Battery Life, Closing Thoughts

Inside the Xperia Z1 Compact you’ll find an 8.74 Wh (2,300 mAh, 3.8 V) non-removable battery, which is fairly large for this class of handsets. Compared to the Xperia Z1, the Z1 Compact has a 26% smaller display paired with a 23% smaller battery, and when this is combined with a lower display resolution the math looks good for this smartphone’s battery life.

After just a few days into the review period, it was clear that the Xperia Z1 Compact would deliver better battery life than the Xperia Z1. Stamina wasn’t quite up there with top performers like the LG G2 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3, but I tended to end a day of regular usage with around 30% of the juice still left in the tank. Using the camera more often or playing games would reduce this total, but at least there’s wiggle room if you want to use the smartphone more often.

In our battery life rundown test the Xperia Z1 Compact lasted for a commendable 11 hours, which was around 3 hours (or 33%) longer than the Xperia Z1.

The Xperia Z1 Compact comes loaded with a comprehensive battery saver feature called Stamina Mode. When this mode is enabled, mobile data and Wi-Fi are disabled when the screen is off, and most running applications are suspended. On top of this, you can enable a low battery mode that disables even more features when the battery is running dry, and there’s a location-based Wi-Fi feature for further savings.

With all of these options enabled I found you can extend your usage by over an hour, which could give you that bit of extra stamina where necessary.

Final Thoughts

The Xperia Z1 Compact occupies an interesting area of the market with little competition, positioning itself as high-end device in a compact body. Some may see it as nearly a win by default for Sony, but there are genuinely many reasons why you should consider this handset for yourself.

Inside the Z1 Compact you’re getting a powerful, top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC that monsters any tasks given to it. Sony hasn’t fallen into the trap of including mediocre specs in a small form factor handset, as you’ll also get 2 GB of RAM, LTE support, Wi-Fi 802.11ac and an all-important microSD card slot. Battery life is fantastic from this handset too, complemented by a great battery saver mode.

Sony knows how to produce a premium smartphone, with the design imitating that of the Xperia Z1. Its use of two glass panes combined with a single-piece aluminium frame feels very nice and surprisingly strong in the hand. Water resistance adds to the overall package, even if it does mean adding annoying flaps to critical ports. The 4.3-inch display included on the front isn’t the best I’ve seen, but its respectable 720p resolution gets the job done.

But the best feature of the Xperia Z1 Compact is its 20.7-megapixel Exmor RS camera. The module is undoubtedly the greatest going around on a phone of this size, and it’s right up there with the smartphone imaging leaders overall. Low-light performance isn’t the best, and there are a few software oddities to deal with, but these are small trade-offs to attain photos that are usually fantastic.

The closest competitor on size and hardware to the Z1 Compact is the iPhone 5s. Apple’s flagship handset is generally more polished than the Z1 Compact, but that’s not to say Sony’s device is out of the race. Android will be a particularly critical feature for those that prefer Google’s OS, while the camera also comes out on top.

Price-wise it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that the Xperia Z1 Compact is priced similarly to its large-screen flagship counterparts. MobiCity, which provided us with the Z1 Compact to review today, sells the Z1 Compact for $570 unlocked and off-contract, which is the same price as the full-size Xperia Z1, so it won’t cost you to opt for the smaller model. It’s also cheaper than the iPhone 5s by a considerable margin, but more expensive than other Android handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and LG G2.

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TechSpot
score

Pros: Superb 20-megapixel camera is easily best-in-class. Compact handset with high-end, powerful hardware. Premium design that's also water resistant. Great battery life.

Cons: Display quality could be better. A few software oddities.