Lenovo Moto X4 vs. Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact: Is more expensive actually better?

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Sony has officially taken the wraps off a few of its upcoming phones — and they boast some pretty nice specs given their price point. The Sony Xperia XZ1 is the company’s newest flagship, but it also has smaller sibling called the Xperia XZ1 Compact.

The Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact has great specs at a slightly lower price point than the standard Xperia XZ1, but they’re packed into a smaller body. It does face some serious competition, though. For example, Lenovo recently revived the Moto X line, which could pose a serious threat to devices like the Xperia XZ1 Compact. So how do the two phones compare? Here, we pitted them against one another to find out.

Specs

Lenovo Moto X4

Moto X4 thumb

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact

lenovo moto x4 vs sony xperia xz1 compact

Size 148.4 x 73.4 x 8 mm (5.84 x 2.89 x 0.31 inches) 129 x 64 x 9.3 mm (5.08 x 2.52 x 0.37 inches)
Weight 5.75 ounces (163 grams) 4.94 ounces (140 grams)
Screen 5.2-inch IPS LCD 4.6-inch IPS LCD
Resolution 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (424ppi) 1,080 x 720 pixels (319ppi)
OS Android 7.1 Android 8.0 Oreo
Storage 32GB (64GB in some markets) 32GB
SD Card Slot Yes, up to 2TB Yes
NFC support Yes Yes
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
RAM 3GB (4GB in some markets) 4GB
Connectivity GSM / HSPA / LTE GSM / HSPA / LTE
Camera Front 16MP, rear 12MP and 8MP Front 8MP rear 19MP
Video 4K 4K at 30fps, 1,080p at 60fps, 720p at 960fps
Bluetooth Yes, version 5.0 Yes, version 5.0
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Other sensors Gyroscope, accelerometer, ambient light, proximity sensor Accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity, barometer, compass
Water Resistant Yes, IP68 Yes, IP68
Battery 3,000mAh 2,700mAh
Charger USB Type-C USB Type-C
Quick Charging Yes Yes
Wireless Charging No No
Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Color offerings Black, blue Black, Snow Silver, Horizon Blue, Twilight Pink
Availability TBA October 4
Pricing $475 (estimated) $600
DT Review Hands-on review Coming soon

There’s a clear winner here when it comes to performance, and that’s the new Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact. While the Moto X4 isn’t a bad device with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor and 3GB of RAM, the Xperia XZ1 Compact takes things to the next level with Qualcomm’s flagship processor, the Snapdragon 835, and 4GB of RAM.

There’s no competition here. The Xperia XZ1 Compact is going to perform far better in every way, so if performance is important to you, then it’s the phone for you.

When it comes to storage, both phones offer similar configuration. The Moto X4 offers 32GB of storage, though in some international markets, there are 64GB options. The Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact only comes with 32GB, but both phones come equipped with MicroSD card slots, so you’ll be able to expand upon that storage if you so choose.

Winner: Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact

Display, design, and durability

moto x4 hands on review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

While the Xperia XZ1 Compact is the clear winner in the specs department, when it comes to the display, things are a little different. Both phones offer LCD displays, but while the Xperia XZ1 Compact offers a 1,080 x 720-pixel display, the Moto X4 boasts 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution.

The design of the phones is a little more subjective, but we can still talk about the overall look. The Moto X4 features a typical Motorola design, one that boasts a large, dual-camera module toward the top of the phone’s rear. Unlike the Moto Z, this phone is not compatible with Moto Mods — but it still has a design reminiscent of the phones that are. The Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact features a typical Sony design, and offers a rectangular look. The phone doesn’t have a dual-camera sensor on the back, but for some, that won’t matter.

So what about durability? The Moto X4 features a glass front and back, meaning it’s likely more prone to damage, but cases for both are probably advisable. Both phones also offer an IP68 rating, meaning they can withstand up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. Sure, you probably won’t want to take them swimming, but they should do fine if you accidentally drop them in the bath or get caught in the rain.

Because of the sharper display, the Moto X4 is the winner here.

Winner: Lenovo Moto X4

Battery life and charging

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Lenovo Moto X4 offers a battery capacity of 3,000mAh, which isn’t bad, and puts it slightly ahead of the Xperia XZ1 Compact, which has a 2,700mAh battery. Of course, a larger battery doesn’t necessarily translate into longer battery life. In fact, the phones are probably similar in battery life given the Moto X4 has a more power-intensive display. Both phones also offer Quick Charge 3.0, so they should charge at roughly the same speed, though, neither offers wireless charging.

Because of the larger battery, the Moto X4 wins here. Once we get our hands on the Xperia XZ1 Compact, however, that may change.

Winner: Lenovo Moto X4

Camera

moto x4 hands on review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The cameras on the back of these two phones both seem to have a lot to offer, but they’re pretty different. For starters, the Lenovo Moto X4 boasts a dual-sensor camera with one 12-megapixel sensor and another 8-megapixel, wide-angle sensor. That combination is great for those that like to get cool effects, like the bokeh effect, though in our review it was noted that the phone does sometimes take some time to process images. The front-facing camera on the phone sits in at a hefty 16-megapixels.

The Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact, on the other hand, has a single-lens, 19-megapixel camera. It stands out for its video-recording capabilities — the device can record up to 960 frames per second, which is pretty intense. The front-facing camera on this phone is 8-megapixels.

Both of the cameras on these phones have a lot to offer, but in different ways. Because of this, we’re declaring this one a tie.

Winner: Tie

Software

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Both of the phones run Android, but they offer different variants of it. Motorola phones typically offer pretty close to stock Android, while Sony phones offer a tweaked design. There are a few things about the interface that are visibly different — like the app drawer and keyboard — but in general, the interface isn’t as different as the likes of Samsung.

Of course, there is a difference in software here — the Xperia XZ1 Compact ships with Android Oreo, while the Moto X4 ships with with Android Nougat. Still, the Moto X4 is getting an update to Android Oreo, so users of the phone won’t miss out.

Perhaps more important than small interface tweaks is how quickly you’ll get updates. Generally speaking, Lenovo’s Moto phones receive updates a bit quicker than Sony phones. Because of that, we’ve awarded this one to Lenovo.

Winner: Lenovo Moto X4

Price and availability

Neither of these two phones are available in the United States just yet. Lenovo hasn’t shared when we can expect the Moto X4 to land in the states yet, however, the Xperia XZ1 Compact will be available starting October 4.

What about pricing? Well, there’s a clear winner here. While the Xperia XZ1 Compact comes in at a hefty $600, the Lenovo Moto X4 comes in at only around $475, based on prices given in other countries. That’s a pretty serious price difference, which might make the Moto X4 a far better choice for those on a tight budget.

Winner: Lenovo Moto X4

Overall winner: Lenovo Moto X4

In a somewhat surprising victory, the Lenovo Moto X4 has come out on top — but there are some caveats. If you’re looking for a more powerful phone, then the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact is the better choice. If, however, you’re looking for a better all-around device — one outfitted with a better display, better battery, and quicker software updates — the Moto X4 is a slightly better choice. Plus, it’s $100 cheaper than the Xperia XZ1 Compact.

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