Hands on: Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

The Xperia Z1S Compact is one of the only phones to pack cutting-edge specs in a size a former iPhone owner could handle. Let’s hope a carrier is smart enough to release it in the United States.

The best Android phones come in three sizes: Large, Extra Large, and XXL. They’re just massive, with screens starting at 4.7 inches and going all the way up to the 6.3-inch Galaxy Mega and the 7-inch Asus FonePad, which is literally a tablet with a phone in it.

The Xperia Z1 Compact has all the features of a Z1; it’s just smaller.

If you don’t have Andre the Giant hands, there are few high-end options in the Android world. You could buy a Moto X, but if you’re looking for anything closer to the size of an iPhone, you have to sacrifice a speedy Snapdragon 800 processor and other features. Medium-sized Android phones have been put in the budget category – but not by Sony.

The Xperia Z1 Compact is just as nice as the Z1S and has all its features – it’s just smaller. It’s the size that a former iPhone owner would love – a little wider than the iPhone and more comfy, but not a total screen monster. It is slightly thicker than the Z1S, but not by much.

The Z1 Compact has the same 20.7-megapixel camera, Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, waterproof case, and MicroSD card slot as the Z1. The only difference is its screen resolution, which is 720p instead of 1080p. This is because no one has really figured out how to cram 1920 x 1080 pixels into a 4.3-inch screen. Don’t worry, pixel lovers; I’m sure they will figure it out eventually. In the mean time, it’s almost impossible to detect the difference between HD and Full HD on a screen this small.

We didn’t get a ton of time with the Z1 compact, but all of our experiences were positive. It doesn’t yet have U.S. distribution, but we really hope one of the carriers (T-Mobile?) wakes up and releases it. In a sea of giant-ass phones, it’s refreshing that one of the best phones at CES is also one of the only ones you can use with one hand.

Highs

  • Powerful processor
  • Fantastic 20.7MP camera
  • Able to be used with one hand
  • Waterproof design
  • MicroSD card support

Lows

  • No U.S. distribution
  • Seriously, that’s it
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