x PhoneArena is hiring! Reviewer in the USA

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5s

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5s

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5s
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5s
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5s
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5s
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5s
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5s

High-end Android smartphones have been successfully competing with the iPhone for quite some time now, but despite their undeniable popularity, there's one ubiquitous differentiating feature that sticks out like a sore thumb – each and every recent Android flagship has tried to target a slightly different audience than the typical iPhone crowd. With their massive screens and excessive focus on hardware prowess, devices like the HTC One, Galaxy S4 and LG G2 have always been cherished by the slightly more geeky part of society. The same goes for Sony's full-size flagship – the Xperia Z1, which is especially imposing with its dimensions.

What could this particular market situation mean? Well, we could read this as a way for Android manufacturers to avoid competing directly with the iPhone, but why haven't they even tried to produce a smaller device with the same powerful hardware that they usually bestow upon their creations? Sure, there are the 'mini' versions of the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One, but those phones are significantly weaker than their high-end brethren. Time and time again, we've asked for an Android flagship of great strength and easily-pocketable dimensions, but our requests have remained unanswered. Luckily, here comes Sony with the Xperia Z1 Compact – an ambitious handset of iPhone-like size that not only takes advantage of Sony's beautiful OmniBalance design, but also of the latest and greatest silicon that's available to Android manufacturers. It's a phone that we're extremely excited about, so what better way to say what it's made of than to pit it against the king of compact smartphones itself? Ladies and gents, prepare to witness an epic struggle of compact proportions: Xperia Z1 Compact vs iPhone 5s!


The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact has a great design language, that's actually reminiscent of the iPhone 4/4s. With its flat front and back sides, made of glass and plastic, respectively, held together by a sturdy metal frame, the Z1 Compact looks and feels great. However, the busier design, with numerous port and slot covers, doesn't allow the Z1 Compact to elevate itself to the clean and stylish industrial design of the iPhone 5s. The significantly thinner profile of Apple's handset, as well as its overall cleaner look makes it appear just a bit more premium in the looks department. Anyway, the trade-off isn't really big, and in exchange for a slightly thicker handset, you're getting quite a few niceties with the Z1 Compact, such as a microSD card slot, and easily-accessible SIM card slot, a dedicated camera-shutter key, and, of course, water-resistance!

Not that the Z1 Compact's construction isn't of high quality, but the iPhone 5s is simply unsurpassed in this respect. You can tell that the 5s is going to be the more expensive device just by pressing the physical keys, like the volume rocker and the power key. On the iPhone, these buttons have a nice and clicky feel, while on the Z1 Compact, their movement isn't so well-defined.

In terms of dimensions, the Z1 Compact (5.00 x 2.56 x 0.37 inches) is very close to the iPhone 5s (4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 inches), although it's a bit wider and, as we said, thicker. The slightly bigger size of the Xperia doesn't make it more uncomfortable to hold or operate with, so users who aren't into big smartphones can rest assured that both devices are almost equally small.

As we said, in addition to the bonus features of the Compact, such as microSD card slot, Sony's handset is also water- and dust-proof (IP58), which is something that the iPhone 5s can't offer. However, Apple's device does feature an excellent fingerprint sensor, which can make your device very secure and easy to unlock (by you) at the same time.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
5 x 2.56 x 0.37 inches
127 x 64.9 x 9.5 mm
4.83 oz (137 g)

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Apple iPhone 5s
4.87 x 2.31 x 0.3 inches
123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm
3.95 oz (112 g)

Apple iPhone 5s

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.


We're happy to see Sony using IPS LCD tech in the Xperia Z1 Compact. Unlike the screens used in its previous devices, this one actually has livelier colors, while viewing angles are finally reasonably good. The 720p resolution results in a slightly higher pixel density (clarity) of 342 ppi, compared to the iPhone 5's 326 ppi. That's despite the fact that the Z1 Compact also has a slightly larger screen (4.3 inches), which makes it a bit more desirable than the iPhone's 4” panel.

That said, if we have to compare these screens in terms of pure quality, the one of the iPhone 5s proves to be better in a number of areas. Maximum brightness is one of them, as Apple's finest can shine with up to 580 nits, while the Z1 Compact manages to reach the still-respectable 515 nits. In addition, the 5s can get dimmer, which is helpful when you want to read something in the dark, while its gamma is also more accurate (2.2 for the 5s versus 2.6 for the Z1 Compact).

It's once again a matter of trade-off with these displays, as the one of the iPhone 5s is considerably better, but the larger size of the Z1 Compact is a definite advantage that shouldn't be overlooked.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact 515
Apple iPhone 5s 587
View all

  • Options

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 09:46

1. darkkjedii (Posts: 21677; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

iPhone could use a bigger screen, sony could use more beauty. Both are highly functional, fast and smooth. Something about sony just doesn't quite grab me like apple Sammy, and HTC do though. It's like Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, J-Lo, and Kaley Couco. Somebody's gotta come in fourth. Sorry J-Lo er sony.

