Sony has once again gone for a “mini” offering in the Xperia series. This time it is the “mini” for Xperia Z1, namely Xperia Z1 compact. Last year’s mini version of Xperia Z gathered good appreciation and Sony aims for much more than that. So coming to Xperia Z1 compact, we wouldn’t really call it as a mini version of its bigger brother. Have a look at the specs and you will observe that this itself is another flagship phone just with a smaller display. Sure, the Z1 compact feels so compelling, but does it really perform well enough as expected? Let us find out.
Design & Display:
The Z1 Compact is one of the beautiful phones in the Xperia lineup. It looks almost like its bigger brother Z1. The front panel is covered with glass and the backpanel is a very smooth plastic which attracts smudges easily. Due to this finishing, it feels a bit slippery but since the size is smaller, it is quite manageable. The phone neither feels thin nor feels thick, at around 9.5mm along with 137gms weight. .The phone sports a 4.3 inch IPS LCS display with 720x1280 resolution and 342 ppi. Sony has made a great effort in improving the display. Though this is not a 1080p display, still it feels very good and pleasant to look. Viewing angles are excellent and colors look so vibrant. Brightness levels too are good and sun light legibility is okay. Overall the Z1 compact scores so well in design and display and we can say this is one of the best looking devices in the market.
The phone comes with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with Sony’s own UI on top of it. It can also be upgraded to 4.4.4 KitKat through software update. Most of the UI feels pretty much similar to Z1. You can have various widgets in the lockscreen including the music player controls. The custom widgets from Sony, which we have seen in the recent Xperia devices, are also loaded and you can resize or arrange them based on your needs. The notification panel contains several toggle switches and you can customize which all you want in the notification panel to display. Small Apps feature is also present where you can create a resizable window of an app and you can float it around the screen. We can also choose different themes so that it would change the wallpaper and icon colors accordingly. Overall, the phone runs smoother on the UI and we hardly faced any hiccups.
Camera & Audio:
The device borrows the same 20.7 MP camera that it is present in the Z1.This is an auto focus camera featuring 1/2.3 sensor size and some image stabilization. There is also a 2MP cam at the front which can capture videos of 1080p at 30fps. The camera UI is more or less the same as of its bigger brother. Sony has loaded a bunch of scene modes, tweaks and various options to take some creative pictures. The phone is also blessed with a dedicated shutter button, so taking pictures will be quite easy.
The image quality is great but once again like the Z1, for a 20MP cam the quality could have been better. But still it’s far better than most of the 13MP flagships and can take some seriously great pictures. Colors look natural enough and there is an excellent amount of detail in the images captured. There would be some noise in the images captured, but the image processing cleverly tweaks it to minimise the noise well. Though day light image quality is excellent, still the low light photography is not so great and some of the images suffer from a bit of blurriness or darkness. Coming to audio quality, the loudspeaker produces excellent output, but still suffers what most other Xperias suffer from – the average loudness levels.
Connectivity & Additional Features:
The phone comes in single sim version; supports one micro sim card. Network reception is good and we didn’t face any issues with it. The call quality is excellent with ample loudness and clarity during call and the active noise cancellation works well even in noisy environments. .The phone also supports Wi-Fi 802.11, Bluetooth 4.0, 3G, NFC, Stereo FM Radio and A-GPS. Internal memory is of 16GB and the device also supports micro SD cards upto 64GB. This phone too comes with IP58 certified dust and water resistance capabilities. Sony claims that this works well even in under water. The water resistance capability is much more improved when compared to the Xperia Z and we don’t think you would face any issues if you take it in rain or for a bath!!
Performance & Battery:
Surprisingly, the device comes with Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset with a quad core 2.2 GHz Krait 400 processor along with 2 GB RAM and Adreno 330 GPU. Look at it –is this what you expect in a ‘mini’ phone? This is one of the powerful processors which can even outperform some of the premium flagship devices. Great choice Sony. Anyway let us see how it performs in the real world. The phone scored so good in benchmark tests, scoring around 33k in Antutu and 20k in Quadrant benchmarks even surpassing its bigger brother Z1. Multi-tasking works well and general operation on the phone is butter smooth. Gaming performance is also great with the blessed Adreno 330 and we were seriously looking if we could find any lags, but the device didn’t even show any hiccups even for some of the heavy games.
