Introduction


Sony's miniaturized version of its flagship Xperia Z1 – the Xperia Z1 Compact – arrived at the smartphone arena to an expectedly enthusiastic fanfare. It ventures into previously uncharted land, as while competitors from HTC and Samsung have already come out with their respective 'mini' editions of their high-ends, neither quite did it with the bang with which Sony has. The Z1 Compact, said simply, puts pretty much every other 'mini' to shame, as its specs sheet reads literally the same as the one attached to its bigger brother. Moreover, Sony has donned the Z1 Compact with the same premium-looking, water- and dust-proof body.

But there's somebody else in the arena that also knows a thing or two about building some seriously premium devices. HTC's One is likely one of the most widely-acclaimed devices out on the market right now, at least in terms of design. The aluminum-clad big hitter from Taiwan may not be the most up to date in the hardware department, but what it lacks in processing power, it more than makes up for it in polish and charm.

Put next to each other, the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and the HTC One send a powerful message: this is how the smartphone world could look and feel like. Elite, uncompromising. But what happens if we set on the two on each other? It's about time we found out.

Design


The Z1 Compact is distinguished by its 'OmniBalance' design language, and looks a lot like the rest of the Sony Xperia family of devices. But that's not a bad thing necessarily. The phone sports a front side made of glass, and a back side made of plastic, with a metal frame hugging its profile, all of which set it apart from the sea of Android phones. The premium effect is slightly diminished, as both the left and right side of the device are littered with port flaps and the power, volume, and shutter keys. Those are all well-built, however, and provide satisfying feedback. On the back, you're treated to a markedly different view – the glass is only occupied by the camera and LED flash units, along with the Sony and Xperia logos, giving it a much cleaner look.

But the high-end looks of the Z1 Compact are faltering when put next to the aluminum-clad HTC One. The industrial design of HTC's flagship, along with the various, but simplistic ornaments throughout, give it a hand over Sony's petite handset. The front of the HTC One leaves a lasting impression, thanks to the stereo Boom Sound speakers on the top and bottom. Unlike the Z1 Compact, the One has a very clear-cut and minimalistic profile, unencumbered by numerous openings and flaps. The One doesn't sport a dedicated camera shutter key – just a power button on the top left side, and a volume rocker on the left. These are both extremely flush with the surface, and kind of unresponsive. This serves to showcase the lengths to which HTC went with the One's design – functionality and user experience are sacrificed at the alter of fashionably good looks.

Seeing as the One is also a pretty narrow, but tall device, we're also forced to exert some serious effort to reach something as essential as the power key on the top. At 5.41 x 2.69 x 0.37 inches, HTC's flagship is kind of rapacious in its physical footprint. In comparison,the Z1 Compact (5.00 x 2.56 x 0.37 inches) manages a more ergonomic feel, despite its dust- and water-proof, IP58-certified body. Handling the device one-handed is a pleasure, thanks to its petite proportions and adequately-placed buttons. It honestly feels like, for once, Sony is the one making a slightly better use of space.


Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Dimensions

5 x 2.56 x 0.37 inches

127 x 64.9 x 9.5 mm

Weight

4.83 oz (137 g)

HTC One

HTC One

Dimensions

5.41 x 2.69 x 0.37 inches

137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Dimensions

5 x 2.56 x 0.37 inches

127 x 64.9 x 9.5 mm

Weight

4.83 oz (137 g)

HTC One

HTC One

Dimensions

5.41 x 2.69 x 0.37 inches

137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

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


Display


Sony's stubbornness has finally receded, and the company has fitted an IPS LCD panel in the Z1 Compact. The fairly dense, 720x1280 pixel screen (342ppi) has an accurate color temperature of about 7250K, with brightness peaking at the excellent 515 nits.

On the other hand, the HTC One's 1080x1920 pixel (469 ppi) Super-LCD3 screen is sharper, though it's less visible in bright sunlight (it peaks at 460 nits of brightness) It's color temperature is also less on target, at 7656K, so whites exhibit a cold overtone, but gamma is spot on, at 2.21 (vs. 2.68 for the Z1 Compact).

