“It’s just the right size!” – that’s what my girlfriend exclaimed when I presented to her the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact. Little did she know that behind its humble appearance was a tiny beast of a phone – one that had as much processing power as a top-of-the-line Android flagship. And there’s so much more to like about Sony’s latest pocket-friendly handset, but ultimately, is its price of $600 justified? Well, perhaps it is.

Design

Uninspiring with its boxy look, but sturdy and practical.


So yes, as its name suggests, size is a key selling point for the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact. It easily fits into any pocket and single-handed use is never an issue – traits we can highlight in very few of today’s smartphones. Bonus points go to Sony for throwing in water resistance, and the dedicated camera button on the side acts as a wonderful camera shortcut.

Yet one thing we’d change if we could is the power button – as it is almost flush with the phone’s right side, I can hardly feel its presence underneath my thumb. And that’s important when an otherwise quick and reliable fingerprint scanner is embedded in the said button.

As is the case with recent Xperias, the Xperia XZ1 Compact sold in the US has its fingerprint scanner disabled. In our book, that counts as a major downside given the handset’s price point.


Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact

Dimensions

5.08 x 2.56 x 0.37 inches

129 x 65 x 9.3 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

Sony Xperia XZ1

Sony Xperia XZ1

Dimensions

5.83 x 2.87 x 0.29 inches

148 x 73 x 7.4 mm

Weight

5.50 oz (156 g)

Apple iPhone 8

Apple iPhone 8

Dimensions

5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches

138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.22 oz (148 g)

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S8

Dimensions

5.86 x 2.68 x 0.31 inches

148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact

Dimensions

5.08 x 2.56 x 0.37 inches

129 x 65 x 9.3 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

Sony Xperia XZ1

Sony Xperia XZ1

Dimensions

5.83 x 2.87 x 0.29 inches

148 x 73 x 7.4 mm

Weight

5.50 oz (156 g)

Apple iPhone 8

Apple iPhone 8

Dimensions

5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches

138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.22 oz (148 g)

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S8

Dimensions

5.86 x 2.68 x 0.31 inches

148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

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



Display

An “okay” screen with sufficient resolution and great outdoor visibility.


Whether you’re looking at it in real life or scrutinously inspecting its specifications, this isn’t a screen that will wow you. After all, a resolution of 720 by 1280 pixels is far from impressive at this point in time. But for a screen measuring only 4.6-inches in diagonal, these are more than enough pixels to produce a sharp, detailed image. Plus, the screen delivers excellent outdoor visibility even on a sunny day.

Colors on the Xperia XZ1 Compact are nice and vibrant, but lean towards the cold side – whites appear more blueish than they should, and you don’t have to be an expert to notice. To compensate for this, I went to the Display Settings menu and manually tweaked the color reproduction until it looked fine to my eyes. There I found a nifty Glove Mode option, but didn’t see a double-tap-to-wake setting or a blue light filter.



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48 Comments

1. 314NTMD

Posts: 13; Member since: Jul 28, 2016

shoud put U11 (9H3min according to your test) into the battery-life comparision chart

3. libra89

Posts: 2316; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

That's a much bigger phone though, which wouldn't be fair.

2. Madmax

Posts: 110; Member since: Aug 19, 2016

Just look at the cons.. Unbelievable! Whoa Nick, showed your true colors again... IPhone fan...

9. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Yeah and they based their con on a limitation based on a single country. US is not the only market in the world. I just remembered there is a device with two different SoCs. The US got the relatively inferior one and yet this site never called it a con.

24. Eodarion

Posts: 3; Member since: May 16, 2016

This is so good! Android freaks having a hard time with reality.

33. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

If it's iphone's review they will complain about low-res screen with 'okay' quality, big bezel, old design, no fingerprint, overpriced, etc. But it's android so they will pretends the cons doesn't exist here.

34. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2488; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

Seriously, you're going to nitpick at him for having those cons? I think you all are just taking this bias thing to heart sometimes. If you don't like this site, you could go to plenty of other ones. I like the XZ1 Compact and may be getting one when it comes down in price, but even I agreed with the cons. Just take a look at other sites cons and ask yourselves if he was really being all that biased: TechRadar: only 32 GB of storage, tired design, no wireless charging NotebookReview: aging design with large display bezels, photo quality not as impressive as sensor quality Stuff: screen is still only 720p, camera has processing problems, bezels are on the big side Recombu: Clunky dated design, no HDR display, buggy software And even Android Authority, a site DEDICATED to promoting every Android device out there, reviewed the regular XZ1 and had these cons: -Design looks outdated -NO FINGERPRINT SENSOR IN THE U.S. -Camera lacks dynamic range and is weak in low light -Sony's UI doesn't mesh with Oreo Congratulations, you have just proven what I thought I already knew: this site is now overrun with a bunch of hypersensitive fanboys that can't take any kind of critique whatsoever. Instead of just saying the guy must be an "iphone fan" why didn't you just counter the cons with an actual intelligible response? EDIT: And on top of that, no site yet that has reviewed the XZ1 compact has given it a score above an 85. Most give about 4/5 stars or an 80 score which is just in line with this reviewer.

