Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Review – Smartphones are great, but they’re very prone to accidental damage. The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, however, is more robust than most. Thanks to the protective flaps that cover its ports and micro SD slot, this phone is waterproof – it survived intact a 30-minute submersion in a glass of water. Obviously, it’s still vulnerable to impact damage. We managed to scuff the phone’s glass casing after accidentally dropping it on the floor.
It’s waterproof and fast, with a great screen and camera
As its name suggests, the Z1 Compact is smaller than most Android phones. At 4.3 inches, its screen doesn’t sound that much smaller than a 5in or 5.5in screen, but those with smaller hands will find it much easier to use single-handed. It’s not quite as easy to handle as the iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, which are both significantly narrower, but it’s still comfortable. The screen is very bright with sharp text and vivid colours.
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, A sensibly sized waterproof Android phone
The Z1 Compact is somewhat thicker than other smartphones of a similar size because it needs room to accommodate its hefty battery. When browsing the web, taking photos, making calls and navigating using GPS, the battery lasted 21 and a half hours when connected to 4G. On 3G, the battery lasted 29 hours 12 minutes. When playing videos on a loop, it gave up the ghost after 15 and a half hours. These are all impressive scores. Performance is fast thanks to the 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, handling detailed 3D games and complex websites with ease.
The touchscreen is impressively responsive, with barely any lag or juddery motion, even when we scrolled through lengthy webpages. Call quality was a mixed bag, however. In a call on O2’s network in London’s West End, the phone effectively blocked out the background noise from a busy construction site nearby. Our voices sounded loud and clear to callers, but theirs came over a little fuzzy and distant to our ears. We were concerned that the 20.7- megapixel camera would produce photos with loads of noise because the sensor is relatively small, but this was barely a problem. Photos taken in bright daylight were very detailed, though colours looked oversaturated. Shots taken in dimly lit conditions were impressive – even better than those taken with the iPhone 5’s camera. Photos had accurate colours and reasonably high levels of detail, while blur caused by shaky hands was kept to a minimum.
One annoying quirk was that some sources of light, such as street lamps and candles, sometimes appeared purple. Sony’s most significant addition to the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean interface are its own media apps, which generally work well. Other modifications are less satisfying, such as the harder-to- reach settings shortcuts in the modified Notifications drawer. Sony has announced that the Z1 Compact will get the Android 4.4 KitKat update, but has yet to confirm when that will happen. Despite some minor irritations in its software, overall the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is a great little smartphone – especially if you have small hands. Its waterproof design, fast performance, impressive screen and great quality camera make it one of the best Android phones available.
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Specifications
- 4.3in 1280×720-pixel screen
- 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor
- 450MHz Adreno 330 graphics chip
- 2GB memory
- 16GB storage
- micro SIM
- micro SD slot
- Android 4.3Jelly Bean
- 137g, 127x65x10mm (HxWxD)
- One-year warranty