Sony Xpe­ria XZ1 Com­pact

Sony con­tin­ues to of­fer an An­droid ri­val to smaller iPhones, this time with up­graded specs. CHRIS MARTIN re­ports

Android Advisor - - Contents -

As we men­tioned in the pre­vi­ous Hands-on Sony has used this year’s IFA as a plat­form to launch its new phones. We’ve al­ready see the XZ1 (page 55). Here we look at the Xpe­ria XZ1 Com­pact (£499).

De­sign

Not much has changed about the de­sign of the XZ1 Com­pact when com­pared to the X Com­pact, or even the Z5 Com­pact re­ally. Sony has its de­sign lan­guage and is stick­ing to it. Once again, the idea of the phone is that it’s smaller in size to make it more us­able for those who don’t want or can’t han­dle a larger hand­set. The draw­back here is that it still re­mains a chunky lit­tle num­ber at 9.3mm and only just over 10g lighter than the XZ1. That won’t be a huge prob­lem for most as it will be a small sac­ri­fice to pay to get a smaller phone with high-end specs. Like the larger XZ1, the com­pact model has a uni­body chas­sis with Sony’s Loop Sur­face de­sign. This time it’s not made of metal though. In­stead it’s a glass fi­bre and plas­tic com­pos­ite but it feels nice to the touch. At the front there’s 2.5D Go­rilla Glass 5 and there are di­a­mond cut edges. How­ever, some still chunky bezels don’t help it look par­tic­u­larly mod­ern.

We’re pleased to re­port that Sony has brought wa­ter­proof­ing back to the Com­pact range so the phone has an IP65/68 rat­ing so it can be fully sub­mersed in fresh water with­out worry.

The XZ1 Com­pact will be avail­able in a range of colours with har­monised h.ear head­phones avail­able. The colours are White Sil­ver, Black, Hori­zon Blue and Twi­light Pink.

Hard­ware

The XZ1 Com­pact is a tasty up­grade to its pre­de­ces­sor and on the whole, has the same hard­ware as the larger XZ1 in­side a smaller shell.

Screen

The dis­play is smaller, of course, and is still Sony’s pre­ferred 4.6in – the XZ1 is 5.2in – but has been bumped to Full HD fi­nally so gets a health­ier pixel den­sity of 479ppi.

It doesn’t have the HDR sup­port of the XZ1, but this is only used when you’re watch­ing cer­tain con­tent on Ama­zon Prime Video and Net­flix so is hardly the end of the world.

You’re buy­ing it for the size and the 4.6in di­ag­o­nal means it’s an easy phone to use one-handed un­like most new de­vices.

Pro­ces­sor, mem­ory and stor­age

Like the XZ1, the Com­pact model has a Qual­comm Snap­dragon 835 pro­ces­sor which is still the flag­ship chip and there’s also 4GB of RAM. Both are de­cent up­grades com­pared to the X Com­pact.

The only dif­fer­ent is that stor­age is 32GB where you’ll get dou­ble that on the XZ1. There’s a mi­croSD card slot though so you can eas­ily add more.

With a smaller screen and no HDR, the XZ1 Com­pact is po­ten­tially more pow­er­ful than its big brother. It was cer­tainly smooth dur­ing our time with it but we’ll test it prop­erly when we get a fi­nal sam­ple.

Connectivity

The XZ1 Com­pact has es­sen­tially the same fea­tures as the larger model look­ing at other specs. There’s

still USB-C, NFC and the usual wire­less bits a pieces. It is Cat 15 in­stead of Cat 16 for LTE but users are un­likely to no­tice a dif­fer­ence in the real world.

It’s good to see a con­tin­u­a­tion of the fin­ger­print scan­ner in­side the power but­ton and Sony also con­tin­ues to push au­dio as a sell­ing point.

There’s a head­phone jack which is a good start, plus fea­tures such as stereo speak­ers, aptX Blue­tooth, High-Res sup­port, an LDAC and more.

