Since flagship phones displays have been increasing in size over the past few years, new segments in the market have opened up for phones which have slightly smaller displays. One interesting segment are smaller versions of flagship phones.
One of the first was the GS3 Mini; which was really a budget phone named after the GS3. This trend continued the following year with the HTC One Mini and GS4 Mini.
However, earlier this year Sony added a twist to this trend when they released the Z1 Compact. Unlike the competition, the Z1 Compact was not a budget phone in expensive clothes; it was the first Ďminií phone with full-sized specs.
Hereís their follow up, the Z3 Compact. Let's check it out:
What about the Samsung Galaxy Alpha?
Since the Z3 Compact was released, Samsung has jumped on-board the small phone, big spec bandwagon with the Samsung Galaxy Alpha. The Samsung Galaxy Alpha is basically the Ďminií version of the GS5. Like the Compact, the Alpha makes very few compromises to fit into its more svelte form factor. That said, compared to the Z3 Compact, Samsung has left more on the table with the Alpha.
To be honest, thereís no comparison between the two. Thereís one spec which really stands out that demonstrates how serious Sony is with the Compact. The Compact is packing a 2600mAh battery while the Alpha has an embarrassingly small 1860mAh. Battery-wise, Samsung brought a knife, to a gun fight.
You do get a removable battery with the Alpha and guess what; if youíre a power user you might actually have to use this feature since the battery is so small. Donít forget that even though the battery is removable, the Alpha lacks the Compactís MicroSD.
If thatís not enough, the Compact has the same camera as the Z3 while the Alpha has to make due with a different lower quality camera compared to what you get with the GS5.
The Alpha does have sexy metal sides but the edges. Just remember, Samsung is still kind of new to the metal phone game so they made the rookie mistake of making the sides too hard, so the Alpha is not very comfortable to hold. Sony made the same mistake last year with the Z1.
I do like the fingerprint reader on the Alpha which is genuinely useful since most people have to unlock their phone many times a day. Then again, the Z3 Compact counters with water and dust resistance which is also a very practical feature.
While the choice between Z3 and GS5 is difficult, if you have to choose between the Alpha and Z3 Compact itís not even close. Compact all the way.
What about the Sony Xperia Z3?
If youíre a Sony fan, then you have to pick between the Z3 Compact and its larger brother, the Z3.
While both have very similar specs, there are a few subtle differences between them.
First off, the Z3 has a larger 5.2Ē display while the Compactís is only 4.6Ē. Practically speaking, there is a difference when you use them. These days, Android seems to be optimized for screens that around 5Ē in size so when you use the Z3, everything feels right. On the Compact, everything on the screen feels a little more cramped.
While the Z3 has a larger footprint than the Compact, the Compact is noticeably thicker. It doesnít bother me at all but it does feel a bit chubby when you have them side-by-side.
The Z3 has exposed metal sides which feel very classy. The Compact has metal sides too but theyíre covered with a round layer of cheap-feeling soft plastic.
The Z3ís stereo speakers are more powerful and have better sound quality.
Between them, itís a tough choice. Unless you really need a smaller phone, Iíd probably lean towards the Z3 myself but itís really a personal decision.
One thing I can say is that you really donít sacrifice anything meaningful with the Compact.
In Canada, the Z3 Compact can be picked up for $149.99 CAN on contract or $549.99 off-contract on Bell. If you get it from the Sony Store, itís $599.99 CAN or $529.99 USD unlocked. Spoiler alert; the Z3 Compact is an awesome phone and itís a bit of a crime that itís not more widely available. Then again, since itís only $100 less than the full sized Z3, I think many people would rather just opt for that.
- 4.6Ē 1280x720 IPS display
- 2.5Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
- Adreno 330 graphics
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB storage
- 20.7/2.2MP cameras
- Water and dust resistant
- Android 4.4
- 2600mAh battery
- Stereo speakers
- LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 20)
- 127.3 x 64.9 x 8.64mm