- Fast performance
- MicroSD card support
- Comfortable grip
- Good camera
- Lack of typical metal Xperia design
- Mid-range resolution
- Possible battery life concerns for power users
Sony turned the compact smartphone market upside down the Z1, proving that smaller phones could pack the same punch as their biggest brethren. With the release of the Xperia Z3 Compact, Sony aims to repeat their previous victory. How does the new phone stack up to the competition? Let’s check out the reviews!
For the most part, the Z3 Compact is literally a scaled down version of the Z3. However, there are a couple of differences. The first, and most noted in reviews, is the removable of the metal chassis. While durability seemed excellent in all reviews, most also noted that the plastic and glass design was something they weren’t fond of. CNet stated that the phone “loses the luxury feel of metal found on its big brother and predecessor.”
The other difference is in the memory category. However, with 2GB of RAM to play with, the phone receives outstanding reviews on performance. Forbes called it, “a powerful handset in a wonderfully small package.” The 2.5 GHz quad-core processor is pushing a 4.6-inch IPS display at 1280 by 720 pixels. Digital Spy said, “The Z3 Compact feels virtually as snappy as its Z3 sibling and on a par with a flagship Android smartphone.” Increased brightness and contrast is provided by Sony’s Bravia engine. This brightness was applauded by most reviewers noting how well it performed in bright sunlight.
The choice to use a 720p display was an area of contention with most reviews. While many pointed out how this falls short of most current flagship phones, including the bigger Z3, the display is running a similar resolution to many of the most popular flagships of last year on a smaller display. If you plan to do a lot of reading with your phone, Trusted Review notes that, “the 720p panel lacks the crispness offered by a Full HD display.”
The phone also sports a 20.7-megapixel camera, making it one of the most powerful cameras available in current smartphones. TechRadar noted, “We’re pleased with the quality of the photos taken, especially outdoors.” Reviews of the camera were positive overall with many reviews praising the intelligence and ease of use of the auto mode and exceptional low-light performance for a smartphone camera. The dedicated shutter button also will make it easier to take stable, blur-free shots.
All of this is packed into a design that is waterproof for up to 30 minutes in 1.5 meters of water. CNet put this claim to the test and found their test model worked with no problems after a lengthy submersion. Just be sure to check the waterproof flaps before taking the plunge.
The subtle tweaks to screen size and specs also allowed Sony to shave a bit of capacity off the battery. Reviews of battery life were hit and miss. Some testers found the device would last days while others barely pushed a full day’s use. The consensus seems to be that the phone battery is particularly susceptible to video streaming, gaming and other high-demand tasks but that typical usage should net a day free of hunting charge ports. However, CNet notes, “With average use, you should still expect to give it a full charge every night.”
One important feature for gamers is the exclusive PS4 Remote Play feature. Previously only available on the PS Vita, this feature will allow Z3 owners to connect to their PS4 and play games using their mobile as a display. Unfortunately, this feature won’t roll out until late in 2014 so reviews are unavailable.
Overall, the reception of the Z3 Compact is extremely positive. When compared to both the full-size Z3 and the Z1 Compact, reviews of the phone stand on their own. Forbes stated, “The Sony Xperia Z3 provides an alternative to the monster smartphones, with very few compromises in performance or presentation.” The Verge was very happy with the device, stating, “There’s no other phone like it on the market today.”
What the Critics Are Saying...
- Reviewed.com staff, Reviewed
If you consider a smartphone to be a phone first, the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is the best of a dying breed. Where most smartphones are leaving some customers in the lurch with rapidly ballooning screen sizes, the Z3 Compact offers a smaller alternative without cutting any corners.We've seen this stra...
- Tim Schiesser, TechSpot
There’s a lot to like about a smaller form factor smartphone with all the power, features and hardware of the larger flagships, especially when that smartphone is the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact. While the device isn’t significantly upgraded over the Z1 Compact that was released earlier this...
- Sascha Segan, PC Magazine
Nobody wants a small, powerful Android phone, except for everyone who does. So Sony hasn't been able to find a carrier to pick up the Z3 Compact. Instead, it's available for $529 unlocked direct from Sony or through electronics stores like Newegg. That will seriously limit its popularity in a nation...
- Dragan Petric, Brighthand
The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is the most well-rounded sub 5-inch Android phone on the market today. Its 4.6-inch display wouldn’t put it in the “compact” category until recently, but since we live in a world of phablets and huge handsets, the Z3 Compact’s thin profile and high-...
- Clinton Jeff, UnleashThePhones
Remember how I said the Xperia Z3 was the best smartphone you could buy today? Well the Xperia Z3 compact is exactly like it, just more portable. If the Xperia Z3 is too large a phone for you, Sony’s given you a choice of a more compact phone here.I’ve quite enjoyed my time with this pho...
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We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact user manual here.
Sony backs up the Xperia Z3 Compact with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your Xperia Z3 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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