however, not only uses the same SoC as its bigger brother (Qualcomm Snapdragon 800); it also even eliminates some of the Z1's shortcomings. It can be generally said that Sony has managed to install a better screen in every respect: It is brighter, has a better contrast, and the viewing angle is very stable. Another plus is the battery runtime. A runtime of over 40 hours is exceptionally long.

Buyers flirting with the Xperia Z1, but who are in doubt about its size, might want to look closer at the Z1 Compact. It comes with the same advantages of the bigger model, and even mends its drawbacks. Its current purchase price of 499 Euros (~$683) is not a bargain, but premium hardware has its price. A look at Motorola's Moto G could be worthwhile should the budget be tighter - stripped down hardware for a more than fair purchase price.

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Specifications

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

:: Processor
:: Memory
2048 MB
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
4.3 inch 16:10, 1280x720 pixel, capacitive, LCD, IPS, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
16 GB eMMC Flash, 16 GB , 11 GB free
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm jack, Card Reader: Micro-SD slot, Sensors: aGPS, brightness sensor, motion sensor, proximity sensor, digital compass,
:: Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a b g n ac), 4.0 Bluetooth, GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz), HSPA+ (850, 900, 1700 and 1900 MHz), LTE Cat. 4 (800, 850, 900, 1700, 1800, 1900, 2100 and 2600 MHz)
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 9.5 x 64.9 x 127.0
:: Weight
0.137 kg Power Supply: 0.054 kg
:: Battery
Lithium-Ion, 2300 mAh, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 18 h, Standby 3G (according to manufacturer): 670 h
:: Price
499 Euro
:: Operating System
Android 4.3
:: Additional features
Webcam: Rear: 20.7 MP, Front: 2 MP, Speakers: mono speaker, Keyboard: virtual, 24 Months Warranty, IP58 and IP55 rated for water and dust resistance

 

The Xperia Z1 Compact is the latest...
The Xperia Z1 Compact is the latest...
...premium phone from Sony. The device has...
...premium phone from Sony. The device has...
...abundant power, and features high quality build.
...abundant power, and features high quality build.
As known from the Xperia series, the...
As known from the Xperia series, the...
...casing is dust and water resistant (IP standards). Consequently, all...
...casing is dust and water resistant (IP standards). Consequently, all...
...ports are protected with flaps.
...ports are protected with flaps.
The 4.3-inch screen has an HD resolution.
The 4.3-inch screen has an HD resolution.
The casing's left additionally sports...
The casing's left additionally sports...
...a docking station port.
...a docking station port.
The back cover is not removable. Therefore,...
The back cover is not removable. Therefore,...
...the battery cannot be exchanged.
...the battery cannot be exchanged.
The primary camera takes very good snapshots with natural-looking...
The primary camera takes very good snapshots with natural-looking...
...pictures, and videos in Full HD quality.
...pictures, and videos in Full HD quality.
The UI (user interface) looks a lot like...
The UI (user interface) looks a lot like...
...that of the Xperia Z1. Of course, bloatware is also pre-loaded.
...that of the Xperia Z1. Of course, bloatware is also pre-loaded.
There is not much content in the status bar.
There is not much content in the status bar.
The system settings allow...
The system settings allow...
...many specific setting options.
...many specific setting options.
The runtime optimization didn't come off badly either.
The runtime optimization didn't come off badly either.
Android version 4.3 is a must. The release date for the KitKat update...
Android version 4.3 is a must. The release date for the KitKat update...
...is yet unknown.
...is yet unknown.
The Z1 Compact supplies an awesome presentation, and can...
The Z1 Compact supplies an awesome presentation, and can...
...convince us. The smartphone will be worth considering when the price drops a bit.
...convince us. The smartphone will be worth considering when the price drops a bit.

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Pro

+High performance
+Bright screen
+Outstanding battery runtime
+Temperature development
+Picture quality
+IP certification
 

Cons

-Purchase price
-Scratch sensitive back
-Speaker quality

Shortcut

What we like

The 4.3-inch screen is exceptionally bright, has a low black level, and consequently an above-average high contrast - great job, Sony.

What we'd like to see

The purchase price is still a bit steep. Larger models are available for a bit less money, and the powerful Nexus 5 is, for example, considerably more affordable.

What surprises us

Sony has managed to eliminate all the flaws of the bigger model, and even increased the battery runtime significantly.

The competition

Sony Xperia Z1

Google Nexus 5

Motorola Moto G

HTC One Mini

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

 

Rating

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
03/31/2014 v4
Daniel Schuster

Chassis
94%
Keyboard
56 / 75 → 75%
Pointing Device
94%
Connectivity
44 / 60 → 73%
Weight
93%
Battery
96%
Display
87%
Games Performance
63 / 75 → 84%
Application Performance
49 / 65 → 75%
Temperature
84%
Noise
100%
Audio
55 / 91 → 60%
Camera
85%
Average
77%
88%
Smartphone *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Smartphone
Author: Daniel Schuster, 2014-02-14 (Update: 2014-02-14)