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printed November 22, 2014
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Hands on with Sony's Xperia Z1 Compact

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Jan 8, 2014, 3:54 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sony knows that some people prefer smaller smartphones. That's why it shrunk the dimensions of the Xperia Z1 to create the Z1 Compact. Don't let the Z1 Compact's small size fool you, however; it's quite a powerhouse.

The Xperia Z1 Compact is a classy, elegant, and well-designed device from Sony. It takes all the juicy features from the larger Z1 and stuffs them into an attractive and compact frame.

The Z1 Compact's defining feature is the aluminum frame. It is machined from a single pice of aluminum and it forms the outer edge of the device. It is strong, sturdy, and lightweight. The aluminum frame is sandwiched by two pieces of glass, one on the front and one on the back, just like the larger Z1. The glass and aluminum together give the Compact a really good feel in the hand, which is complimented by the shaped of the side edges, which are rounded off for comfort. Just like the Z1S, the Z1 Compact feels great in the hand.

A large part of the reason it feels so good is the footprint. The Compact dials the screen down from the Z1S' 5-inched to a more manageable 4.3 inches. This helped Sony cut down on the dimensions of the Compact to a palatable size. The Compact is a wee bit thicker than the Z1S, but this is so it can fit all the wonderful goodies inside.

The Compact is waterproof and able to withstand 30 minutes of immersion in up to 3 feet of water. In order to make it waterproof, Sony added hatches to the sides. There are hatches protecting the microUSB port, and the SIM and microSD card slots. The only one most users will interact with frequently is the microUSB port hatch. It peels off easily enough. The headphone jack is waterproof without a hatch or gasket.

 

Sony

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The Compact's smaller display isn't as pixel-rich as its larger brother. It offers 720p resolution rather than 1080p resolution, but it uses the same Mobile Bravia Engine and TriLuminos technologies of the Z1. One thing I really like is that the Compact loses a significant amount of bezel. One of my complaints about the Z1S is that it has a large bezel surrounding the display, which really amps up the size. The Compact's bezel is much thinner, making the device more attractive. It also carriers over the 20.7-pixel camera from the Z1S with Exmor sensor and G Lens. The camera software is advanced, and can even be used underwater.

The Xperia Z1 Compact's user interface is the same that has appeared on the Z, Z1, Z Ultra, and Z1S. That is to say, it uses Sony's Android skin and comes with tons of Sony software and services preloaded. Some of those include Sony Music Unlimited and Sony Video limited for streaming content.

The design of the Z1 Compact is top-notch, and the build quality mirrors that of HTC and the One. It's an excellent - though smaller - flagship smartphone for those who prefers more hand-friendly hardware.

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Verizon version please? bofis Jan 8, 2014, 4:25 PM
 
 
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