We haven’t covered the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact much on AndroidSPIN, however, I have kept an eye on it ever since it was inadvertantly spotted in a NTT DoCoMo brochure bearing the name “Sony Xperia Z1 f“. It doesn’t appeal to me personally, but I can see why the smaller form factor appeals to many people and I can definitely see why it’s going to do well, and I’m going to tell you why I think the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is a winner.
For those who don’t know, the Z1 Compact is essentially a scaled down version of Sony’s latest flagship smartphone, the Sony Xperia Z1. The original Z1 had and impressive list of specifications including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB RAM, a 5-inch 1080p Triluminos display, 3,000mAh battery and perhaps most impressively, a 20.7MP rear camera. What’s probably most impressive about the Z1 Compact is that it takes pretty well all the above specifications and crams it into a device with only a 4.3-inch device. Naturally, the display resolution takes a hit, reducing it to 720p but still keeping it a Triluminos display and, given the overall size of the device, the battery is also smaller at 2,300mAh. As you might have guessed, the remaining hardware in the Z1 Compact is exactly the same, even the Snapdragon 800 processor.
Image courtesy of Android Central
Now compare that to the two most popular ‘mini’ devices on the smartphone market at the moment, the HTC One Mini and the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini; the only thing either of these devices have in common with their full-sized compatriots is the fact that they are also phones, have partly the same name and you could make one look like the other with a photocopier. If we take the HTC One Mini as an example, the original HTC One had a Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB RAM and 1080p display whereas the One Mini instead has a Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB RAM and a 720p display. Granted the display has to be a lower resolution, the One Mini is still a significant step down from the HTC One. Perhaps that is why Sony opted to adopt the nomenclature “Compact” as opposed to “Mini” since Mini apparently implies that your device will in no part resemble the device that it was derived from.
As you’re probably beginning to see, the Z1 Compact is a unique beast among Android smartphones, finally combining bleeding-edge hardware with a small form factor device that ‘normal’ people have been wishing for since smartphones graduated to the 5-inch size. There isn’t yet another 4.3-inch device on the Android market that even comes close to what the Z1 Compact is capable of, and I specifically said ‘Android market’ to highlight something about what the Z1 Compact represents for smartphones as a whole; the Z1 Compact is the first legitimate Android alternative to the iPhone since the Samsung Galaxy S2.
When the Galaxy S2 arrived all ambitious and bright-faced in the smartphone market, we couldn’t have known how popular it would end up being. While it never displayed the same wildfire effect as the Galaxy S3 or Galaxy S4 in later years, the 4.3-inch Galaxy S2 still proved itself to be a legitimate challenge to the then 4.0-inch iPhone selling a very respectable 20 million handsets in 10 months. Soon after that though, the Galaxy S3 ‘upgraded’ to a 4.8-inch screen and while sales of Samsung phones have been increasing every year since then, it has arguably not been competing with Apple in the same market since that move to the larger screen size.
Which brings us back to the Z1 Compact. While Samsung and HTC made only token efforts to appeal to the market which has been craving a 4.3-inch device, Sony’s foray into the 4.3-inch market looks like a genuine one. Early reports about the device say as much with Sony improving on some of the issues the Z1 was criticized for like the viewing angles on its Triluminos screen. Some things have even worked out better for the Z1 Compact given its smaller size; it’s being reported that the battery life of the Z1 Compact exceeds even that of the full-sized device which is a huge plus and of course, the Z1 Compact still inherits the Xperia lines’ waterproofing.
While it’s all well and good to talk about what the Z1 Compact should do theoretically, it’s entirely another thing to actually do it. I can’t see the Z1 Compact selling as well as the iPhone, or even as well as the Galaxy S5 which is due for announcement in a few weeks time. It might not even sell as well as its full-sized brother, the Xperia Z1. What is important though is that the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is a properly good device that is every bit as good as a flagship device crammed into a tiny frame and if you have been waiting for a decent 4.3-inch Android device, you’d be missing out if you didn’t see for yourself just how good it can be.
What do you think about the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact? Are you convinced that it’s a good device? Let us know what your opinion is in the comments.