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Hands On with the Sony Xperia X Compact

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Sep 1, 2016, 6:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sony's compact flagship manages to pack a lot of technology into its tiny frame. The most compelling feature for most potential buyers is likely to be the 23-megapixel camera. Here are Phonescoop's first impressions of the Sony Xperia X Compact.

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Sony is back with a new compact handset, appropriately called the Xperia X Compact. The phone carries over design characteristics we've seen from Sony before and assembles them into a small, if chubby, form factor that will certainly appeal to the phablet averse.

Sony is touting what it calls its "loop" design. This design element is only visible when you view the phone from the bottom. The profile has a seamless path that forms a loop (I guess?). The top and bottom edges offer this looping profile, but the phone still has rather sharp corners and the traditional blocky-looking Sony appearance.

Xperia X Compact  

I'm not sold on the overall look of the phone. The frame is made of polycarbonate, as is the back panel. The front is covered in "2.5D glass" that is curved so it meets the frame seamlessly. Something about the back panel looks odd, and it isn't a tight fit. There are obvious and unattractive gaps in the construction. Sony didn't say whether or not we were looking at production-level hardware or early mockups. This is something I hope to see resolved by the time the phone goes on sale.

The footprint is very nice. I prefer bigger phones, but the Xperia X Compact is a really nice size. I wish it weren't quite so thick. It may be short and narrow, but Sony had to cram all the innards somewhere. The edges are indeed smooth and feel comfortable in your hand.

The front has a smallish screen and the annoyingly thick bezels for which Sony is known. There are no physical buttons, but stereo speakers are positioned above and below the display. The 4.6-inch 720p display is decent. The smaller size helps the lack of pixels. I through the screen was bright and colors looked excellent.

A hatch on the left side covers the SIM and memory card slots, while all the buttons are huddled together on the right edge. I do not care for Sony's choice in button placement. The screen lock button is near the middle of the side edge. It is rather flat, but easy enough to find. What I dislike is that the volume toggle is positioned so low on the side. The dedicated camera button is below that. I've often found myself accidentally adjusting the volume on Sony's handsets. The headphone jack is on top and the USB-C port is on the bottom.

The rear polycarbonate panel is flat. The camera elements are tucked into the top-left corner. The camera lens itself is rather small, but the focus/flash array is rather large. The phone has laser and phase-detection to assist in focusing on your subject. The panel cannot be removed, nor can the battery.

Under the hood, the X Compact has a rather middling set of specs. The X Compact is powered by a Snapdragon 650 processor with Adreno 510 GPU, 3 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of storage. The main camera may rate 23 megapixels, but the selfie cam drops to just 5 megapixels. It also has a 2,700mAh battery with Quick Charge.

The Android 6 Marshmallow platform carries the usual Sony UI skin. Perhaps most importantly, Sony improved the camera software so it is simpler to dial in the different shooting modes and settings.


The Sony Xperia X Compact is a fine little phone, but Sony wasn't clear about whether or not it will be made available in the U.S.

About the author, Eric M. Zeman:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.


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Sep 1, 2016, 2:00 PM

Wooo compact phones

However, if this is using a 650 chip, this makes the Z5 Compact still a compelling upgrade from my Z3 Compact and cheaper...just lacking usb-c, but as I have way more microUSB cables, that's not an issue imo
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