Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Review
Has Sony delivered on its promise of Better, Not Bigger?
Sony made big promises about its mini smartphone, the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, and today I find out if the best of Sony and outstanding performance really is inside this ultra-portable phone.
The quality of this mini smartphone is evident from the moment you pick it up and the solid one-piece aluminium frame oozes craftsmanship and is detailed right down to the alumium power on/off button.
It isn’t just all show though as the build includes durable tempered glass and the whole device is IP55/58 certified for dust and water resistance.
Sony has also used a quality 4.3” HD TRILUMINOS display which offers the finest detail with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels, which equates to 342 pixels per inch.
Like me, you will undoubtedly be stunned by the screens vibrancy and it does deliver when reproducing hard to reproduce aqua blues, reds and emerald greens.
At 9.5mm thick the Xperia Z1 Compact is also10% thinner than its rival, the HTC One mini 2 reviewed here.
Phone Set Up
Thank goodness for Xperia Transfer! There is nothing more frustrating than transferring your phonebook and loosing all your apps when you swap phones.
Xperia Transfer however takes care of this by moving contacts, photos, apps, music, messages and bookmarks from an old Android, BlackBerry or iOS device.
The process can be done directly phone to phone via an Xperia Transfer Cable, if you have one, but if you don’t the process is still simple and can be completed on a Mac or PC by using the Xperia Transfer Desktop Tools.
After this first set up task you may want to pair the Xperia Z1 Compact with other NFC (Near Field Communication) enabled devices that you own.
This no cable wireless technology lets you simply tap to connect to other NFC devices such as Smart-wear, Sony speakers and BRAVIA TV,’s and NFC can also be used to share photos and music between phones.
The feature side of things is nicely complemented by a series of Sony apps that are sure to make you an avid Sony fan far into the future.
- Walkman app - Powered by ClearAudio+ the Walkman app gives you access to online and offline tracks in one place. Facebook is also integrated into this app and uniquely allows you to share your taste in music with friends and lets you discover the tunes that your friends are enjoying.
- Movies app - Here you can watch films at anytime and enjoy additional info on the film as well as the actors and director. You may also sign-up for a Video Unlimited account and buy or rent the latest Hollywood blockbusters.
- Album app - This is the place to store you photos and videos and along with advanced search options the integration of PlayMemories Online provides the easiest way to sync your media on all of you devices.
- PlayStation Mobile - Facebook doesn’t have all of the best games, does it? Well if you can leave your favourite Facebook app alone for a short time you will discover a great range of downloadable games that you can pay for once and then play on all of your PlayStation devices including the PS Vita handheld gaming device.
Camera & Video
It is becoming apparent quickly that the Sony Xperia Compact Z1 is impressive everywhere but the camera is REALLY IMPRESSIVE!
There is absolutely no denying that the camera on this Xperia phone is absolutely exceptional in every aspect and this has been achieved by using the same components as those used in Sony’s compact digital camera range.
Superior Auto mode is the default setting and this recognises 36 scene types and turns on HDR mode, depending upon the scene, to capture multiple shots with varied exposures and then merges them together for a natural looking result.
The large 1/2.3” 20.7 MP Exmor RS image sensor gives higher sensitivity and decreased noise, which is great as the first thing I always do when editing my own photos is decrease the noise.
The award winning G Lens gives superior in-focus image quality with a 27mm wide angle lens that allows more light to be captured under dark lighting conditions.
The BIONZ image-processing engine is also built in and this automatically controls exposure, white balance and colour enhancement whilst detecting motion to automatically use a higher shutter speed.
Other features you will love to play around with include Social live for broadcasting in realtime on Facebook, Timeshift burst for picking the best image out of 61 frames captured in 2 seconds and info-eye which puts relevant info of the image you have photographed right onto the viewfinder.
The 2300mAh battery has a whole host of intelligent software behind it to ensure it performs well and doesn’t go flat during the day.
When STAMINA Mode is used the battery will last 4x longer than normal and this is achieved by the phone recognising when you are not using the display. The Z1 Compact can then automatically turn off functions that are not being used and bring them back to life in an instance when the screen is awakened.
I thought it was also a brilliant idea to allow its user to select which apps receive push notifications as the fewer of these that are running in the background the longer the battery will last. Time to tick Facebook and un-tick everything else!
An asynchronous 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB RAM also helps in the stamina department by powering up and down each individual core as it is needed.
Written by: Michael Brown