Coming to the battery, after reading all of this if you’re expecting a bigger battery here, this might seem disappointing. The battery capacity is only 2300mAh. But not to worry, it works really great. Since the screen is of lower resolution, it won’t eat up the battery much and you would easily get it for more than one and half day for moderate usage.
IP 58 certified
Compact phone with great specs
Low light image quality is not as expected
Loudness levels could have been better
Smooth finishing and glass design attracts smudges easily
So what do you feel? The Z1 compact though having some weakpoints, doesn’t really take away the impression we have got. We have never seen a mini phone coming up with such a great specs which are almost the same as of its higher end version. The real world performance in terms of processor and image quality beats the hell out of most of the higher priced flagship phones and surprisingly, even beats the Z1 in some cases. There wasn’t much competition till now in the mini category, but Sony seems to fire it up with the Z1 compact. At this price, the phone has some good flagship rivals like Nexus 5, HTC One, Galaxy S4 etc. but the Z1 Compact wins your heart in almost every category. Either you call it a mini phone, or simple consider it as a flagship device in a smaller size. We highly recommend the Xperia Z1 Compact if you’re looking for a phone in this price segment and we hardly see any phone in the range that can match the impression it creates and Sony is to be greatly appreciated for the effort.
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Rivals:
Nokia Lumia 1020
Nokia Lumia 1520
Oppo N1 Mini
Gionee Elife E7 Mini
Samsung Galaxy K Zoom
Samsung Galaxy S5
Micromax Canvas Knight A350
|Release Date||2014, February|
|Operating System||Android v4.3 Jelly Bean|
|Upgradable to||Android v4.4.2 KitKat|
|Processor||2.2 GHz Quad Core Krait 400 Processor|
|Chipset||Qualcomm Snapdragon 800|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass|
|+ RAM & STORAGE|
|Internal Memory||16 GB|
|External Storage||64 GB|
|+ DISPLAY & TOUCH|
|Touch Screen||Yes, Triluminos Capacitive|
|Screen Type||IPS LCD|
|Resolution||1280 x 720 pixels|
|Pixel Density||~342 ppi|
|Multi-touch||Yes, up to 10 fingers|
|Screen Protection||Scratch-resistant Glass|
|Rear Camera||20.7 MP|
|Front Camera||2 MP|
|Camera Features||5248 х 3936 pixels, autofocus, LED Flash, 1/2.3 inches sensor size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, image stabilization, HDR, panorama|
|2G Network||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900|
|3G Network||HSDPA 900 / 2100|
|4G Network||No (Not Available in India)|
|+ SIM OPTIONS|
|Dimensions||127 x 64.9 x 9.4 mm|
|Color||Black, White, Purple, Yellow, Pink|
|GPRS||Yes, Up to 107 kbps|
|EDGE||Yes, Up to 296 kbps|
|3G||HSDPA 42 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps|
|4G||No (Not Available in India)|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS support and GLONASS|
|Wi-Fi||Yes, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA|
|+ MUSIC & VIDEO|
|Music Player||MP3, WAV, WMA, eAAC+|
|Radio||Yes, Stereo FM Radio|
|Video Player||MP4, H.264, H.263, WMV|
|SMS||Yes, Threaded View|
|Email, Push Email|
|Battery Type||Non-removable Li-ion 2300 mAh battery|
|Talktime||Up to 10 hrs (2G) / Up to 18 hrs (3G)|
|Standy by Time||Up to 670 hrs (2G) / Up to 600 hrs (3G)|
|Music Playback Time||Up to 94 hrs|
|+ APPS & GAMES|
|Built-in Apps||Google Play, Google Search, Google Maps, Google Calendar, Gmail, Youtube|
|Java||Yes, via Java MIDP emulator|
|+ Additional Features|
|Triluminos display, X-Reality Engine, ANT+ support, SNS integration, TV-out (via MHL A/V link), Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic, Voice memo/dial, Predictive text input|