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

Thu Feb 13 2014, 14:19

On paper, the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact should trump the iPhone 5S for taking pictures, thanks to its rear-facing 20.7MP sensor with an LED flash. The iPhone 5S, on the other hand, features an 8MP rear-facing camera coupled with a dual-LED fash.

In normal lighting, the Xperia Z1 Compact does indeed outclass the iPhone 5S, with the additional pixels making images appear more natural and more detailed than those taken on the iPhone 5S.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact camera sample 2

Taken on the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

iPhone 5S camera sample

Taken on the iPhone 5S

However, we found that the Xperia Z1 Compact struggled to compete in poor lighting conditions, with its single LED flash failing to match the iPhone 5S dual-LED flash, which we found produced a much more natural looking light. We also noticed that thanks to the iPhone 5S' camera key, which is also the 'volume up' button, it was easier and quicker to take photos on the Apple device, with the similar key on the Xperia Z1 Compact requiring a fair bit of force behind it.

Much like their respective operating systems, the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact camera interface has many more bells and whistles for users to fiddle with, while the iPhone 5S offers a more barebones experience.

Winner: Draw

Battery life and storage
Sony claims that the 2,300mAh battery battery on the Xperia Z1 Compact will last for 18 hours of constant talk-time, while Apple claims up to 10 hours.

We found that the battery on Sony's pint-sized smartphone way outlasted that of the iPhone 5S. We used both smartphones over the weekend, with both seeing average to heavy use, and while the iPhone 5S needed to be recharged towards the evening, the Xperia Z1 Compact easily breezed through into a second day.

The Xperia Z1 Compact storage trumps that of the iPhone 5S too. While it's only available with 16GB of internal storage, it boasts a microSD card slot, which means users can expand this by an additional 64GB. The iPhone 5S, on the other hand, is available with 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of internal storage, but has no way to expand this further.

Winner: Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is available in the UK SIM free from £449, while the cheapest iPhone 5S is priced at £529. It's pretty clear which one is the winner in this category.

Winner: Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Next: Overall winner.


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