Sony Xperia Z1 Compact - Hands On

The Xperia Z1 Compact from Sony is supposed to offer everything that a high-end smartphone needs - only on a smaller form factor. I took a closer look at how well this has been achieved.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
The technical data are initially convincing: Snapdragon-800-SoC with 2.15 GHz, 2 Gigabyte RAM, 20 Megapixel camera, UMTS, NFC, LTE. Plus a micro-SD slot to expand the 16 gigabyte memory. The display has a resolution of 1280×720 pixels, which is sufficient for 344 ppi with the diagonal of 4.3 inches and is thus higher than the resolution of the iPhone 5 (326 ppi).

The power supply is provided by a permanently installed rechargeable battery with 2,300 mAh - in my application scenario this is enough for a good two working days, about 1 day 12 hours pass by until the device needs to be charged again.

Haptic - solidly processed

The Xperia Z1 Compact has seals on the connections.
The Xperia Z1 Compact has seals on the connections.
If you take the Z1 Compact in your hand, you'll notice that Sony is quite capable of building a high-quality smartphone: although the back is made of plastic and not glass (which can be an advantage in terms of the risk of splinters), the metal frame and the port caps leave an extraordinarily good feeling in the hand. The weight of 137g also contributes to the sense of value without making the compact smartphone look too heavy.

The caps over the connectors are also designed to ensure the waterproofness of the Xperia Compact - IP55 and IP58 certificates are designed to ensure that low pressure water jets from all directions do not pose a problem and that the device can survive up to 30 minutes in 1.5 metre deep fresh water without damage. So far I haven't put it to the test, but to make a phone call in the rain the tightness will be sufficient. To protect the caps I also use a magnetic charging cable, which can be bought for about 9 Euro at Ebay or Amazon there).

Xperia Z1 Compact in everyday life

There are plenty of test reports on the Internet that describe the features of the Z1 Compact, but the focus here should be on everyday life. As an actually convinced iPhone user, it was a change for me to switch to Android. But thanks to the really powerful hardware, the Xperia Compact can certainly convince as an alternative. Even complex apps like navigation with Navigon or Sygic run without problems.

Among the most important: Sony has managed to Battery life to a good two working days - today charged, the smartphone does not have to be plugged in again until the next evening, even if you listen to music (Google Play Music) or use Facebook in between. The trick: in Stamina mode, all apps that are not on a whitelist are stopped. Some services are only updated when the display is activated, but the power consumption is significantly reduced.

Photos on SD card with Android 4.4.2
Photos on SD card with Android 4.4.2
Apart from that, the small Sony smartphone is a reliable companion and with Android 4.4 also on the current state of Android development - incompatibilities with apps are not to be expected, the problem that can no longer be written to the SD card is due to the Android version (After update to Kitkat external SD card is no longer writable) and at least with Sony's own apps no problem (camera can store pictures on the memory card without any problems).

With third-party apps, it is up to them to make the apps compatible - it is not that apps are not allowed to write to the SD card in principle, only a few restrictions must be observed.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact - Conclusion

All in all, the Z1 Compact is a convincing device: Sony did not skimp on the equipment, but used the same components as in the larger devices. If a compact version of the current flagship, the Xperia Z2, were to be released according to the same scheme, a changeover would be worth considering - especially if the camera should cause fewer problems. Until then you'll get a really mature Android smartphone, which with its size makes the changeover for iPhone users much easier. Currently the device is available for a good 440,- Euro at Amazon but prices are already falling.


  1. Hello, very good article. Unfortunately, after the update to Android 4.4.2 the photos can no longer be saved on the sd card. Sony referred to the limited write permission of Google with kitkat and has no solution for the time being.

    1. That's strange - I just looked it up, I do have photos on the memory card that were taken on 04.05.2014 with the integrated camera app (started with the release button).

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