The sweet spot in terms of a phone’s size has moved from around 3.5 inches to 5 inches. Every time we have reviewed a phone larger than 5 inches, we have been uncomfortable with the size. Does anyone even make phones smaller than 4.5 inches anymore? Sony said yes, with the launch of the 4.3-inch Xperia Z1 Compact. It packs powerful hardware in a smaller body and is a rather welcome change in a market full of phones that look like footwear.
Build & design
Xperia Z1 Compact looks just like the bigger Z1 and Z1 Ultra. The only difference is the size. Although the Z1 Compact is easy to use with one hand, you will notice that there is a lot of empty space above and below the screen. At the top, there’s the Sony logo and the front camera, but the area below the screen could have had buttons. When you switch on this phone, you will notice three icons (back, home and switch apps) near the bottom edge of the screen. These take up valuable screen space and could easily have been shifted to the empty space below the screen. In a smaller phone, it would have been nice to see full use of available space.
Sony claims the phone is water and dust-proof, as long as all ports are sealed and you don’t immerse it for more than 30 minutes in fresh water. However, the user manual clearly says that if any water is found in the phone, warranty will be void. Also, the phone doesn’t have a sealing flap for the headphone port, but it is water-proof, Sony says.
The build quality is impressive. The phone feels good to hold and weighs just 137 grams. That’s pretty light, but not light enough to feel fragile. Buttons on the
Z1 Compact (volume, camera, power) are all on one side. These are placed well and feel sturdy.
The display on the Z1 Compact is excellent. The screen resolution is 1280 x 720 pixels and the pixel density is 342 ppi. I enjoyed watching videos on this phone and reading for five to six hours at a stretch left me with no eye strain, which is remarkable.
However, the font size on the Z1 Compact is too small. It looks like Sony simply scaled down the software from a bigger Xperia phone. At first, I thought I was taking time to get used to