Sony Xperia Z3 vs Xperia Z3 Compact comparison review

Sony Xperia Z3 vs Z3 Compact

At IFA 2014, Sony launched its new Z3 series of smartphones and tablets including the Xperia Z3 and a mini version of the flagship device in the form of the Xperia Z3 Compact. Find out what the difference is in our Sony Xperia Z3 vs Xperia Z3 Compact comparison review. Read: The best smartphone you can buy in 2014.

You're probably familiar with the concept of a flagship phone be released followed by a smaller and cheaper version which tends to get 'mini' added to the product name. Well Sony does this but the Compact aims to provide the flagship device in a smaller form factor without the compromise.

Sony hasn't released a smaller model of its top-end smartphone since the original Xperia Z1 Compact (we don't know why there wasn't a Z2 Compact) but it's now back with the Z3 Compact. It's a great example of a mini smartphone and retains a lot of what's on offer in the full-size version. However, there are many differences to consider and that's what this article is for.

Sony Xperia Z3 vs Xperia Z3 Compact comparison review: Price

A fairly obvious difference is the price as the full-size Xperia Z3 costs £549 (that's Sony's official price) while the Xperia Z3 Compact will only set you back £429 - although Clove has it for just £349. That's a saving of £200 and while there are cheaper mini versions out there, remember that the Compact keeps a lot of the Z3's specs and features. Read: Sony Xperia Z3 release date, price and specs.

Sony Xperia Z3 vs Xperia Z3 Compact comparison review: Design

There's little to say about design as these are essentially the same phone but in two different sizes. They use what it now Sony's classic Xperia design language which includes new nylon corners for those accidental drop situations. They're also dust- and waterproof to an IP68 rating.

Being the flagship model, the Xperia Z3 is thinner at 7.3 mm compared to 8.6 mm but since the device is smaller, the Z3 Compact is lighter at 129 g against 152 g.

What colour your smartphone is will matter to some degree so it's worth pointing out that aside from black and white, the Xperia Z3 is available in silver green and copper while the Xperia Z3 Compact comes in a bolder green and bright orange.

Sony Xperia Z3 vs Z3 Compact colours

Sony Xperia Z3 vs Xperia Z3 Compact comparison review: Screen

The screen is likely to be one of the main areas which will influence your decision – the main point of a mini or compact version of a flagship smartphone is to cater for those not wanting a large screen.

Sony has stuck with the 5.2in size for the flagship Xperia Z3 with a Full HD (1080 x 1920) resolution while the Z3 Compact uses a more manageable 4.6in display. That's a little bigger than the Z1 Compact but the firm has kept the phone the same size due to smaller bezels.

It's really about whether you want and can comfortably use a larger screen or not but it's worth pointing out that the Z3 Compact uses a 720p resolution. That's kind of understandable considering the drop in size but does mean a lower pixel density of 319ppi compared to 424ppi.

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact screen

Sony Xperia Z3 vs Xperia Z3 Compact comparison review: Like for like specs

There's really only one more difference to mention and it's not a big deal. The Xperia Z3 Compact has 2 GB of RAM while the Xperia Z3 has 3 GB. The phones are essentially the same from here on out so price, design and screen are the three areas to focus on when deciding between these two smartphones.

We're not going to stop there though, as Sony deserves credit for retaining so many specs and features of the Xperia Z3 in the Xperia Z3 Compact.

The pair are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor clocked at 2.5 GHz, higher than their predecessors although it's a shame not to a 64-bit chip in preparation for Android L.

Storage is simply 16 GB or nothing but the Xperia Z3 and its smaller brother each has a microSD card slot which allows you to add up to 128 GB. On the wireless side of things, you'll get 11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and 4G LTE support – look elsewhere if you want features like a fingerprint scanner and IR blaster.

Sony Xperia Z3 PS4 Remote Play

Sony is sticking with its tried and tested 20.7 Mp main camera with its own Exmor RS sensor which we've seen in previous Xperia smartphones. There are a couple of new features though, as the Z3 series has a 25mm wide-angle lens and a super high ISO of 12800. Both have a 2.2 Mp front camera capable of recording 1080p video.

In terms of software, it's unsurprising that the Z3 series comes with Android 4.4 KitKat with Sony's own user interface. A standout feature is PS4 Remote Play which means the smartphones are the first with the ability to play PS4 games over a Wi-Fi network.

It's also worth noting that the Z3 and Z3 Compact support 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: Specs

  • Android 4.4.4 KitKat OS
  • 5.2in Triluminos Display (1080x1920, 424ppi)
  • 2.5GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU
  • Adreno 330 GPU
  • 3GB 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
  • 3100mAh battery
  • Dust and waterproof (IP68)
  • 72x146x7.3mm
  • 152g
  • Android 4.4.4 KitKat OS
  • 5.2in Triluminos Display (1080x1920, 424ppi)
  • 2.5GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU
  • Adreno 330 GPU
  • 3GB 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
  • 3100mAh battery
  • Dust and waterproof (IP68)
  • 72x146x7.3mm
  • 152g

OUR VERDICT

Sony has done a great job of making a mini version of its flagship smartphone so getting the Z3 Compact only really means a smaller screen and less money. In fact, unless you want the bigger screen of the Z3, it really makes no sense to buy it over the Compact. Sony might have done too good a job.

Best prices today

Retailer Price Delivery  

Price comparision from , and manufacturers