Cam­eras

Pho­tog­ra­phy is prob­a­bly more im­por­tant than au­dio for most smart­phone users and this is an even big­ger sell­ing point for Sony. The firm is one of the only to of­fer a ded­i­cated cam­era/shut­ter but­ton.

The res­o­lu­tion may have dropped from pre­vi­ous de­vices but the 19Mp rear cam­era has larger pix­els so can per­form bet­ter in low light. The XZ1 Com­pact gets the su­per slow mo­tion fea­ture of the XZ Premium which al­lows you to shoot at 960fps, more than any ri­val phone.

Other new fea­tures in­clude the handy Smile Shut­ter and Pre­dic­tive Cap­ture which will help you avoid miss­ing a mo­ment by tak­ing pho­tos be­fore you hit the but­ton. We also like the Aut­o­fo­cus Burst mode which can shoot 10 pho­tos per second while keep­ing the sub­ject in fo­cus.

Sony is mak­ing a big deal of 3D scan­ning for the XZ1 and XZ1 Com­pact, although this is more a soft­ware fea­ture. It means you can use the cam­era to cre­ate 3D scans of ob­jects or peo­ple then share them, use them as live wall­pa­per or even get them

3D printed. It might sound ex­cit­ing but we can’t imag­ine many peo­ple us­ing this more than a few times just for fun.

The front cam­era is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent to the larger XZ1 and is de­signed to ap­peal to a mar­ket of users who take self­ies. The cam­era is 8Mp and has a 120 de­gree wide-an­gle lens so you can fit lots of peo­ple in the frame. You can use it in a non-wide mode but this means you’ll get a lower qual­ity 3Mp crop.

Bat­tery life

Some­how, Sony has man­aged to put the same size bat­tery in the XZ1 Com­pact as the big­ger model. This means it has a 2,700mAh bat­tery, the same as the X Com­pact. Sony has stopped claim­ing a two­day bat­tery life for its phone but now says you’ll get all-day us­ages for the life­span of the phone. There’s no wire­less charg­ing but you can uti­lize the re­versible USB-C port and Quick Charge 3.0.

Soft­ware

The XZ1 and XZ1 Com­pact are two of the first phones to come pre­loaded with the lat­est ver­sion of An­droid which is 8.0 Oreo (see page 4 for our in-depth re­view).

Google is tout­ing bet­ter boot times, bat­tery life, auto-fill lo­gins and there’s a new pic­ture-in-pic­ture fea­ture, too. Sony’s ver­sion of An­droid is still close to stock while re­main­ing rec­og­niz­able. Sony doesn’t mess around with core el­e­ments while adding value with wall­pa­pers, wid­gets and its own apps in­clud­ing Walk­man and PS4 Re­mote Play.

Ver­dict

There might not be any one thing that’s overly ex­cit­ing about the new XZ1 phones. How­ever, the Com­pact model is par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive and al­most unique in the An­droid mar­ket. It pro­vides top-notch specs in a smaller pack­age and in­cludes wa­ter­proof­ing again. It’s likely to be one of the cheap­est phones with a Qual­comm Snap­dragon 835 pro­ces­sor.

Spec­i­fi­ca­tions

• 4.6in (1280x720, 319ppi) IPS LCD dis­play • An­droid 8.0 Oreo • Qual­comm Snap­dragon 835 pro­ces­sor • Octa-core (4x 2.35GHz Kryo, 4x 1.9GHz Kryo) CPU • Adreno 540 GPU • 4GB RAM • 32GB stor­age (mi­croSD sup­port up to

256GB) • 19Mp, EIS (gyro), pre­dic­tive phase

de­tec­tion and laser aut­o­fo­cus, LED flash • 8Mp, 13mm, 1/4in sen­sor size, 1080p • Wi-Fi dual-band 11ac Wi-Fi • Blue­tooth 5.0 • A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS • NFC • Head­phone jack • Stereo speak­ers • 2,700mAh non-re­mov­able Lithium-ion

bat­tery • USB 2.0 Type-C • 129x64x9.3mm • 140g

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