- Crisp, bright display
- Comfortable grip
- Easy one-handed use
- microSD support
- Plenty of internal storage
- All-day battery life
- No fingerprint scanner on US model
- Hit-or-miss camera quality
- Odd button placement
If you’re looking for a phone that still fits in your pocket or doesn’t rival the size of the tablet on your nightstand, options seem to get slimmer each year. Sony’s Compact series have always turned heads by offering the classic smaller phone experience with a premium flagship treatment.
The latest entry in the series is out--the Sony Xperia X Compact--and reviews are rolling in. Is this small phone worth its big price tag? Let’s see what reviewers are saying!
In a world of 5+ inch phones, most reviewers loved the smaller 4.6-inch size of the X Compact. While the phone’s shell is made from plastic, few reviewers had any complaints. TechRadar noted, “While it does give off the high-end look it aims for, it collects small scratches and fingerprint smudges a little too easily.” Android Authority was more positive, saying, “It feels good in the hand, partially due to its novel size, but also thanks to the curved edges and polycarbonate material. The X Compact feels sturdy, light and is refreshingly easy to use with one hand.”
Button placement received mixed reviews. While it includes the standard headphone jack and USB-C ports at the top and bottom, Sony opted to put the rest of the controls along one side of the device. Some reviewers felt this made volume changing difficult. Others loved the addition of a dedicated camera button.
Heading around front, you’re greeted by a 4.6-inch Triluminous 720p display. While the resolution is lower than many flagships, so is the screen size. Reviewers all raved about the level of detail and color from the phone. PC Magazine stated, “I had no problem seeing the phone under direct sunlight.”
Inside the phone, Sony went with a six-core Snapdragon 650 processor. Paired with 3GB of RAM, the processor appears to provide snappy performance. TechRadar put the phone through its paces and declared, “Whether you play a game that requires tilt, or one that demands power, the X Compact doesn't break a sweat - even when we thought it would.”
If you’re planning to install a lot of apps and games or take your media collection on the go, the phone’s 32GB of storage should suffice. Reviews found roughly 19GB of space is available after Android and pre-installed apps. Should you need more space, microSD support makes upgrading simple.
The phone run a modified version of Android Marshmallow 6.0.1. Sony has promised a future update to Android Nougat. Reviews on the interface are mixed with some loving the bright colors and added features.
Another area where reviews are mixed is the camera. The 23MP rear-facing camera includes a wide-angle lens and Sony’s 5x Clear Image technology--allowing for reduced detail loss when using the digital zoom. The front-facing 5MP lens is more than enough for selfies or video chat. In good lighting, reviews of the camera are stellar. However, in less ideal environments, reviews get inconsistent. GSM Arena noted, “Image quality on the Sony Xperia X Compact is a mixed bag. For one, the level of detail is very high - in high-intricacy subject matter (foliage, for example) it's hard to rival the 23MP sensor's resolution. All that detail, however, is mixed up with tons of noise and the resulting texture looks unnatural from up close, and not too pleasing.”
Of course, none of these features do any good without the phone being able to keep a charge while using them. Although the phone’s 2,700mAh battery looks small on paper, reviews show it’s more than capable of pulling a full day of battery life with typical usage. Light users might even make it two days. Support for QuickCharge 2.0 and 3.0 ensures quick top ups when needed.
International variants of the phone include a fingerprint scanner. However, the US models do not.
Overall, the biggest issue reviewers had with the phone wasn’t about the phone itself--it was the price. Ars Technica summed up opinions well, saying, “X Compact is a good smartphone, but it's not a great smartphone.” Unfortunately, it carries a “great phone” price tag, so finding similar (or better) features at the same price isn’t hard.
What the Critics Are Saying...
- LaptopMedia Team, LaptopMedia
When we are talking about Android smartphones, it is difficult to find models with screen size less than 5 inches as the 5.5-inch diagonal is growing ever more popular. We believe that there certainly is a group of users who still prefer more compact devices. These who provide not only comfortable g...
- Dragan Petric, Brighthand
The hardware keeps the Sony Xperia X Compact out of the flagship space, but it’s still one of the best devices smaller than five inches on the market. Its long-lasting battery deserves the most praise, and we also like its modern design, attractive display, and decent performance.We just wish...
- Andreas Osthoff, Notebookcheck
You will see that the new Sony is a very solid mainstream smartphone, and the price has also been reduced compared to the previous Xperia Z5 Compact. Yes, the performance is slower in some situations, but you will hardly notice it in practice and the gaming performance in particular benefits from th...
- Patrick Holland, Cnet
Sony's Xperia X Compact is a small phone with an excellent camera, but it lacks some creature comforts, like waterproofing and, in the US, a fingerprint sensor.
- Max Parker, TrustedReviews
The Sony Xperia X Compact is far from the worst Android phone I've used this year, even if it is one of the ugliest. If you want an Android phone with a display size smaller than 5 inches then it’s probably your only choice. Widen your horizons, however, and there are better choices out there.
Prices (Where to Buy)
We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Sony Xperia X Compact user manual here.
Sony backs up the Xperia X Compact with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your Xperia X Compact has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Sony support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Sony's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.
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