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Sony Xperia X Compact Review

Sony Xperia X Compact

Posted: , posted by Daniel P.




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, 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:


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

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.

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.

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.

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


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

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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PhoneArena rating:
Display4.6 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (319 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera23 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 650, Hexa-core, 1800 MHz, ARM Cortex-A72 and ARM Cortex-A53 processor
Size5.08 x 2.56 x 0.37 inches
(129 x 65 x 9.5 mm)
4.76 oz  (135 g)
Battery2700 mAh, 11 hours talk time

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