back to article Little pink handjob: Sony's Xperia Z1 Compact

For the last 18 or so months, if you'd wanted a high-end Android smartphone you’ve had to make do with something a bit on the large size. The HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4, LG G Flex, Nokia 925, Sony Xperia Z1 all have one thing in common: they are big old Hectors compared to Apple’s iPhone 5S. Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Sony …


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  1. JDX Gold badge

    a high-end Android smartphone ... Nokia 925

    You know something about MS' Android plan you want to share?

    1. Al Taylor

      Re: a high-end Android smartphone ... Nokia 925


      I mean't to remove the word "Android" when I added the Nokia to the list.

      But you get the gist.

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge


    That would be any smartphone powered by an Intel processor?

  3. RockBurner

    units again...

    Anyone else getting a little miffed at having to use 2,300 mAh and 3,000mAh instead of 2.3Ah and 3Ah? Shirley it'd be easier to use the shorter form? Or is marketing speak leading this trend for ignoring normal unit usage?

    1. Piro Silver badge

      Re: units again...

      A trap.

      You'd know that mAh is not a measure of battery storage anyway, because there's no voltage along with it for the ride! mAh on its own is a fairly hopeless measure.

      It should really be watt-hours...

      Edit: A thumb down! Remarkable! Maybe someone wants to say the total energy stored should be in joules? That of course works too!

      1. Sebastian Brosig

        Re: units again...

        What with it being Friday and this being The Register.. we should attempt to convert this into the universal system of Vulture Central Standards.

        I cannot find a unit of mass in the standard-defining document (, so I propose the Vulture Standard grapefruit which already defines volume to be the new mass unit as well, according to yahoo answers it weighs 0.128kg in SI.

        That makes the natural choice for a unit of force the weight of a grapefruit on Mars, and the energy unit (Mars-grapefruit * double-decker-bus) or Mgddb for short.

        In summary, the energy stored in this phone's battery is just shy of 7000Mgddb (assuming this phone battery has 3.7V like mine)

        P.S. I know the standard length unit should be linguine but it sounds much more fun to ship a bus to Mars and stand it on end for the necessary experiments!

    2. jzlondon

      Unit police

      Should really be Joules. mAh implies a particular voltage and makes comparison squiffy.

      1. Dave 126

        Re: Unit police

        >Should really be Joules. mAh implies a particular voltage and makes comparison squiffy.

        Well yeah, but it isn't the battery capacity that is of interest to users. What users want to know is how long it lasts. So a smaller battery on a Snapdragon 800 will last longer than the same battery on a older (larger process) chipset. Likewise, a phone with a smaller screen can be reasonably expected to be more frugal.

        So, prospective buyers usually have to take qualitative assessments, such as "a couple of days of medium to heavy use"*.That sounds about right for this Z1 Compact, given reviews of other phones with a Snapdragon 800 chip, such as the LG G2 and Nexus 5.

        All the mAh figure does for the layman is allow some comparison to batteries in other phones. It's my assumption that most phones batteries have 3.7 V units, so a mAh figure is just fine with me.

        1. JonP

          Re: Unit police

          I wonder whether they should also publish max, min & typical current flow for these things - I'm sure they (manufacturers) must measure it, and it would be of interest to a few people. That way we could actually put the 2300mAh figure to some use. Let's face it as people have said, on their own they're pretty much just numbers...

          1. Dave, Portsmouth

            Re: Unit police

            I somehow don't think the author is worried about quoting "just numbers" - the battery capacity is remarkably sensible when compared to the stunning observation that the pixel density is higher than an iPhone (I'd challenge anyone to notice the difference without both phones side-by-side under a magnifying glass)!

            Funny thing is I read this immediately after reading Alastair Dabbs' comments about lazy journalism, and just quoting press releases (or, here, statistics) with no thought or intelligent comment. Maybe Reg needs a mailing list amongst its contributors?

            1. Al Taylor

              Re: Unit police

              I'd challenge anyone to tell the difference between the pixel density of the Z1 Compact and iP5 when they have both devices side-by-side WITH a microscope! But since the main gist of my review was to look at the Z1 Compact as a potential alternative to the iP5 for people who think the current crop of Android flagships too large a brief comparison of the technical details - size, weight, screen dimensions and dot density - seemed not just appropriate but essential. Whether or not any of the differences matter a rat's ass is up to the reader. Comment - intelligent or otherwise - is in paras 4, 5, 6 & 7 after the basic facts in para 3.

