Introduction


If you are gunning for a compact, but powerful Android handset, it doesn't get much harder than choosing between the Galaxy Alpha and the Z3 Compact. Galaxy Alpha is Samsung's first truly elegant small-screen phone, coming with premium design, hardware, and price point.

The most formidable competitor of the Alpha in the land of the green robot is Sony's Xperia Z3 Compact munchkin, and not only because it has almost the same screen diagonal, but also because the waterproof phone has a superb specs sheet that even includes a 20 MP camera. Which is the better compact flagship? Let's find out...

Design

Galaxy Alpha looks more stylish than the Z3 Compact, but Sony housed waterproof stereo speakers, and a huge battery.

While rumors were priming us for a metal-clad, premium Samsung phone, we got the Galaxy Alpha. Granted, it debuted classy metal frame and sides, but kept Samsung's traditional plastic rear cover that can be pried open to swap the battery. The Alpha is lighter and feels way thinner than the Z3 Compact, but Sony's phone is significantly shorter and a bit narrower, so it goes a bit more manageable in the hand. Still, Samsung's stylish creation feels great in the hand, and would be a godsend for those who prefer their Android phones thin.

With the chamfered bezels and metal edge the Galaxy Alpha looks, dare we say it, more premium already.
The Z3 Compact, on the other hand, sports a tempered glass unibody which flaunts a high IP68 waterproof rating, meaning you can dip it in up to five feet of water without a hitch – something that the Alpha can' brag with.

Samsung's stand-out design piece is the physical home key underneath the display with an embedded fingerprint scanner, which requires you to swipe your finger over it the old-fashioned way, instead of employing a touch-based solution like Apple or Huawei. Sony, however, also equipped the Z3 Compact with something extra - a pair of stereo speakers, sitting at the top and bottom of the front half.


Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Dimensions

5.21 x 2.58 x 0.26 inches

132.4 x 65.5 x 6.7 mm

Weight

4.06 oz (115 g)

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Dimensions

5 x 2.56 x 0.34 inches

127 x 64.9 x 8.6 mm

Weight

4.55 oz (129 g)

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Dimensions

5.21 x 2.58 x 0.26 inches

132.4 x 65.5 x 6.7 mm

Weight

4.06 oz (115 g)

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Dimensions

5 x 2.56 x 0.34 inches

127 x 64.9 x 8.6 mm

Weight

4.55 oz (129 g)

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



Display

Colors accuracy? Who cares, said Sony, and outed the Z3 Compact, while Samsung primed the Alpha with a pretty color-true display that is more visible outdoors.

The Alpha got a 4.7” panel with a “mere” 720x1280 resolution, returning 312ppi, while the Z3 Compact notches it down a tad with a 4.6” panel of the same resolution, boasting 319ppi pixel density. This pixel density is lower than most other phones, but is still perfectly adequate for the vast majority of purposes.

The Z3 Compact's panel is very color-inaccurate, with its color temperature being some of the coldest we've seen – we measured 9964K (6500K is the reference); you can tweak it in the settings, but it still doesn't get much better. The Galaxy Alpha's screen can have the typical AMOLED oversaturation, too, but when choose the Basic screen mode, it goes on the totally opposite end of that spectrum, with excellent temperature of 6800K. Its colors are also pretty accurate in this mode, unlike the Z3 Compact, which has a pretty wide color deviation, as you can see in our chart.

When it comes to peak brightness, the phones are largely equal, with Sony's handset measuring 436nits, against the Galaxy Alpha's 422. The Alpha has slightly better outdoor visibility, as the Z3 Compact's screen reflectance is higher. It’s also worth mentioning that both displays feature a super sensitive mode that recognizes touch even when you operate it with your gloves on, but you need to enable this feature in the settings first.


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