Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Samsung Galaxy S412
Interface and functionality
Both the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and the Samsung Galaxy S4 run on the same Android platform (4.3 Jelly Bean, to be exact), but it’s hard to say so by just looking at them. Sony’s Timescape user interface is elegant, filled with animations, and it features clean, realistic-looking icons, while Samsung’s TouchWiz is wildly cartoonish, with extremely colorful, rounded icons and funny sounds. The difference is obvious. TouchWiz is definitely more feature-packed - you just don’t get the fancy air gestures and smart stay/scroll/pause on Sony devices, but then again, it’s true that not everyone needs those features and not everyone uses them.
Handling notifications is almost identical on both - it all happens in the dedicated notification dropdown that you can access any time (within an app also, of course) by just swiping down from the top of the screen.
Phone and messaging, the two core apps, are similar in functionality, and the phonebook easily syncs with the cloud on both. You’d expect typing to be easier on the larger, 5-inch Galaxy S4, and it indeed is when you can use both of your hands, but for single-handed typing the smaller screen actually works out to be a big advantage for the Xperia Z1 Compact.
Processor and Memory
The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact has just launched, and it’s got time on its side - it features the latest and most powerful Snapdragon 800 system chip, whereas the Galaxy S4, a handset released nearly a year ago, is still sold with the now dated Snapdragon 600 chip. Both are quad-core and very powerful, but the Snapdragon 800 is just faster, capable of reaching higher peak clock speeds of 2.2GHz.
In real world use, you won’t notice any slowdown or lag when doing your daily business and scrolling around the interface and menus. What’s more, both are perfectly capable to run the latest and most demanding games like Modern Combat 4 and Asphalt 8. With higher loads, the advantage of the Z1 Compact, however, grows, and becomes more noticeable.
Good news is that both the Z1 Compact and the S4 support expandable storage via microSD cards. On the Sony phone, you can even hot swap microSD cards as the slot is conveniently located on the side, while the S4 requires you to take out the battery to change the microSD card. Internal storage is set at 16GB on both.
Internet and Connectivity
The default browser on the Xperia Z1 Compact is Google's Chrome, while the Galaxy S4 offers you the choice between its own custom Android browser and Chrome. Google has decided to make Chrome the browser of 4.4 KitKat and future Android versions, and for a good reason - it has the better optimized for touch interface and great cross-platform syncing capabilities. Most importantly, loading pages is quick and navigation - smooth on both phones.
The Z1 Compact, however, also has the tangible advantage of supporting more 4G LTE bands. Most notably, it supports band 4 (used by most US carriers), as well as bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 20, and this allows it to basically roam the world on many FDD-LTE networks. The international Galaxy S4, in contrast, has more limited LTE support (bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8 and 18). For all other users that don’t live in an LTE-covered area, both handsets support HSPA+ at speeds of up to 42Mbps.
The two also come with dual-channel Wi-Fi connectivity, GPS, Glonass, Bluetooth 4 and NFC support.