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 09:59 17

4. alterecho (Posts: 1098; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)

Hmmm... Coincidentally, Sony is the only company thats not involved in any patent dispute, in the mobile realm.

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 13:46 7

32. Feanor (Posts: 725; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)

I think they have an agreement with Ericsson to have access to their huge portfolio of patents which is crucial for mobile telephony. I don't think anyone can threaten them....

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 16:48 3

38. b1acktiger (Posts: 223; Member since: 19 May 2012)

Seriously, i don't think they were a threat to the competitors till 2012.

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 22:45 5

43. SonyPS4 (Posts: 344; Member since: 21 May 2013)

No one would dare to challenge Sony in patent war without any good reason. They have patent in pretty much every single segment of electronics

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 10:07

5. Arirank (Posts: 40; Member since: 19 Jan 2014)

Agreed. I dont know why.. there are just apple, sammy, n LG tht always invites me in..

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 10:22

9. darkkjedii (Posts: 21677; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

I know man, I can't put my finger on what turns me off about sony, just doesn't float my boat.

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 11:02 1

15. Sauce (unregistered)

I'm not fond of their phones, but oh my, I'm loving everything about my PS4 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 12:09

26. darkkjedii (Posts: 21677; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

PSP's do rock

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 11:20 15

20. buccob (Posts: 2571; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)

it surprises me because having had Moto, Sammy, and Sony (and for moments LG) I think that Sony phones are the closest to an "Apple" experience on Android (but with android advantages)...

Walkman app is actually very simple, polish, good looking, and feature rich...
Album interface is also simple with pinch integration and organized automatically
Notifications and shortcuts are nicelooking unobtrusing... Small apps is a good alternative to multi-window...

I really like Sony for taking cues from apple, without limiting android.

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 12:14

28. darkkjedii (Posts: 21677; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

Good battery life?

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 13:37 3

31. buccob (Posts: 2571; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)

Well yeah.. that actually might be something other manufacturers do better with a few exceptions like the Xperia SP, Z1.... Specially for big phones... though Music battery times is a lot better in my Xperia compared to Samsung and Moto...

However, the Z1 Compact promises great battery life...

And with apps such as Llama or SmartConnect, I barely turn my screen on to specifically toggle BT, WiFi, dim screen, and even change a sound profile... so it helps battery life quite a bit.

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 20:18

40. __0__ (banned) (Posts: 242; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)

I agree , xperia devices has better user experience than samsung phones

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 10:39 9

12. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)

Try using your iphone without any accessories,
when you're wearing thick gloves in the winter.

After that let me know if your iphone can still
function properly???

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 10:42

13. ihavenoname (Posts: 1693; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)

And here we f-ing go again...

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 10:45 3

14. darkkjedii (Posts: 21677; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

Dude go somewhere with that stupid a$$ crap. I'm not gonna let you know a damn thing, cuz informing you doesn't matter to me, and you factor into my life absolutely zero. Now after reading this get lost. My iPhone 5s works just fine, and when it comes time to sell it and get the new one in sept. I guarantee you, it'll be worth a helluva lot more than that sony mess will be.

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 11:04

16. Sauce (unregistered)

You said that right lol. My girlfriend's brother just made off with $5000 USD from 3 iPhone 5s's.

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 12:12

27. darkkjedii (Posts: 21677; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

Exactly Sauce, apple resale\3rd party value alone makes it a best buy.

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 11:32 9

22. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)

Hahaha.... It seems that my question made ​​you so angry, I just wanted to know if the iphone is still able to function well in certain circumstances.
Because some high end phones from samsung, nokia, sony and even some chinese phones have features that are very useful in everyday life.

I strongly agree with this
"when it comes time to sell it and get the new one in sept. I guarantee you, it'll be worth a helluva lot more than the mess that Sony will be"

And now I'll do what you ask "Now after reading this get lost" I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings goodbye :)

posted on 07 Feb 2014, 12:40

56. sgodsell (Posts: 3736; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

So is that whats makes the iPhone great these days, its resale value. Thats what I should be looking for out of every phone I buy. Lord knows that's what makes the iPhone great these days. So is that why the iPhone 4 is not selling well in india for instance. They started selling it for rs 22000 and then dropped it to rs 15000. Everyone wants those old iPhones because they sell so well. Yeah right. Drink more of that koolaid your drinking there.

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 09:47 5

2. Commentator (Posts: 3701; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)

"The only thing that you need to decide is what type of device you want: a curated and mature phone that's slightly limited in its functionality, or a more open and flexible one that's just slightly less perfected."

