Sony’s newest Xperia additions are flat slabs of glass, metal and plastic but, despite the difference in screen size between the main Xperia Z3 and the Xperia Z3 Compact, there’s not a whole lot of difference under the surface. Using the Xperia Z3 Compact is almost like looking at the Z3 from the wrong side of a telescope.
Yet another long story short, if you’ve read our review or had the good fortune of actually handling the slickly-presented Xperia Z3, you’re going to have a pretty good idea of what this review consists of.
Flagship In Miniature
As we’ve mentioned, the Xperia Z3 Compact retains the design of the full-sized handset – almost down to the last millimetre. There are some tiny differences, the Z3 Compact is thicker through the middle in order to accommodate the processor and the rest of the silicon bits within but we still have a glass-faced, metal and plastic edged smartphone with no bulges to speak of marring its surfaces.
It’s all Xperia lines throughout though, Sony’s hardware is very distinctive and this is the way it’s stayed. If Sony’s done anything out of the ordinary here, they’ve managed to make it invisible.
Chipset/CPU: Qualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801/2.4GHz quad-core Krait 400 (2GB RAM)
Storage: 16GB, up to 128GB external
Camera: 20.7MP (5,248 х 3,936), autofocus, LED flash/2.2MP (front)
Connectivity: LTE, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, 3G
Battery: 2,600mAh Li-Ion (non-removeable)
Operating System: Android 4.4.4 (Will support Android 5.0 one day)
SIM Card: Nano-SIM
Features: IP68 certified
Dimensions: 127.3mm x 64.9 x 8.6
Looking to the inside of the Z3 Compact, the only thing that’s compact is really the display. All of the other internals are just about identical, from the connectivity to the Snapdragon 801 chip which is clocked at the same speed as it’s bigger brother. Sony have dropped the RAM from 3GB to 2GB, for space reasons we’re assuming, and the battery – which is never an issue with these handsets and nothing has changed here – is a mite smaller as well.
The dip to the 4.6-inch display also brings with it a resolution drop, down to 720 x 1,280, but that doesn’t change the fact that your visuals and the Android 4.4 user interface are going to be clear as a bell. Sony knows screens.
Storage? 16GB with another 128GB available if you’re microSD-happy. The Z3 Compact features the same water- and dust-proof rating as the Xperia Z3 so it’ll survive a dunking just as well.
Keeping It Constant
Elsewhere you’re looking at exactly the same app selection and interface as the Xperia Z3. Android 4.4.4 looks good on the Xperia Z3 Compact and the above hardware makes sure that it flies along. There’s no discernible speed difference between the smaller handset and the larger model either, anything that runs on one will run on the other.
But Sony’s fondness for loading their phones with their own software is still an annoyance here. There’s an easy fix for most of the bloatware though and it’s called the Uninstall process. We could do with a cleaner phone next time, Sony.
Writing this review was actually pretty tough, since the Xperia Z3 and the Z3 Compact are so similar in terms of design, specs and performance. We might as well have copied and pasted the Z3 review in a slightly smaller font, the two devices are that close together and, by extension, that close to the Xperia Z2. So the same rules apply, unless you’re moving up from the original Xperia Z or an unrelated brand, you could probably give this a miss. It’s still a damn fine piece of smartphone though.