Overall, colors are reproduced correctly by both displays, though Sony's screen is slightly more true to the actual, target colors. On the other hand, the One's display is considerably sharper, and also disproportionally bigger, as it houses the software navigation buttons on its bezel, unlike the Z1 Compact. When it comes down to calling this, we thought that the One is the slightly better option, as we felt that the added benefits of a larger, crisper display largely make up for the miniscule superiority of the Z1 Compact's panel in terms of color fidelity.

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23 Comments

1. danny_a2005

Posts: 365; Member since: Oct 06, 2011

Go Sony.. HTC one is a great phone though, but the camera needs a few more mpx

2. hmd74

Posts: 542; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

You must compare it with mini editions... One mini or s4 mini...

4. Leonis

Posts: 338; Member since: Jan 08, 2014

No they don't. Its obvious the z1 compact will win those. this is a flagship phone in a smaller casing.

6. SonyPS4

Posts: 347; Member since: May 21, 2013

One mini and S4 mini cant even beat Xperia ZR (unoficial mini ver for Xperia Z) let alone this one. Z1 Compact is on different league.

7. newbey123

Posts: 702; Member since: Mar 19, 2012

HTC One, hands down!

8. camera531

Posts: 346; Member since: Jun 30, 2012

I really like the Sony, but HATE the permanent plastic screen protectors that scratch very easily and are hard to get fingerprints off of. Why have scratch resistant glass if you're going to just permanently cover it with cheap plastic!?

11. buccob

Posts: 2980; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Because they are not scratch proof... they are mainly advertised as Shatterproof, and are applied with heat at factory, not just transparent stickers... and you should apply an additional scratch resistant sheet on top... I for once am all in with that protection, because I saw how it prevented my wife's Xperia from shattering after many falls to concrete and asphalt... instead the phone have a small, almost invisible hairline crack horizontally that is unnoticeable and you can't even feel it because of the sheet. My advise is to keep that layer and add another one disposable..

9. amro99

Posts: 114; Member since: Nov 29, 2012

i dont understand what makes PA compare HTC One with Z1 Compact. They are in completely different leagues

12. buccob

Posts: 2980; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Well... I think its mostly based on price... not on size.. But I do agree with you... This Compact, should be compared to the Minis out there...

18. Qawi94

Posts: 11; Member since: Jun 13, 2013

yeah totally..the Z1 Compact is better..If that what you meant

10. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

The Z1 compact looks a little too close in size to the HTC One for my liking, it also looks a lot thicker. The HTC is also too big for its screen size so Sony can do much better size wise. I think like the Surface PRO 2 it needs to go on a diet before it has a chance of really taking off.

13. shinywindow unregistered

Hts one few. Ir blaster and speakers and pretty good camera are what matter to me. Plus the sexiest phone ever.

14. shinywindow unregistered

Htc htc

15. shinywindow unregistered

For the win. Damn auto correct.

16. Jalil

Posts: 40; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

HTC one is better. Only it needs megapixel improvement.

17. fireblade

Posts: 717; Member since: Dec 27, 2013

both are gorgeous devices. It's a difficult choice

19. RizwanYaqoob

Posts: 27; Member since: Dec 14, 2013

HTC One all the way but only needs more camera pixels.

20. potatosalad

Posts: 40; Member since: May 07, 2012

i think Z1 Compact is not a flagship phone. so it's irrelevant to compare these two.

21. Itsotxoridxe

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

There is something that I don't get... if the focal lenght of the HTC One is 28mm and the Xperia Z1's is 27mm, why are the angles of the photos wider on the HTC One? Techincally, it should be the other way around no?!?

22. mesbah

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 17, 2014

htc is the clear winner here......in my opinion HTC tried to give us a new experience with the one ....they were not traditional like the competitors who cared only with hardware specs.....we have to admit that there is no a big difference between all these flagships concerning hardware........in daily life we don't feel it ........HTC tried to present something different (ultrapixel-design-boom sound -UI)..........I think this company deserves much attention.

23. Odiin

Posts: 373; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

Any day Z1C. HTC one is overrated phone. No one is bothered about HTC except US.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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