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Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review

Introduction

The Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact is a rare breed – it’s small on the outside, but big on the inside. Packed with all the latest hardware and having only a small screen to power, Sonys latest super-mini may very well be the performance champion to beat. But whenever there is a superhero, there is a villain lurking in the shadows. So yes, the Compact has its own battle to fight thats not all about size or speed.

Three years ago, the first Xperia Z1 Compact did the unthinkable, taking the then flagship apart and putting it back together into a smaller, nimbler package. Economy? Absolutely not. It was the performance package.

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review

Sony eventually pulled the brakes with the X Compact last season but the XZ1 Compact is trying to make up for it and get back in the fast lane: the latest Snapdragon 835 chip, the flagship-grade Sony IMX400 camera with 960fps slow-mo vids, the elegant waterproof design, and Android Oreo right out of the box.

With a screen that size, the XZ1 has no business in the resolution race and the performance has the biggest gain. The XZ1 Compact is shaping up to be what the iPhone SE was to loyal Apple users and we can’t wait to take this little beast out for a spin.

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact key features
Body: 129 x 64 x 9.3mm, 140g of a glass-fiber-reinforced plastic unibody, Gorilla Glass 5 front, IP65/68 waterproofing
Screen: 4.6″ Triluminos display of 720p resolution (720 x 1,280px); 319ppi
OS: Android OS v8 Oreo with the Xperia launcher and Sony multimedia bundle
Chipset: Snapdragon 835 chipset: octa-core Kryo 280 CPU (4×2.46GHz +4×1.9GHz); Adreno 540 GPU; 4GB of RAM
Camera: 19MP, 1/2.3″ Sony IMX400 camera, f/2.0 lens, predictive hybrid laser/phase detection/contrast AF, burst AF, IR sensor for white balance, LED flash, dedicated hardware shutter key;
Video recording: 4K video recording @30fps, 1080p @60fps, 720p @960fps, Steady Shot; Stereo audio recording;
Selfie: 8MP, 1/4″ front-facing ultra wide-angle camera with FOV120 and 1080p@30fps video
Storage: 32GB of built-in UFS storage and a microSD card slot
SIM: Single and dual-SIM models (region specific)
Connectivity: Cat. 15 LTE; Dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, MIMO; GPS/GLONASS/Beidou/Galileo, Bluetooth v5.0; NFC, USB-C port with USB 2.0 support, 3.5mm headphone jack
Audio: Active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic; 24-bit/192kHz Hi-Res audio; S-Force Front Surround stereo speakers
Battery: 2,700mAh non-removable battery, QuickCharge 3.0 support, Qnovo adaptive charging, Battery Care smart charging
Misc: Fingerprint sensor (market dependent), stereo speakers

Main shortcomings
Big screen bezels
No HDR screen
Low screen resolution

Although the Compact series have clearly evolved over the past few years, the screen resolution is still stuck at 720p. It’s not that 319ppi is dismal but Sony shouldve moved on to 1080p instead of risk slipping behind the curve.

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review

The generous screen bezels are something the entire Xperia XZ lineup needs to deal with. We wonder if theyre less annoying on a smaller scale or is it one of those things that are easier for a mini to get away with than a flagship.

Anyway, the real question is can the XZ1 Compact sell the super-mini concept to enough people in the times of borderless displays and pretty compact five-inchers. Lets see.