4. fyah_king unregistered

Iphone 8 deserves an 8 as well.

5. libra89

Posts: 2316; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

I have this phone and I generally agree with this review. I'm very impressed with it. It seems like Sony finally got their image processing together.

6. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

The best position for FPS is a con...

10. libra89

Posts: 2316; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

It's a fair con since there's no double tap to wake. If double tap to wake was here, I think it wouldn't be one. The fact that there's no way to just check notifications or the time is a bummer. Not a dealbreaker for me but still a little annoying.

14. buccob

Posts: 2980; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Having use the XZ for quite a while, I am assuming that you've never owned any of the recent Xperia devices.... The power button/fingerprint is so good, that I never EVER need to see the lockscreen... My XZ does support tap to wake/sleep but I never use it... And 2 of the 3 cons of this review are subjective... totally unprofessional.

15. libra89

Posts: 2316; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

I think you missed my comment here saying that I own this phone... I agree about the speed but since Sony chose to remove the tap to wake/sleep in the new XZ1 and XZ1 Compact, it isn't there. A lot of the time, I just want to see what time is it and if I have any recent notifications. I don't always intend to lock my phone. True about the cons, I don't disagree at all there.

41. eelpout

Posts: 34; Member since: Oct 13, 2016

I went from an XZ to the XZ1 and yes double-tap to wake is an odd feature for them to have dropped. But there are enough good proximity sensor and accelerometer solutions in the Play Store to make it a non-issue.

11. 0kax0el0

Posts: 238; Member since: Nov 15, 2012

Unfortunately this reviews tend to award pros and cons based on subjective matters. Though I'm impressed this got an 8, Sony devices usually get 1 or 2 points discounted just for having the Sony logo.

12. josephnero

Posts: 788; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Not surprising from iphonearena

7. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

Sony XZ premium is $600 now, SMH. I'll get the iphone.

8. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Too bad the compact size is considered niche although there is a demand for this particular size. That's why people are buying iPhones solely for the size only.

16. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

I'm currently in the iPhone camp (because of size, SE is perfect phone) but XZ1C is so tempting that with each day I like the idea of switching to it every day. I'm gonna watch every camera comparison with it, because it was always my main grip with Sony's phones

17. libra89

Posts: 2316; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

I also have the SE but the XZ1C is great enough for me to give up the SE. I'm sure that camera comparisons will come soon though, if they aren't already present. Sony finally fixed their image processing.

21. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

That's what I really, really hope for. Waterproofing and SD slot are so great features they alone make the switch worth it but want to be sure I will still have a great camera in my pocket

26. ibrar1996

Posts: 20; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

No, plz don't wait for iphonearena to show you pictures taken solely with auto mode go to youtube reviewers if you need some unbiased Camera qulaity cuz they know a company like Sony will obviously offer something hidden in their manual mode cuz its almost the best camera brand in the world

35. WAusJackBauer

Posts: 456; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

I like small phones, I own the Z5 Compact which is pretty much the same but personally I think its a tad bit too small. A 5 inch screen with small bezels would be the ultimate.

13. Hollowmost

Posts: 425; Member since: Oct 10, 2017

" Uninspiring with its boxy look, but sturdy and practical. " Wink wink ....

18. 44alexsmith

Posts: 15; Member since: Oct 06, 2016

I purchased the U.K. variant off EBay.com to use in the U.S. via T-mobile. My Xperia XZ1 Compact works flawlessly. If someone wants a small Android phone(i.e. even smaller than the iPhone 6s), this is the best small Android phone with flagship specs on the market to date.

19. libra89

Posts: 2316; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Question for you: Do you still get VoLTE with it? Like you, I got an international one with a working scanner but since I'm not on T-Mo, I can't test this. I agree with your comment 100%. I think this is my favorite phone of the year.

20. submar

Posts: 713; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

“It’s just the right size!” – that’s what my girlfriend exclaimed when I...

25. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

...ordered a Box with ONLY 5 chicken wings instead of 8

22. ehsanjoon365

Posts: 15; Member since: Oct 02, 2017

Please test Nokia 8.

39. Spedez

Posts: 542; Member since: Aug 29, 2014

They'll wait until its dated so that they can give it a low score. Nokia 8 has been on sale for a long time already.
Xperia XZ1 Compact
  • Display 4.6" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 19 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2450 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2700 mAh(20.33h 3G talk time)

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