Wow, with that conclusion I'm sure glad I didn't read the whole comparison.

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 11:10 15

17. buccob (Posts: 2571; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)

What did you expect from so call "experts"... let me summarize:
- Keyboard: "There's a bit of a trade-off here, as the Compact's keyboard features some additional keys that aren't present on the iPhone 5s..."
Actually the Keyboard on Xperias can be customized right out of the box, so you can add or remove unused buttons such as smilies, punctuation, you can choose secondary function for each key to be displayed, AND you can even change the color to match samsung's keyboard, apple's keyboard or simply a mix of dark and light colored keys...

- Conectivity... the "expert" admits the Z1 has more (NFC, DLNA, WiFi ac) but then goes on saying that there isn't much use for it right now!!!! WTF!!!!
the device is being futureproof and even if not many people use it, you have the option... I occationally use DLNA and NFC, the former to play music directly to my TV (since movies may stutter) and NFC for easy pairing with other devices.... But either way it is useful to have and it is wrong to just make it sound like it is not important just because the author do not use it...

- Camera: Kind of a fair review here...

- Multimedia: The Walkman app is times better than Apples Music app... adding extensions, customizing, looks that change based on album art, mp3 tags editor, full 5 bands equalizer (not just preinstalled ones), and NO ClearAudio is not the feature that makes it louder, xLOUD is... and with the equalizer you can make it sound louder customizing it.
For movies there is always more and better options with Android, not mentioning that you can use a USB OTG cable and reproduce movies and music files directly from there... and with MX Player, any video format. Period.
Album, actually I thing the new iPhone's gallery is better... though I like how I can pinch to zoom up to single photos in my Sony... and down to 7 for each row... and under "My Album" you can see organized a Map view, Globe view, Facebook pics, etc...

- Battery: still waiting for a formal battery test... but since you guys are just taking announce numbers... Hey the Z1 seems to be overall better in terms of battery... and remember that THIS IS THE NUMBER 1 FEATURE THAT SMARTPHONE USERS ARE CRAVING FOR TODAY.

This review... like all past reviews related to Sony... are BS and totally uninformed

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 12:35 13

29. miso519 (Posts: 1; Member since: 27 Jan 2014)

could not agree with you more...author is clearly messed up iSh..p is he finds NFC, DLNA irrelevant:D...
also bugs me "tone" of this article: Z1 is good at this...but iphone is better anyway.

sorry, but only reasonable iphone owner for me are those people who get it with some speeecial discount...otherwise its just too expensive and its no worth it!

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 22:00

42. Kaiser2007 (Posts: 173; Member since: 16 Nov 2013)

I read the conclusion only, just like you. And the rating. Now, waiting for "user reviews" to come out. Let's see how they match up.

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 09:59 3

3. majp89 (Posts: 171; Member since: 18 Jun 2013)

Well, nice to see an Android phone with a decent camera. It outperforms the iPhone in low-light especially. I think the pictures look better and more vibrant from the iPhone in daylight however. If this supports T-Mobile LTE I might have to pick it up in a couple of months. I have the Z1S right now and I think the camera is amazing.

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 10:10

6. camera531 (Posts: 344; Member since: 30 Jun 2012)

The only thing holding the Sony back is the permanent, heat treated plastic film (screen protector) that is over the screen and back glass. It scratches very easily and fingerprints are hard to remove, unlike the clean coated glass on the iphone (and every other OEM screen). Sony says it uses scratch resistant glass, but what's the point when it's permanently covered with cheap plastic that scratches and scuffs just by looking at it. Huge blunder!

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 11:13 4

18. buccob (Posts: 2571; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)

Wrong... actually this is what makes Sony smartphones less cracking prone on the screen...

I have seen it first handed and I will always try to get a Sony for that uses those Shatterproof films... (SHATTER, not Scratch)

I simply apply an additional scratchproof sheet on top and if I am not mistaken, Sony is providing this as well in the new Z1 Compact...

But the shatterproof layer really helps keeping the screen from shattering... go look some Drop Test on youtube vs other phones...

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 20:22 1

41. __0__ (banned) (Posts: 242; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)

Extra layer makes the phone's touch screen slightly less senstivive , I notice it when browsing through photos at the album app . ZL owner here. Would like to remove the rubbish anti shatter thing but failed

posted on 28 Jan 2014, 06:59

46. buccob (Posts: 2571; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)

That is weird, it didn't happen to my Acro S. I can actually place about 5 sheets of paper on top of my screen (with double layer) and still register good touch input

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 06:56

53. KennethM27 (Posts: 1; Member since: 29 Jan 2014)

i place 2 glass file above the screeof my sony xperia v and it still recognize it correctly

Want to comment? Please login or register.

Latest stories