Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact
Sony has broken its usual smartphone release cycle to bring its next flagship, the Xperia XZ2 ( page 31), to Mobile World Congress 2018, a few months earlier than expected, and alongside it comes a smaller sibling: the Xperia XZ2 Compact.
The Compact packs a smaller screen (no surprise there), but the rest of its specs are impressively close to the bigger version. We’ve tested the phone out ourselves, and here’s what you’ll get when the XZ2 Compact arrives later this year.
First up, Sony hasn’t announced an official price or release date for the phone yet, but it’s expected to be out some time around the first week of April, presumably alongside the main XZ2. The XZ1 Compact retailed at £499, and we’d expect the XZ2 Compact to hit a similar price point – potentially with a small hike of £50. Either way, we’d expect it to be around £100 cheaper than the larger XZ2.
Alongside the XZ2, the XZ2 Compact represents the debut of Sony’s new ‘Ambient Flow’ design philosophy, which is basically just a fancy way of saying that they’re rounded off some of the straight edges for a more curved design.
Sony boasts that this is the world’s most compact phone with a 5in screen, retaining similar proportions to last year’s model despite a big jump up from that phone’s 4.6in display. Despite a compact frame you still get some bezels at the top of the bottom, and the curved back makes the phone comfortable to hold but does leave it feeling decidedly chunky, too.
It’s housed in an aluminium frame with hardcoated polycarbonate finish on the rear – a change from the 3D glass back found on the XZ2. There’s a slight sheen to the hardware, but it’s a far cry from the glossy finish on the larger model.
Still, the rest is pretty similar. The display itself is 18:9 – the thinner aspect ratio that’s recently become popular – and you get IP65/68 waterproofing, USB-C charging, and a fingerprint
sensor and camera centred on the rear. The 3.5mm headphone jack is gone though.
The XZ2 Compact will be available in four colours: Black, White Silver, Moss Green, and Coral Pink (pictured) with the preinstalled UI theme colourcoded to match.
The Compact features (mostly) the same specs as the main XZ2, which means you’re getting flagship power in a relatively small size. The processor is the new Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm’s fastest yet. It’s backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB built-in storage, expandable via microSD, so we’d expect very smooth performance from the phone.
The 5in 18:9 screen offers full HD resolution and HDR, which means it’s capable of showing off the full potential of HDR photos and video. Even better, it’s also able to upscale standard content into HDR, whether it’s local or streamed, so you can get deeper blacks, brighter colours, and more detail from just about any visual content.
There’s also the same 19Mp single-lens camera as in the bigger phone, which for the first time in any smartphone is capable of recording video in 4K and HDR. Last year’s super slow motion has also been upgraded, offering the ability to record at 960fps at a higher 1080p resolution – at least for a few seconds.
There is one big thing the camera can’t do: portrait mode. The blurred background bokeh effect is one of the big selling points of dual-lens cameras for most, and the XZ2 Compact can’t offer an alternative
– there’s not even a software portrait effect built into the main camera app, despite Google proving it can be done to great effect in the Pixel 2.
As for the front camera, that’s 5Mp but now comes with Sony’s 3D face scanning built-in, so you can take 3D models of your own head, in case you ever feel the need.
Finally, there’s support for high-resolution audio, some impressive front-facing speakers, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, and USB-C charging. The battery is 2,870mAh, which should hopefully be enough to give a day’s battery life pretty comfortably.
It’s worth noting that there are a couple of features you won’t find here that are in the XZ2 proper. For one, since this doesn’t have a glass back, there’s no wireless charging. The Compact is also missing the new Dynamic Vibration System, which gives haptic feedback in time with video and audio content in the larger phone.
The XZ2 Compact will ship with Android 8.0 Oreo as standard, using Sony’s typically minimal additions and tweaks. The biggest is the new Xperia Assist software, designed to help users make the most of their phones. It’s intended to pop up the first time you use any app that could benefit from advanced features – like HDR upscaling – and uses a chatbot UI to explain how it all works. A chatbot pop-up telling you how to use your phone either sounds like a great intro to new features or an awful intrusion on your phone usage – we’ll leave it to you to decide how annoying you think you’ll find it.
The Xperia XZ2 Compact fits almost every major feature from the XZ2 into a smaller frame, offering one of the better screen-to-body ratios you’ll find for a 5in phone right now. With less competition at this screen size, the Compact could be a more compelling option than it’s bigger brother, so long as you don’t mind missing out on wireless charging or the gimmicky vibration. Dominic Preston
• 5in (2160x1080, 483ppi) IPS LCD capacitive display • Android 8.0 Oreo • Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 845 processor • Octa-core 4x 2.7GHz Kryo 385 Gold and 4x 1.7GHz
Kryo 385 Silver CPU • Adreno 630 GPU • 6GB RAM
• 64GB storage, microSD up to 400GB • Fingerprint scanner • 19Mp rear-facing camera: f/2.0, 25mm, 1/2.3in, 1.22μm), gyro EIS, predictive phase detection and laser autofocus, LED flash • 5Mp front-facing camera: f/2.2, 23mm, 1/5in, gyro EIS, 1080p • 802.11ac Wi-Fi • Bluetooth 5.0 • A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO • Micro-USB 3.1 Type-C • Non-removable lithium-ion 2,870mAh battery • 135x65x12.1mm • 168g
The XZ2 Compact is available in four colours, including White Silver