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Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact Review

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact

Posted: , by Nick T. Nick T.

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Camera

A feature-packed shooter delivers good-looking images and high-res videos.

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact Review
Camera interface - Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact Review
Camera interface - Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact Review
Camera interface - Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact Review
Camera interface - Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact Review

Camera interface


The 19MP Motion Eye camera we saw on the Xperia XZ1 is present on the Compact, along with all the cool tricks in its arsenal – 960fps slow-motion videos, Predictive Capture, autofocus bursts, and the list goes on. The design of the phone itself makes it a great point-and-shooter: the physical camera button makes for a quick camera shortcut, while the compact size and boxy shape let us pull off epic selfie angles with ease.

Hardly a surprise, image quality is on par with what we saw while reviewing the Xperia XZ1. Daytime photos are sharp and detailed, with pretty colors and lots of contrast. Low light images, however, are considerably noisier and less detailed, presumably because of the camera’s lack of OIS and its tendency to shoot at higher ISOs. Overall, images are perfectly usable and good-looking in general, though don’t expect this camera to outperform high-ends like the iPhone 8 or the Galaxy S8.

Sony made an unconventional choice when picking the XZ1 Compact’s front-facing camera. It is an 8MP wide-angle shooter, and when we say “wide-angle”, we mean a viewing angle of a whopping 120 degrees. This let’s you fit a lot of people in a single shot, but comes with a tradeoff – a considerable amount of distortion, mostly visible near the edges of the photo, which spoils the otherwise good image quality.



Videos are taken at up to 4K resolution. They look good in general and are complemented by clear, loud audio. While there’s no OIS on this camera, software image stabilization is available even in 4K mode, while shooting in 1080p lets you use Sony’s Intelligent Active software stabilization, which produces smoother, more cinematic-looking footage.


And before we move further, we must clarify that Sony’s new 3D Creator feature is present on the XZ1 Compact as well. We gave it a test while playing with the XZ1, and while we can’t deny that it is an impressive showcase of new 3D scanning technology, its practical use is very limited at this time.

Sony’s new 3D Creator feature is present on the XZ1 Compact - Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact Review
Sony’s new 3D Creator feature is present on the XZ1 Compact - Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact Review
Sony’s new 3D Creator feature is present on the XZ1 Compact - Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact Review

Sony’s new 3D Creator feature is present on the XZ1 Compact

Multimedia


Due to its smaller size, the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact is less than ideal for the purposes of media consumption and digital entertainment. There are many larger, similarly priced devices that can deliver a superior experience, be it when watching video, playing games, or scrolling through your photo collection, simply because they offer more screen estate and greater screen resolution. But this didn’t stop me from watching as much YouTube video and playing as much Minecraft as I usually do. For casual gaming, for watching the occasional “Goats yelling like humans” video, and for other multimedia activities that don't involve a VR headset, the XZ1 Compact gets the job done.

The Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact comes with a set of front-firing stereo speakers, but their quality is a bit underwhelming. They sound just okay: with clear vocals and sufficient loudness, with audible stereo effect in videos and games, but there’s less highs and lows than what you’d get out of an iPhone 8, for example.

For those who still demand it, a 3.5mm headphone jack is present on the Xperia XZ1 Compact, allowing audiophiles to take advantage of its support for high-resolution audio formats. LDAC and AptX HD formats, both of which allow compatible Bluetooth audio devices to play back sound at a higher bitrate, are also supported.



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PhoneArena rating:
8Good
Display4.6 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (319 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera19 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2450 MHz, Kryo 280 processor
4 GB RAM
Size5.08 x 2.56 x 0.37 inches
(129 x 65 x 9.3 mm)
4.94 oz  (140 g)

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