Sony Xperia X Compact Review

Introduction


Sony's Compact line of Xperia phones has been earning accolades ever since its inception back in 2014 with the original Z1 Compact. It seemed that a lot of folks have been clamoring for small, manageable handsets with flagship specs, that's why Sony struck a chord and a loyal following that gladly gobbled up the original 4.3-incher, then the 4.6” Z3 and Z5 Compacts.

Sony Xperia X Compact Review
Sony, however, put the kibosh on the Z line, and didn't announce a new Compact with the first batch of its new X line, sending its fans in disarray. The company has apparently taken notice, though, as the fall editions ofthe X line include the new Xperia XZ flagship, as well as a fresh 4.6” munchkin, the X Compact that we are about to review here.

The small-but-powerful concept, however, has undergone a change, morphing into small-upper-midranger by using a humbler chipset, instead of a top-shelf Snapdragon 8-series one, with the respective price correction downwards. While potential X Compact customers will be happy to hear about the price drop compared to the initial tags of its predecessors, has Sony made many compromises with the new Compact line reincarnation to reach said midrange price point? Read on to find out...

In the box:


Design

The roving munchkin design feels good in hands and pockets, but is marred by smallish, shallow keys

Sony Xperia X Compact Review

The X Compact has tapered, rounded edges both at the front and on the back, which, coupled with a fairly chubby 9.5mm body, makes the phone very pleasant to hold, and easy to pick up from a flat surface.

Other that that, there is nothing really remarkable or premium about the X Compact design, it's unapologetically plastic, and the shiny finish attracts fingerprints with ease. On the plus side, the plastic construction is fairly light, feels sturdy, and overall – it's not a phone you'd baby and constantly worry about like a lot of the heavy glass-and-metal creations lately. The smallish size makes it invisible in your pocket or purse, and allows you to reach everywhere on the screen with your thumb only while holding it in your palm. That was the sweet spot that attracted a lot of users to the Z Compact editions before, and Sony is changing none of it.

Sony Xperia X Compact Review
Sony Xperia X Compact Review

The front-facing stereo speakers that Sony has been known with for a while are still here, but one other signature feature is gone – the X Compact has no water-tight ratings, so don't take it in the shower like the previous Compacts. Another important change is the addition of a USB-C port, which is a first for Sony, and makes fumbling with the cable connector sides a thing of the past.

Sony Xperia X Compact Review
If you look at the back of the phone, there is one other marked difference with previous Xperias – the camera lens up left is still there, but the LED flash and two other conspicuous looking circles are housed in a neat ellipse near it. These are the laser-assisted autofocus and infrared color meter units that Sony throws into a phone for the first time.

The power/lock key at the right has an embedded finger scanner, but the US versions won't have that for some reason, yet again.

The lock key is pretty small and recessed to prevent inadvertent clicks, but it is also with quite a shallow feedback, so pressing it is not a very clicky and satisfying experience. The same goes for the volume rocker and two-stage shutter key right beneath it – on top of the shallow feedback, they are very small and hard to feel and press without looking.


Sony Xperia X Compact

Sony Xperia X Compact

Dimensions

5.08 x 2.56 x 0.37 inches

129 x 65 x 9.5 mm

Weight

4.76 oz (135 g)

Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016)

Dimensions

5.3 x 2.57 x 0.29 inches

134.5 x 65.2 x 7.3 mm

Weight

4.66 oz (132 g)

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

Dimensions

5 x 2.56 x 0.35 inches

127 x 65 x 8.9 mm

Weight

4.87 oz (138 g)

Apple iPhone 6

Apple iPhone 6

Dimensions

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 inches

138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm

Weight

4.55 oz (129 g)

Sony Xperia X Compact

Sony Xperia X Compact

Dimensions

5.08 x 2.56 x 0.37 inches

129 x 65 x 9.5 mm

Weight

4.76 oz (135 g)

Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016)

Dimensions

5.3 x 2.57 x 0.29 inches

134.5 x 65.2 x 7.3 mm

Weight

4.66 oz (132 g)

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

Dimensions

5 x 2.56 x 0.35 inches

127 x 65 x 8.9 mm

Weight

4.87 oz (138 g)

Apple iPhone 6

Apple iPhone 6

Dimensions

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 inches

138.1 x 67 x 6.9 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

Overly cold and oversaturated, the screen makes up for that with great outdoor visibility

Sony Xperia X Compact Review

Sony doesn't stray from the proven formula with the X Compact, and has equipped it with a 4.6” 720 x 1280 pixels display, just like its last two predecessors. The panel is of the IPS-LCD variety, offering very good viewing angles, and nice outdoor visibility with very low reflections and bright, 587-nit output that is enough to see everything on screen even under direct sunlight.

These are our observations about the display in everyday scenarios, but what do the cold, hard screen benchmarks reveal? Well, first off, the colors that the X Compact display offers are pretty cold to begin with, just like with its predecessors. Granted, you can crudely set the color temperature from the display settings, but there aren't many people that will tinker with those, most will grab and use the phone as it arrives. The cold colors are also way oversaturated.

