sony-z1-compact-01We had our hands on the XPERIA Z1s which will be available with T-Mobile next week, but at CES 2014, Sony has also introduced the XPERIA Z1 Compact, a product targeted at users who like smaller smartphones, for a true one-hand experience. Despite the difference in size, the Z1 Compact is very similar to other XPERIA Z handsets: it is waterproof and uses the same design language as the Z family of products.

sony-z1-compact-05The most appealing aspect of the Z1 Compact is that it is not a “watered-down” version of a larger flagship phone. The Z1 Compact is powered by the same Snapdragon 800 architecture as its bigger cousins. There is 16GB of internal storage, which can be supplemented by a microSD card. The Camera is the same 20 Megapixel camera, and in theory, it should dominate the Android sub 4.5” category.

All the differences between the XPERIA Z1 Compact and the XPERIA Z1 are motivated by the change in size/volume. To accommodate a smaller width and height, Sony engineers have made the phone a little bit thicker. The battery has been reduced to 2300mAh (from 3000mAh for the larger handset). Everybody wants a big battery, but realistically, there is only so much internal room in this design, so I feel like it’s a very reasonable capacity.

And of course, there is the screen itself. Thanks to the smaller diagonal going from 1080p to 720p does not cause the display sharpness to drop dramatically. At 340 PPI, the screen of the Sony Z1 Compact is still sharper than most glossy magazines. I was fine using a 720p 5.5″ phone for a while, so I have no problem using a 4.3″ 720p handset. I don’t think that 1080p is critical here.

This is a good move from Sony since the 4.3”-4.5” market is currently a little underserved. Most phones in that segment are significantly weaker and compete mainly on price. Since there are clearly quite a lot of people who enjoy using smaller phones, this is a market that can’t be ignored. Sony shows that a no-compromise small Android handset is possible and if they are successful, this may push others to revisit the idea.

Specifications highlights

Snapdragon 800
16GB of internal storage + microSD slot
Android 4.3
4.3” IPS Display, 720p resolution (340 PPI)
20 Megapixel Camera
2300mAh battery

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