• What’s the difference between the Sony Xperia Z1 and the Xperia Z1 Compact?

    By Chris Ward , January 9, 2014 - Leave a comment

    Xperia Z1 vs Xperia Z1 Compact

    Over the last few years, several manufacturers of Android handsets have released ‘mini’ versions of their flagships, Sony included. The problem with these devices is that it’s not just their dimensions that are reduced, but also their specs.

    Sony has therefore created the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, a scaled down version of the Sony Xperia Z1, which comes with smaller dimensions, but not a compromised feature set. As a result, there are not a huge number of differences between the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and its larger sibling the Sony Xperia Z1, but we’ll detail the differences between the two below in case you need help choosing between the two.

    We’ve currently got the SIM-free Xperia Z1 in stock on the Clove website, and the Xperia Z1 Compact is available to pre-order, with the first stock expected to arrive mid-February.

    Xperia Z1 Compact vs Xperia Z1

    The main thing to bear in mind when comparing the Xperia Z1 Compact next to the larger Z1 is that next to no compromises have been made on the feature set other than the display resolution, which drops from 1080p to 720p. That being said, Sony has improved its LCD IPS technology for the Xperia Z1 Compact, so its display is very impressive overall.

    In order to make the Xperia Z1 Compact comfortable for one-handed use, size reductions have been made to the dimensions, the display and the battery. Other specifications such as power, storage, connectivity and camera remain unchanged. Here’s a quick look at the main differences:

    Main differences at a glance

    • The Z1 Compact is smaller and lighter, but 1mm thicker
    • The Compact is more comfortable for one-handed use
    • The Xperia Z1 has a higher resolution display: 1080p compared to 720p
    • The Xperia Z1 Compact has a 4.3“ display, the Z1 is 5”.
    • The Xperia Z1 has a pixel density of 441 PPI, the Z1 Compact is 342 PPI.
    • Colour range: the Xperia Z1 Compact is available in pink and lime as well as white and black. The Z1 is also available in purple.
    • Battery. The Compact has a 2,300mAh capacity, whereas the Z1 is 3,000mAh.  However, there’s barely any difference in overall battery life estimations.
    • The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is cheaper

    Xperia Z1 Compact side low light

    Size and Weight

    The idea behind the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is to give the user the best feature set possible, but in a form factor that is easier to hold. While the advantages of a large screen are many, some prefer a handset that can be comfortably used with one hand, which is what the Xperia Z1 Compact provides.

    Here’s a look at the overall dimension of the two:

    Sony Xperia Z1 Compact: 127 x 64.9 x 9.5 mm
    Sony Xperia Z1: 144.4 x 73.9 x 8.5 mm

    In order to accommodate as big a battery as possible, the Xperia Z1 Compact is slightly thicker than the larger Z1: 9.5mm compared to 8.5mm. That’s still pretty thin, though, and given the technology and battery size that’s been compressed into the Xperia Z1 Compact, a thickness gain of only 1mm is very impressive.

    Of course, the smaller dimensions and smaller battery do mean that the Compact is significantly lighter, which is a big contributor to the overall comfort of one-handed use. The Xperia Z1 Compact weighs just 137g, whereas the bulkier Xperia Z1 comes in at 170g.


    Sony Xperia Z1 Compact: 4.3“ LCD IPS, 1280×720, 342 PPI
    Sony Xperia Z1: 5” LCD IPS, 1920×1080, 441 PPI

    While the display of the Xperia Z1 Compact is a fair bit smaller than that of the Z1, it’s not that small overall. Only three years ago 4.3“ was the standard size for an Android flagship, and even now, Apple’s flagship, the iPhone 5S, only has a 4” display.

    The Xperia Z1 does have a higher resolution and pixel density than the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, which means that its picture is sharper. However, the LCD IPS technology has been upgraded for the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, which results in wider viewing angles.


    Given the small dimensions of the Xperia Z1 Compact, Sony has done a great job to include a 2,300mAh battery. The Z1 has a 3,000mAh battery, but the smaller screen of the Xperia Z1 Compact means that there won’t be a huge difference in overall battery life. Sony estimates the talk time for both devices at around 18 hours, and estimates music playback at 110 hours. Movie playback will last slightly longer on the Z1, coming in at 400 minutes as opposed to 360 minutes on the Z1 Compact.

    Both handsets feature Sony’s battery saving mode STAMINA, which we have written about in more detail here. Sony says that STAMINA mode can increase battery performance by up to four times, although it will vary greatly depending on the settings that you enter.

    Xperia Z1 compact

    What’s stayed the same?

    All the other features of the Z1 have been carried over to the Z1 Compact. Here’s a quick reminder of what they are:

    • IP55/58 protection rating – water and dust resistance
    • Quad-Core 2.2GHz Qualcomm MSM8974 Processor
    • 2GB RAM
    • 16GB Internal storage, 64GB MicroSDXC external storage
    • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (upgradeable to 4.4 KitKat)
    • 20.7MP camera (see our Z1 sample photos here)
    • 2MP 1080p front facing camera
    • MHL (video out via MicroUSB)
    • Miracast, DLNA and NFC
    • Both compatible with Sony’s attachable CyberShot Lenses
    • LTE capable
    • Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, GPS
    • 3.5mm headphone jack

    Xperia Z1 Compact waterproofShould you choose the Xperia Z1 or Z1 Compact?

    Really this is a question of how big you want your screen to be. Some people prefer the display to be as large as possible in order to better enjoy browsing the web, watching movies and playing games. These activities are still a great experience on the Compact, though; 4.3″ is plenty big.

    Colour choice could also impact on your decision, as could price. Both handsets are available in white and black, but the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact also has pink and lime variants, and the Z1 has a purple variant. The Xperia Z1 Compact is also a fair bit cheaper: £430 inc. VAT compared to £480 for the Z1.

    At the time of writing we have the Z1 in stock and available to order on the Clove website and the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is due to arrive mid-February. Regardless of which you choose, you’re getting a waterproof smartphone with the technology of a handheld camera squeezed into it, so you won’t be disappointed.

    Chris Ward

    Better known as 'Wardy', digital media is where his interest lies. Responsible for many elements of the Clove website and external advertising activities, Wardy is our interactive media graduate. Always chilled out, there is never a time when you see 'Wardy' stressed. A keen music follower, he knows his DJ's and how to mix a few tracks together. Always eating, he remains stick thin and is the envy of the rest of us! A very deep character, there are some suprising twists to what Wardy knows and you'll never meet a nicer bloke if you tried!


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