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Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs iPhone 5S head to head review

We match Sony's latest smartphone against a rival its own size
Thu Feb 13 2014, 14:19

JAPANESE PHONE MAKER Sony's Xperia Z1 Compact smartphone might be a miniature alternative to the flagship Xperia Z1, but it features the same top-end specifications as its larger sibling.

With a 4.3in display and top-end features, this handset sees Sony challenging Apple's iPhone 5S in the smartphone market, and it's no doubt looking to win over buyers with the fact that its Xperia Z1 Compact, at £449, is around £70 cheaper than Apple's latest flagship.

The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and iPhone 5S are worlds apart in design, but both devices have a premium look.

Sony's Xperia Z1 Compact measures 127x65x9.5mm and is crafted predominantly from plastic. But much like the flagship Xperia Z1, this is coated in glass and edged with aluminium, giving the handset an all around high-end feel.

The iPhone 5S measures 124x59x7.6mm and features the same boxy, angular design as the Xperia Z1 Compact. But Apple's handset differs from Sony's plastic and glass casing with a fully aluminium chassis, which both looks and feels premium. However, we have found the handset's metal casing is prone to picking up scuffs and scratches, much like the Xperia Z1 Compact is prone to picking up fingerprints.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs iPhone 5S design21

The iPhone 5S is the smaller, more comfortable to hold of the two, measuring 7.6mm thick and tipping the scales at 112g. In comparison, the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact measures 9.5mm thick and weighs 137g, which means that it feels chunkier than the iPhone 5S.

The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact does trump the iPhone 5S in a different way though, and that's thanks to its IP57 certification that means it's resistant to water, dust and scratches.

Winner: Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

The Xperia Z1 Compact's screen unfortunately doesn't have HD 1080p resolution, with Sony instead designing the device with a 4.3in 720x1280 display. Thanks to Sony's Triluminos display technology, we were still impressed with the screen quality, with colours appearing vibrant and text crisp, albeit not quite as sharp as the HD 1080p display on the flagship Xperia Z1. 

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs iPhone 5S screen 1

The iPhone 5S might feature the same display as its iPhone 5 predecessor, but it's still among the best on the market with its 4in 640x1136 resolution Retina display. While this is less than the Xperia Z1 Compact's display resolution, the iPhone 5S display offers much higher brightness levels and trumped its Sony rival in viewing angles and overall clarity.

Winner: iPhone 5S

Next: Performance, software.


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