              As for using 'mAh' in regards to battery capacity, yup, it is far from ideal, I agree, but the full technical specifications of phone batteries are nigh on impossible to get hold of in these days of sealed devices so it's really the least worst option.


      2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge


        I prefer grams of TNT

  4. James 51

    This is the first android phone that has piqued my interest since the xperia mini pro. Problem is I am not that fussed on android. Maybe if Jolla get that loader for sailfish going....

    1. Piro Silver badge

      What about the Xperia Pro? The Mini Pro was beyond terrible with the very old CPU and terrible res screen, along with almost no space for apps.

      The Xperia Pro is a great handset that was EXTREMELY overlooked, in desperate need of a new version.

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Absolutely. My xperia pro is still serving well, despite the aged OS. I've been considering dropping jellybean on it but I have no idea how well it would perform.

        1. Paul 135

          For your Pro, I would forget the Jellybean and instead wait for a mature version of Cyanogenmod 11 (KitKat) appears at

      2. Paul 135

        Agree. Unfortunately mine got water-damaged so replaced it with one of these Z1 Compacts (thankfully not the pink!). I love the Z1 Compact though, the improved performance, internal storage, screen, camera, modem, and more reliable Wi-fi still make it an upgrade overall.

        Still, there are some occasions when using the landscape keyboard where you can't see what you're typing (which wouldn't occur on the Xperia Pro). Perhaps Sony could just make an official keyboard case for the Z1C that is powered by the dock connector?

  5. sabroni Silver badge

    But can I wipe it..

    ...and put a Proper Linux on there!?!?!?!

    1. Tomato42

      Re: But can I wipe it..

      dunno about proper, but cyanogenmod has builds for it, we will have to wait few more months for Meamo or Sailfish, but I wouldn't hold my breath for it

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: But can I wipe it..

        Thanks, but I was being facetious. "Can I put a proper linux on it" is the tiresome standard freetard response to any article about a new computer of some kind.

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    On a slightly more serious note

    Yes the hardware looks quite nice and the battery sounds pretty beefy, but I don't especially want to plug my life into Google.

    1. Gordon 10

      Re: On a slightly more serious note

      If you put some work into it you can mostly avoid google. There are apps that allow you to continue using iCloud mail, calendars, etc.

    2. Paul 135

      Re: On a slightly more serious note

      An official Cyanogenmod build is in the works so you can always flash that instead.

  7. David Paul Morgan
    Thumb Up

    we love ours

    picked up a pair in CPW the other weekend. no O2 4G in Cardiff atm, but on a trip to London, the browsing etc was superb.

    The screen is crisp and bright and everything is speedy all around.

    The camera is great - and the reason we went with the Xperia S & T before that. The Sony camera software gives good results for me.

    TV connectivity is also very useful - bought a £10 hdmi/usb convertor dongle. great for your google play music, youtube, spotify etc.

    Feels a little strange in my hand after the T, but I like the Z series 'design language'.

    Also, the Sony 'skinning' of the Android interface is stylish and does not change the basic experience too much, if at all.

    two thumbs up from us. Bought (unbranded) with a 5GB monthly allowance on O2.

    The daily battery like is very very good - even before switching on all the very efficient stealth modes built into this device. Both our Z1 compacts are 'tethered to our Transformer tablets and this also works very well.

    Happy Sony Xperia Fanboy here.

    (and it's water resistant - it took we 2 weeks, years ago, to dry out my HTC Wizard after a sink-dunking...)

    1. Samuel Penn

      Re: we love ours

      > The daily battery like is very very good - even before switching on all the

      > very efficient stealth modes built into this device.

      Define very very good. Mine lasts about 20 hours, with medium usage. It gets me through the day with some music streaming, podcast playing and a bit of browsing (it's rarely used for phone calls), but I would consider that minimum acceptable rather than good.

      1. Bassey

        Re: we love ours

        I'm with Samuel on this. I love my Compact but the one slight downside is battery life. It is no worse but also no better than other Android phones I have owned. It JUST gets through a full day with a little bit to spare. If I enable the Stamina mode I have 50% left at the end of the day but then I don't get push notifications, my calendar doesn't synch etc. In other words, it stops being a "smart" phone so what's the point?

        Everything else is fantastic. I bought an adaptor for a couple of quid that allows me to plug the standard charger into the docking port so I don't need to prise open the USB port cover in order to charge the thing. Just been for a run in the pissing rain and it was so nice not to have to worry about sticking my phone in a zip bag to keep it dry.

