Introduction


The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is a handset that takes its petite dimensions seriously - despite having a relatively small 4.6-inch display, it packs some of Android’s latest and most powerful silicon. Coincidentally, it’s smaller than most Android flagships in size, and that puts it in direct competition with another top-shelf device - Apple’s 4.7-inch iPhone 6.

Despite being somewhat similar in size, the two are vastly different on the inside: the Z3 Compact coming with Android 4.4 KitKat, while the iPhone 6 running iOS 8. Then, come the hardware differences: Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon 801 versus Apple’s A8, the 20-megapixel camera on the Z3 Compact versus the 8-megapixel shooter on the iPhone 6, and the list goes on and on.

How does this all work out in the two and is one better than the other? Let’s compare them in more detail to find out.

Design

Both are very good looking phones: the Z3 Compact with its body sandwiched between two pieces of glass and surrounded with translucent plastic, while the iPhone 6 features an even more premium feeling metal...

Sony and Apple are two companies that have long stood out with their impressive and innovative designs. The Z3 Compact and iPhone 6 fit right in that tradition.

The Z3 Compact builds on the legacy of last year’s Z1 Compact, but ups the ante when it comes to materials - its internals are sandwiched between two pieces of glass (rather than plastic), and encircled with translucent plastic that contributes to the phone’s character. It’s also practical - each of the four edges of the phone has an additional patch of plastic that is there for better protection in case the phone falls to the ground. The iPhone 6, on its part, is made of good old ‘aluminium’ that gives the phone a very sturdy, yet premium feel.

Apple has also made it remarkably thin - the iPhone 6 measures in at just 0.27 inches (6.9mm), while the Z3 Compact comes in at the thicker 0.34 inches (8.6mm). In terms of overall size and dimensions, though, Sony’s handsets does live up to its compact name and it’s the smaller one, easier to use with a single hand. It’s worth pointing out that Sony has managed to up the screen size in the Z3 Compact to 4.6 inches while keeping the same overall size as the 4.3” Z1 Compact, which is an impressive achievement.

In terms of buttons, the Z3 Compact has none up front where it relies on on-screen navigation keys, while all of its physical buttons are on the right side - a power/lock key in the middle that is a bit too small for our taste, but otherwise fine, a volume rocker that is also on the small side, and a dedicated camera shutter key. The iPhone 6 introduces the first change in iPhone button layout since the beginning of the lineup in 2007. The round home key, home to the fingerprint scanner (a fingerprint reader is missing on the Z3 Compact) is still right below the screen, but the power/lock key is now conveniently positioned on the side rather than on top, a change dictated by the larger size of the phone. You also have two separate volume keys on the left, and all buttons are very clicky and comfortable to press.

The Z3 Compact, however, has one neat feature that the iPhone 6 does not have: it is water- and dust-proof, carrying an IP68 certification rating. What this means is that the device is protected against dust and can withstand immersion in fresh water up to 5 feet deep for as long as 30 minutes.


Display

The Z3 Compact comes with a 4.6” 720p display with noticeably bluish colors, while the iPhone 6's 4.7” display with a resolution of 750 x 1334 is very well calibrated...

The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact features a 4.6-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels, while the Apple iPhone 6 sports a slightly larger, 4.7-inch screen of a similar IPS LCD kind, and a resolution of 750 x 1334 pixels. Both are nearly equally sharp - pixel density comes in at 319ppi on the Z3 Compact, while the one on the iPhone 6 stands at 326ppi. Both those scores are below the standards for sharpness set by other flagships, and you can see some slight pixelization (especially in tiny text) if you look at the displays up close.

Speaking of color accuracy, Sony has gone way off with the screen of the Z3 Compact. The most glaring issue with it is its bluish cast. Indeed, measurements confirm that the white point is way on the cold side at a color temperature of nearly 10000K (while the reference, neutral value stands at 6500K). This is accompanied with gamma of 2.67, way above the reference 2.2 value, which translates into an appearance of a darker display with overly boosted (and inaccurate) contrast. Admittedly, Sony does include a color control option, so that color purists can compensate for the bluishness of the screen and achieve more accurate (but still not perfect) colors (we tweaked it to the following values: red ~ 250, green ~ 190, blue ~ 0). Finally, it’s worth mentioning that Sony’s X-Reality screen mode only further boosts colors, making them more eye popping than the default mode, but not contributing much to accuracy.

The iPhone 6, on the other hand, does very well when it comes to color accuracy. Color temperature is just a bit on the cold side, and there is a slight imbalance towards the blue in greyscale, but it’s minimal, and overall, colors are calibrated well. Gamma at 2.23 is excellent, very close to the reference 2.2 value.

For outdoor viewing, the iPhone 6 has also got the upper hand as its brightness shoots up to a peak of 606 nits, way above the 436 peak of the Z3 Compact. The iPhone is definitely the easier of the two to read outdoors on a bright sunny day.



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52 Comments

1. PopeFrancis

Posts: 110; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

Z3 for me. I would take an slightly weaker processor for the added functionality any day. To be able to put any media content in the phone without restrictions or specific sofware makes it a better option for me; using torrents, downloading any file from web browsers and almost double battery life... an easy choice

3. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Agreed Pope :)

18. Duketytz

Posts: 534; Member since: Nov 28, 2013

Since both the doge and the Pope agree, I'll be getting Z3c then

35. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

A lot is left out in the feature department of z3c . Not surprise with the comparison of pa always in the advantage of apple.

