Review: Sony Z1 Compact
Sony tries to buck the trend for ‘mini’ phones with a compact smartphone that holds its own
The trend for bigger mobile phones doesn’t suit everyone. Rather than lugging around a six-inch-screened slab, some people prefer things to be a little more compact and pocket-friendly. A little more like mobile phones used to be before we all decided to start watching TV, catching up with news online and working through small screened devices.
That’s why we’ve seen a number of the “mini” phones come on to the market - handsets similar names but lacking a bit of the oomph that their larger siblings have. And by oomph, we mean power.
The HTC One Mini, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini - good phones in their own right, but you sacrifice a little to get that compact size. The first thing to get downsized is the processor power. The HTC One Mini cut the processor from quad core to dual core, and from a Snapdragon 600 1.7GHz to a Snapdragon 400 at 1.4GHz. The S4 Mini, meanwhile, makes a similar move to a dual core 1.7Ghz processor.
You can also be sure that RAM and storage space will also take a hit to achieve that smaller size.
Sony, however, is tacking a slightly different tack. At CES, the company unveiled the Xperia Z1 Compact, what looked at first like merely another slightly refined version of their current Xperia line.
A closer look though reveals a phone that is very much a contender in its own right.
Sony has kept the processing power of the Z1 Compact’s bigger sibling, but shrunk the screen to a more compact 4.3 inches. That means you get a quad core processor running at a clock speed of 2.2 GHz, which makes for speedy operation. There’s 16GB of storage space, and 2GB RAM, just like the Z1, and it can be expanded with the addition of a micro SD card.
The screen isn’t high definition, but at that size, it’s no real loss. The screen itself is bright and responsive, although at times some apps picked up on touches incorrectly.
While there have been a few changes to how the case looks, there’s no mistaking that it’s part of the same Xperia line. Everything about the phone feels solid, which fits in with Sony’s goal of making it a premium phone, rather than a cut-price alternative.
The on-screen keyboard is easy to handle too, with the swipe method of input available from the moment you turn the phone on.