Sony's X Reality engine is turned on by default, boosting colors and contrast while displaying media. We measured the screen's performance with the color management option turned off to get a more credible view of the panel's specifics. The display can be used with gloves on, which only adds to the outdoorsy cred of the phone, and there is a tap-to-wake option in the settings which comes in handy considering the recessed, shallow lock key.



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31 Comments

1. WAusJackBauer

Posts: 447; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

So why did it get such a low score?

3. libra89

Posts: 2042; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

This. It doesn't seem to be too bad as I might have thought originally. Still overpriced though.

10. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Thank you PA for giving it less than a 7. My request has been fulfilled!

26. JC557

Posts: 1913; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

They didn't improve much if anything over the previous generations especially their cameras. They make some really good sensors but damn they suck at implementing them in their own devices.

28. cheetah2k

Posts: 2105; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

For once I agree with iPA's scoring. No IP rating is a fail. The screen isnt as bright as the Z5C, and the SD650 is a major letdown.. I give up on Sony.. They are lost... lost in space

2. pyradark

Posts: 895; Member since: Jun 10, 2012

Im impress phonearena! cant wait for 6/10 with XZ

4. syam7863

Posts: 73; Member since: Sep 15, 2016

Frankly, i click on this article, so called review just to read the comments. Can't wait for 100/10 rating for IP7/IP7+. Not saying that IP7/IP7+ are bad. They are good, really good. But things are getting more and more ridiculous.

5. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4764; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Hm... GSMarena scores a much lower battery life that great cannot be a word used to describe it. But seriously, only 12GB free out of the 32GB of storage is insane! That's taking away 20GB...about 65% gone. Wow!

9. DanteTheGreat

Posts: 67; Member since: Jul 31, 2014

They said 12Gb taken away, not 12gb left? And GSMArena's battery testing method and phonearena's are completely different. You can't directly compare their scores.

11. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4764; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Oh, yeah... My bad.

17. Djz89

Posts: 419; Member since: Aug 25, 2014

73 hours is not bad, not great, but it could be much worse.

6. guests

Posts: 196; Member since: Jun 19, 2016

PA is preparing to give full mark to iphone 7, that's why every other phone must be given low score to promote the superiority of their beloved brand. I'm expecting Ray S to come up with the review.

7. DanteTheGreat

Posts: 67; Member since: Jul 31, 2014

The review and the score don't add up. Why does it get such a low score?

15. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

$500 for a phone with S650? V10 with 808 that runs circles around this is $300. That's why.

18. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

TRUTH.

19. DanteTheGreat

Posts: 67; Member since: Jul 31, 2014

No offense, you're talking trash. Add LG V10 to the benchmarks and be amazed. And this phone is a good 80 GBP cheaper than the V10.

22. donrox

Posts: 196; Member since: Jul 18, 2014

Was the v10 priced at 300$ at launch? And is the v10 a 4.6" phone? Hmmm

25. hansip87

Posts: 220; Member since: Nov 10, 2015

808 runs circle around 650 with cortex a72 core? You're kidding me right?

31. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

When you are an iPhone user and dont know android world you should not talk. http://www.techgrapple.com/snapdragon-650-vs-808-vs-mediatek-helio-x10/ SD650 trash the 808 in ALL aspect from cpu to gpu to battery usage. Sorry.

8. FlySheikh

Posts: 443; Member since: Oct 02, 2015

Phew..

12. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3084; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Got more features than the iPhone yet it got a 6.8. Imagine what the iPhone will get for a rating.

13. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

9.2 let's bet on it

27. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

*at least 9.2

29. 0kax0el0

Posts: 237; Member since: Nov 15, 2012

Almost spot on.. 9.3

14. rht89

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 21, 2016

Well, now I know, why shouldn't I rely on review scores. just look at specs , features etc from reviews. If possible get a hands on experience from store. Then decide and buy.

16. Djz89

Posts: 419; Member since: Aug 25, 2014

The price is a little high, but the phone does deserve more than this. But, I am not surprised.

20. enzotarece

Posts: 87; Member since: Aug 14, 2013

Phonearena dont care wat score u give to sony me na tap buy them tek that u all are disgrace to the tech world

21. drahcir02

Posts: 102; Member since: Mar 03, 2016

That's expected from PA.

23. Ezio2710

Posts: 548; Member since: Aug 22, 2015

PA didn't include why it has more charging time

24. mixedfish

Posts: 1541; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

"The X Compact offers a far cry from the jolly, saturated “Sony colors” that its cameras used to be associated with." Since when have Sony ever gone for saturated colors? They have also preferred neutral 'lab' even the flagship pro-ish cameras I own like DSC-RX1, A7mk2 have the some characteristics.
Xperia X Compact
  • Display 4.6" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 23 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 650, Hexa-core, 1800 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2700 mAh(14.1h 3G talk time)

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