Apple iPhone 6 vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
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.
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.
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.