Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Xperia Z3 Compact comparison review

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Sony launched several new devices during IFA 2014 in Berlin at the beginning of September. Among those new devices was the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, which replaces the Xperia Z1 Compact (Sony skipped over the Z2 Compact, it seems). Here, we put the two smartphones head-to-head to see how they stack up in our Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact comparison review. See also: Best smartphones 2014

See also: Sony Xperia Z3 vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact: Price

The Xperia Z3 Compact costs £429, from Sony, though you'll find it cheaper if you shop around. Clove is offering it for just £349, for example.

For now, you can still buy the Xperia Z1 Compact from Sony too, at a price of £349. We've yet to see it offered much cheaper by third-party resellers so the Z3 Compact is a better deal right now. Read next: Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact: Design and build

The Xperia Z3 Compact has a sleeker and more streamlined design than its predecessor. It's lighter, thinner, more durable and has new colours.

Taking a closer look, you'll first notice that the Z3 Compact comes in black, green, orange or white, while the Z1 Compact has white, pink, yellow or black options.

Sony has shaved a small amount off of the thickness and weight with the new model, too. The Z3 Compact measures 8.6mm thick and weighs 129g, compared with the 9.5mm and 137g of the Z1 Compact.

When it comes to durability, the Z3 Compact has new nylon corners to protect the smartphone should you accidentally drop it, and it's dust- and waterproof to a rating of IP68 compared with the IP55 rating of the Z1 Compact.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact: Screen

The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact has a 4.6in screen, which is bigger than the 4.3in of the Z1 Compact but the overall size of the phone is similar thanks to the thinner bezels on the newer smartphone.

They share the same 720p resolution, though, which actually means that the pixel density of the older phone is slightly higher, at 341ppi compared with the Z3 Compact's 319ppi.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact: Hardware

Inside the Xperia Z3 Compact is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor clocked at 2.5GHz paired with 2GB RAM. That's impressive, but not completely dissimilar to the Z1 Compact's Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor clocked at 2.2GHz, also paired with 2GB RAM.

We've not been able to run our full benchmark tests on the newer Compact yet, but we were impressed with the results achieved by the Xperia Z1 Compact and expect the Z3 Compact to be even better.

You'll get 16GB of built-in storage with both the Z1 Compact and Z3 Compact, and both offer microSD card slots. The Z3 Compact supports microSD cards up to 128GB while the Z1 Compact offers up to 64GB, though.

Connectivity features in both smartphones are largely the same, including Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and 4G LTE, but the Z3 Compact does support the faster 11ac WiFi standard that the Z1 misses out on. 

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact: Camera

You'll also find a similar camera in both of the Z Compact smartphones from Sony. Both have 20.7Mp main cameras with the Sony Exmor RS sensor, but the Z3 Compact does offer a 25mm wide-angle and a super-high ISO of 128000.

The front-facing camera on the Z3 Compact is 2.2Mp while the Z1 Compact has a 2Mp camera on the front. They're both capable of recording 1080p video.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact: Software

Both the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact and its predecessor run Android 4.4 KitKat with Sony's own user interface.

The Z3 Compact has some cool new features that the Z1 Compact missed out on, though. It supports PS4 Remote Play for playing PS4 games over a WiFi network and has high-res audio playback including DSD files. If you don't own any high-res music then Sony's DSEE HD (digital sound enhancement engine) promised to upscale it to near high-res quality. 

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact: Specs

  • Android 4.4.4 KitKat OS
  • 4.6in Triluminos Display (720x1280, 319ppi)
  • 2.5GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU
  • Adreno 330 GPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB internal storage
  • microSD slot (up to 128GB)
  • 20.7Mp rear camera AF with LED Flash
  • 2.2Mp front camera
  • Video recording at up to 2160p
  • Wi-Fi up tp 11.ac
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • NFC
  • 4G LTE Cat 4
  • Nano-SIM
  • 2600mAh battery
  • Dust and waterproof (IP68)
  • 65x127x8.6mm
  • 129g
  • Android 4.4.4 KitKat OS
  • 4.6in Triluminos Display (720x1280, 319ppi)
  • 2.5GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU
  • Adreno 330 GPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB internal storage
  • microSD slot (up to 128GB)
  • 20.7Mp rear camera AF with LED Flash
  • 2.2Mp front camera
  • Video recording at up to 2160p
  • Wi-Fi up tp 11.ac
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • NFC
  • 4G LTE Cat 4
  • Nano-SIM
  • 2600mAh battery
  • Dust and waterproof (IP68)
  • 65x127x8.6mm
  • 129g

OUR VERDICT

Overall, the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is not all that different from the Xperia Z1 Compact. The design is improved, the screen is a bit bigger, the processor is slightly better and the camera has been tweaked, but we'd suggest that none of those improvements are major. However, unless you can find the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact for under £300, we'd recommend buying the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact for £349 for those slight improvements, extra durability and new features.