Do we have a good one for you today – the Sony Xperia XZ goes up against the Sony Xperia X Compact. Both devices have a typical Sony look with their large bezels and rectangle shape – especially the squared-off X Compact. Both devices have NFC and can make mobile payments, only without the help of a fingerprint sensor as neither one works on the US models. The Xperia XZ is an all metal design with rounded edges, and the X Compact model is all plastic with a very boxed off design making it less comfortable to hold. Let's look at just what these two devices have in common, if anything, and then we will take a closer look at each one in hopes that we can determine a winner of this comparison.
Launched a month apart this past fall, these two Xperia devices have very little in common. Nothing in size compares due to the difference in their displays – 5.2-inches vs. 4.6-inches – making their physical size quite different. They both use an IPS LCD display technology, but their resolutions differ. Both come running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with their Android Nougat upgrade released last month. Both devices use a Snapdragon processor and an Adreno GPU, but different models. They both come with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable internal memory. The Xperia XZ and X Compact both have a 23MP primary camera to produce excellent pictures. Both have Hi-Res audio and dual front-facing stereo speakers. Both have a non-removable battery with Quick Charge 3.0 for rapid charging. The usual suspects are there – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and a reversible Type-C USB port for charging and data transfer.
Please take a careful look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the "View Full Comparison" link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each device in greater depth and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information, we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
Sony Xperia XZ
Sony's latest flagship for the US market, the Xperia XZ, only works on AT&T or T-Mobile and the fingerprint sensor does not have the necessary firmware to operate – and Sony wonders why they cannot make it in the US. The Xperia XZ uses an all-metal backing that is curved on the sides to make it easier to hold. It has the familiar Sony rectangle shape with softer edges and incorporates Sony's love for large top and bottom bezels. Let's see how it stands up to the new Sony Xperia X Compact.
Sony does not like to use QHD displays, even in their flagship models so the Xperia XZ sports their usual IPS Full HD display of 5.2-inch with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with a respectable 424 pixels-per-inch (PPI.) Sony went with the best processor they could at the time of its release – the 64-bit Snapdragon 820. It is a quad-core processor with dual cores clocked at 1.6GHz and dual cores clocked at 2.15GHz and with the Adreno 530 GPU, to take care of any graphics you can throw its way. It packs only 3GB of DDR4 RAM, and you can have your choice of 32GB or 64GB of expandable internal memory.
Sony loves a good camera, and this tradition continues in the Xperia XZ's camera area. The Xperia XZ sports a new 23MP Sony lens for its primary camera with an aperture of f/2.0, 24mm width, phase detection autofocus (PDAF) and laser autofocus, and LED flash. For its front-facing camera (FFC) it uses a huge 13MP sensor with a f/2.0, 22mm, and HDR capabilities allowing you to take great selfies or video chatting. The Xperia XZ uses a smaller 2900mAh non-removable battery with Quick Charge 3.0 to give you a rapid charge.
Besides its great camera, the Xperia XZ also comes with its Hi-Res audio and produces great sound through the earphones or the dual front-facing stereo speakers. It is IP68 certified for dust and water resistance – something not found on the Xperia X Compact. The Xperia XZ allows it to operate on only AT&T or T-Mobile in the US. It has no fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device or for authorizing mobile payments, although mobile payments are still possible because of its NFC capability. It measures 146 x 72 x 8.1MM and weighs in at 161 grams. It comes in Mineral Black, Platinum, Forest Blue, or Deep Pink. It will cost you a sizable $699 for this Sony flagship.
Sony Xperia X Compact
Sony has never fully committed to the phablet-sized smartphone – 5.2-inches is their sweet spot for their flagships. However, if you are in the market for even a smaller device, the 4.6-inch Xperia X Compact might be just for you. It is also a cheaper priced device by Sony standards at only $500. However, for that $500 you lose your IP68 water and dust proofing, only have an HD display, and you go from metal to a plastic body. It uses a Snapdragon 650 processor and has 3GB of slower DDR3 RAM (limitations are because of the processor), although the memory is expandable. Let's see just how the Xperia X Compact holds up to the Sony Xperia XZ.
Sony does not like QHD displays and likes to use Full HD but in the case of the X Compact, they went with a 4.6-inch HD display with a resolution of only 1280 x 720 pixels, and that works out to 319 PPI. It is still a Triluminos display, and in the 4.6-inch size, HD is very acceptable. Sony picked the Snapdragon 650 hexacore processor with four cores clocked at 1.4GHz and two cores clocked at 1.8GHz. It uses an Adreno 510 GPU, and the combination worked great in our review. It packs 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage that is expandable up to 256GB. The Xperia X Compact is using a 2700mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 built-in.
Sony always excelled in producing top-notch cameras in their smartphones and the Xperia X Compact is no exception. It uses a large 23MP sensor with an aperture of f/2.0, 24mm, phase detection autofocus (PDAF), incorporates SteadyShot software that uses 5-axis stabilization, and a LED flash. The pictures were one of the high points of our review with fairly quick opening and focusing, and the camera app has many features. Video is at [email protected] and [email protected] The FFC is 5MP and is capable of 1080p as well. Social media selfies and video chats should be fine.
The all plastic design brings back memories of smartphones gone by and it does little to make the Sony Xperia X Compact stand out from the crowd. The X Compact is a very small device by today's standards that offer little to the US market – but then either does the Xperia XZ. It has no fingerprint sensor and restrictive usage only on AT&T and T-Mobile in the US. In its defense, it does offer dual front-facing stereo speakers and an excellent primary camera. It measures in at 129 x 65 x 9.5mm, weighs in at 135 grams, and comes in White, Universe black, and Mist Blue – it will cost you about $500. If you are interested in photos or sound, the Xperia X Compact might be just for you.
…And The Winner Is…
The Final Word
This decision is not so tough if you do not mind a 4.6-inch display – the Sony Xperia X Compact is the winner. Why? It has everything the Sony Xperia XZ has except the larger Full HD display and IP68 certification, all for $200 less. It takes excellent photos and produces true audio sound from its dual front-facing stereo speakers. For a pocket-sized smartphone, it can handle your daily tasks with ease using the Snapdragon 650.
Sure, it does not have a working fingerprint sensor nor can it operate on Verizon or Sprint – neither can the more expensive Xperia XZ, so you are not losing anything. The Xperia XZ is not worth $700 with all of its limitations when compared to other $700 devices. However, for $500, the Sony X Compact, does the job of its larger brother, albeit a smaller display.