Sony is probably the only smartphone manufacturer making high-end compact smartphones. The phrase “high-end compact” makes sense here because whenever a flagship smartphone (which now is over 5-inch in most of the cases) is launched, there is a smaller variant of it also made so that the users get the same experience, interface but a smaller screen if they didn’t like the large device. But, these mini phones have always been made with a lot of compromise in the specs sheet.
Sony has been an exception, with the “compact” series having almost the same internal configuration as the flagship device (Xperia Z3) has, and it is only the screen that gets smaller. The Xperia Z3 compact was already one of such devices we would have recommended without having to think much, if someone wanted a powerful device with not-so-big screen.
First look, this looks not much different from the Apple iPhone 5s, with the size. For an Android smartphone user like me, the Xperia Z3 compact looks surprisingly small. It is very much comfortable in hand, have a similar glassy body but it doesn’t have the same look on the sides, which we liked the Xperia Z3 for. The corners make the device look cheap, at least in the Orange variant we have here. The tempered glass on the front and the glass back have got nothing wrong, but it is just the side frame that looks a little odd.
Just like its flagship, the Xperia Z3 Compact is waterproof, and thus, you see all the slots packed under the doors that have to be pulled out if the slots are to be used. There’s a power button at the center of right frame, and just below to it is the volume rocker button, and Sony has included the dedicated camera button as well. The slots for SIM card and MicroSD card are located on the left frame and under the same cover which closes the MicroSD card slot, there is the MicroUSB port.
On the back, there is the same camera module Sony has been using in its recent Xperia flagship smartphones, the 20.7MP camera (with the G lens) and the LED flash is located on the right side of it. No surprises there, the back plate cannot be removed, and this is a unibody device. Sony has even included the similar front-facing dual stereo speakers for the sound output. To keep the device compact enough, the navigation buttons are a part of the screen, and Sony has not wasted much space above and below the display.
Overall, with the design Sony can never go wrong with these glass body, but the only dealbreaker in this case is that side frame that doesn’t look good at all. Smaller phones are always easier to hold and this is no exception, though the size as well as the smooth body makes it a little easy to slip from your hand. The curved sides contribute more to it.
The interface again mimics the one you see in the Xperia Z3 and the Compact runs Android 4.4.4 KitKat, and one good thing we already know about the software, is that Sony is going to release the next version of Android, i.e. Lollipop to this (and every other Xperia Z series device). The device has a MicroSD card slot for the storage expansion, and about 11.5GB is the internal storage.
The power Sony has included in the Z3 compact (Snapdragon 801 with Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB RAM), there is no doubt one should be getting a swift response to everything, and the performance should be great. And that is what we have seen in the initial couple hours of use. While setting up the device with accounts, restoring apps and downloading new ones, the Compact didn’t break a sweat.
In the coming few days, we will be testing out the performance and user experience before the review is up, but for those interested to buy this already, if the budget isn’t really a concern, the Xperia Z3 compact is a perfect little smartphone (little, for those who have used flagship devices before this).