        1. Bodhi

          Re: we love ours

          Not much to add to this other than you can add exceptions to Stamina Mode, so you can still get emails, WhatsApp etc. It does mean Stamina Mode is slightly less effective, but still stops the sync hogs like FB and Twitter from chewing all your battery.

          Must admit though the Xperias have never been great at battery life, although they are improving. My original Z can just about make it through a day, but with docks in my car and on my desk, it doesn't really need to.

          Excellent phones however, if my Z had the camera from the Z1 in it I doubt I'd be in a hurry to ever upgrade. As it is the Z2 is calling me, with its noise cancellation, stereo speakers and awesome camera.

          1. Bassey

            Re: we love ours

            > you can add exceptions to Stamina Mode, so you can still get emails

            Excellent, thanks for that. Guess I should RTFM!

            Oh, and for those that would prefer their device to behave more like standard Android (I'm coming from a KitKat enabled Nexus 4 and have come to really appreciate Google Now being a part of the Launcher) there is a 3rd party launcher on the Play store called KK Launcher which (near as damn it) replicates the latest Nexus Now Launcher but with a couple of extra customisations.

  8. Dr_N

    Attention Handset Manufacturers!

    Stop using words like "Mini" and "Compact" to describe handsets that are anything but.

    And perhaps actually bring out some that actually are?

    Thank you.

    1. Sebastian Brosig

      Re: Attention Handset Manufacturers!

      Same applies to BMW, the manufactures of the Twatmobile(R)

    2. Piro Silver badge

      Re: Attention Handset Manufacturers!

      It is funny, huh?

      I have an old HTC Desire HD floating around, and I recall that being perceived as large at the time.

      "Gizmodo praised it as "A 720p-Shooting Android Behemoth" though they felt that it was a little too big for comfort"

      The Xperia Z1 'Compact' is taller, slightly narrower and thinner and less weighty. But it's not exactly worlds apart.

    3. phuzz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Attention Handset Manufacturers!

      Yep, what I'm looking for in my next phone is a sub 4 inch screen.

      Smaller screen equals smaller phone (or at least it should), and hopefully better battery life.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Attention Handset Manufacturers!

        You would expect worse battery life. the screen is nowadays not the main power consumption, and the electronics uses roughly the same power (for a given amount of computing) regardless of size. On the other hand, the small case has proportionately less room for a battery.

        I think one driver of big Androids is that it is much easier to get long battery life with a big phone because the battery can take up proportionally much more of the volume. Look at the GSMArena battery life table and note how all the long life devices are either thick or have big screens, or both.

  9. Tim 69

    Compared this with and LG G2 and went the LG way

    I picked up both one of these and a G2 and ended up sticking with the G2 and disposing of the Z1 Compact. Why? Whilst it is a beautifully made handset, I found that the buttons felt very sticky to use, I didn't really like the way it felt in my hand, and in spite of the detail the camera was capable of shooting, in Low Light it really didn't perform that well, which was a little disappointing given that's usually when I use mine. Others may disagree, but I felt the G2 handled that better.

    But each to their own. It's a very capable handset, but fundamentally it's the ergonomics of each that will drive which you prefer!

  10. Jim Wilkinson

    Memory limit?

    Only 12GB of user accessible flash storage? For the high price of this handset, I'd expect more than double that. My Xperia P has the same memory at a much lower price. Superb audio quality BTW.

  11. heyrick Silver badge

    "you are just making the chipset push more pixels around in the name of spurious bragging rights."

    Umm... Isn't that why many people buy these devices?

  12. Ruairi

    Have one for about a month now. The 4.2.2 update was pushed to me last week, so you might want to update the article.

    I'm upgrading from the ZR, which I absolutely love. The compact is a really awesome phone. I get 3 days with heavy usage (WiFi,4G,GPS). Early OS revs were a bit fruity, but it seems that most issues are addressed now. The camera is really impressive, and the AR mode is hilariously awesome.

    The only negative things I can say about the phone is that the lack of option to disable vibrate on touch is *annoying* and the plastic back scratches all too easily.

    1. N13L5

      Re: plastic back

      When I saw this had a plastic back instead of glass, I lost interest.

      I guess that's where Sony makes their money?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a Sony

    So does it come with a rootkit pre-installed, or do you load that in via the first Sony-sourced music you lease?

    1. N13L5

      Re: It's a Sony

      Don't think you can buy any phone without at least an NSA rootkit on it.

      After that one, what's the difference if it has additional ones?

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