Finding value for money in Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Camille Bersola (The Philippine Star) - May 10, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Smaller phone versions don’t really mean a downgrade of their high-end prototype. This is what Sony has proven with the release of its Xperia Z1 Compact, which is redesigned for ease and functionality, satisfying tech-savvy users who seek the latest and the greatest hardware in a handier mobile device.

These days when many people opt for handier yet feature-rich mobile phones, many phone manufacturers have come up with mini versions of their premium models, yet they are not able to retain the high-quality apps and features that are in their flagship phones. What you will get is usually a smaller screen with downgraded features and apps. For Sony, it has still kept the prominence of the Xperia Z series.

Earning a pretty good reception since launching its Xperia line, including last year’s Xperia Z1, Sony has unveiled the Xperia Z1 Compact — a funkier, brighter and handier version of the Xperia Z1 — at the Consumer Electronics Show 2014 in Las Vegas last January. Of course, there is much more to Sony’s colorful new smartphone than meets the eye, providing a good overall smartphone user experience.

Wrapped in dynamic and colorful shells — white, black, yellow and pink — the Xperia Z1 Compact is a well-balanced evolution of the Xperia Z1 that also has all the similar high-end features, except for its form and size. While the Z1 comes in a five-inch screen, this one has 4.3-inch, one which fits perfectly to your palm.

Though it’s smaller, it is still smarter and stronger than any mini version of other brands. Sony did not compromise the quality of the materials in the Z1 Compact. It is packed in a smooth glass and aluminum cover, which makes the phone still durable but lighter than the Z1. This makes it easier to use for phone calls rather than having to use earphones or headsets for bigger smartphones.

What’s impressive about the Xperia Z series was also its dust and water resistance and Sony has kept the trend through the Z1 Compact, which also has well-protected ports for SIM card, microSD and microUSB covered with airtight plastic flaps. It’s even perfect for underwater selfies; just make sure that all the ports are securely closed.

While the Z1 has well-enhanced color, brightness and contrast, its viewing angles needed some improvement and Sony seemed to address this through the Z1 Compact with its Triluminos display panel. Though it has a smaller screen size, it boasts of the highest-quality display in a Sony smartphone and even the black levels appear brilliantly as any LCD panel can get. It delivers good screen visibility even with low-resolution images. However, given its smaller display, Xperia Z1 Compact has a lower resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, compared to Z1’s 1920 x 1080 pixels.

With the Xperia Z1 having among the best smartphone camera technologies in the market today, the Z1 Compact has the very same components which make it a super shooter smartphone. The Z1 Compact includes 20.7 megapixel mobile image sensor, 27-mm wide angle and bright F2.0 lens, and Bionz for mobile image-processing engine. Though the camera button is very small and a bit stiff, it captures stunningly sharp and crisp images especially in natural light. Even in low light and darker environment, you can still capture a good-quality image by selecting the Default shooting mode. Its two-megapixel front camera also makes for a great selfie shot, and good quality video calls.

The Z1 Compact also has the same camera apps such as the Augmented Reality effect, which adds some fun to your photos with its customizable themes that can easily be edited. Another app is the Timeshift Burst which enables users to capture 61 frames in two seconds.

For heavy smartphone users, the Z1 Compact is a great choice if you frequently use mobile Internet or play music with your mobile device. While it has a smaller 2300 mAh battery compared with the Z1, it still has decent capacity for its size. I even tried watching three full-length movies, and ended with 17 percent of battery life.

Similar to the Z1, the Z1 Compact is packed with a single loudspeaker at the bottom, which does not let you miss any notification or calls. While I use smartphones mostly for texting and mobile browsing, this phone still has a good call quality, with crystal clear sound, except when you have a bad network signal.

Everything else in the phone is the same with the Z1, including its internal hardware. It is packed with the 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, combined with 2GB of RAM to keep a smooth user-experience especially in 3D gaming or HD video streaming. It also boasts of its powerful updated Adreno 330 GPU, which can deliver up to 50-percent increased graphic performance, giving users superior 3D gaming capabilities and faster Web browsing experience.

Out of 16GB internal storage, it also has a microSD expansion slot with support for up to 64GB microSD cards.

The Z1 Compact runs on Google’s Android 4.3 Jelly Bean mobile operating system.

Though it’s still expensive at P26,990, I find value for money with the Xperia Z1 Compact given its durability and premium quality and performance compared to other compact mobile handsets. Its small but superior screen quality and materials justify the cost and make you realize that you are not getting a substandard phone.

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