47. Pongchat.M

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 02, 2014

Yeah I'm also for Z3 compact,the battery performance will do much better for me...

2. darkkjedii

Posts: 31030; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

It'll be the same trolls, choosing the Z3, just cuz it's android. Both of them are great devices, go with the one that represent your Eco system, and needs/wants the best.

5. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Report trolls. Both fit well in their respective criteria. Choose wisely.

11. Xenaz

Posts: 144; Member since: Apr 28, 2013

When both great devices have their own strengths and weaknesses, but one cost far cheaper than the other, that's what makes me choose the cheaper one.

12. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

I would choose the Z3C over the iPhone 6, despite its flaws... because it would suit me better for my kind of usage... but to put it in perspective, my best friend is looking for a new phone (currently has an iPhone 4) and for the very first time in years he is considering switching to something else than Apple... but in reality I still recommended him to get the iPhone 6 because I know it will suit him better for his type of usage and ecosystem... Additionally, Victor H left many features and specs out of the Z3C as usual behavior for P.A. reviewers.... He did not stated that the Z3C had also USB OTG connections, as well as Miracast, MHL 3.0 and its proprietary charging pins for charging and not having to open the flaps. One of the most notable UI features of Sony's skin is Small Apps, and it did not get any mention here... also he placed only 8 screenshots of Sony UI while posting 12 of iOS... there are A Lot of features behind both systems, so at least he could have post the same number of screenshot samples. I agree that the iPhone 6's camera is one of the best in mobile world, but for my eyes, out of the 44 pics, there were only a couple of them that I would say the iPhone did a better job... To me most of the pictures from the Z3 Compact are better in color, dynamic range and contrast with the exception of the Selfie. The pics from iPhone 6 looks so pale here... see it side by side. Finally, for $150 less, waterproof design, more compact yet with similar screen size, double the RAM, DOUBLE THE BATTERY life, and minor flaws, I would definitely without a doubt buy the Z3C instead of the iPhone 6... Seriously, not Trolling.

31. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

Add the microSD reader to the list of things that he forgot to put on the Z3 favor...

32. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

It is there under Processor and Memory in Page 2. But yeah, in this type of comparisons there is always a lot left out and it makes the article feels a little bias... specially with certain adjective and wording used by certain authors. Victor H is not the most bias here though... that title go to John V, Nick T, Daniel P.

33. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

I was referring to the summary, where he suggests that the only advantage of the Z3 is the battery, when there are plenty others. And in the Apple biased group you forgot the two most prominent: Ray S. and Alan F. :)

34. Feanor

Posts: 1365; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

The Z3 killer feature that reviewers and fans alike forget is the digital noise reduction. I have a Z2 with this feature and when I'm in the loud tube I feel like a superior being thinking "poor iPhone users, you think that your listening to music now, but you're actually just trying to guess it". Considering that using the smartphone as a portable music player is one of the most common uses, it's a very important, unique selling point for Sonys

36. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Yes!, I die to try that on my next Xperia, sadly I think I will need to get the NC earbuds separately since it won't probably come included... However my Plantronics Go2 while a bit of bass-lacking, they provide great noise isolation, and the sound quality is actually very good for $60 Bluetooth buds... And the only time I go wired, is when I must because of dead battery, otherwise to me, Music = Bluetooth..... Be it at the car, home, or personal headphones

37. Odiin

Posts: 373; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

+1, Yes, also no mentioning of Sony's excellent digital image stabilisation.

53. jnastaro

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 08, 2015

And can mirror de ps4, another hot point

29. dimas

Posts: 3363; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

"It'll be the same trolls, choosing the Z3, just cuz it's android." You're pathetic, you also sing the same lyrics with your apple fanaticism and adulation. Stop crying like a baby on trolls, they're part of the internet. And no, iPhone 6 IS NOT a great device, it's just the greatest rip off for 2014. And screw you if you're going to attack my personal opinion muscle boy.

4. Symon_Fleece

Posts: 351; Member since: May 30, 2014

Z3 compact is better :)

6. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Is that a judgement or your personal choice?

8. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Probably both.

9. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Then it's a false judgement i would say.

10. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

KingDoge

21. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Doge lives better life than most people here. Exception - Phonearena.com/user/Billgates

22. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Lol he's BANNED WTF?!! What has he done?

27. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

being Anti-Apple... lol

7. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1245; Member since: Aug 13, 2010

Z3 all the way. I don't see any reason to pick the iPhone unless you're already committed to that ecosystem or if the Z3 isn't available in your area.

13. FaisalWibowo11

Posts: 166; Member since: Aug 12, 2013

LOL at PA saying the camera of iphone 6 is better than Z3 compact. I downloaded the samples and pixel peep and it is obvious that Z3 compact is superior, especially in daylight shots. In terms of night & low light shots, iphone 6 definitely can't do as good as these. https://flic.kr/p/prCveT https://flic.kr/p/oR5Fev https://flic.kr/p/oR5FxX https://flic.kr/p/otR3Fs https://flic.kr/p/otSC2M

16. Busyboy unregistered

Obviously the Z3c has a better camera, just don't expect iPhonearena to acknowledge it.

28. mawhob2222

Posts: 219; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

I'm with you (busboy)

23. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

I think the Z3 C is not that good in low light. It's weird because Z2 is very good :0

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