Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact vs XZ1 Compact

Sony has announced its latest pocket powerhouse in the form of the Xperia XZ2 Compact. It comes with the usual high-end specs and smaller body for which the Compact series is known, and we see how it compares to its predecessor, the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact.

Read our For more diminutive desirables check out our best small phones 2018 guide.

Price and Availability

The Xperia XZ2 Compact is available to buy for £529. It costs $649 in the US.

When the Xperia XZ1 Compact was first released it sold for £499/US$599, so this is a price bump of £30.

The Xperia XZ1 Compact is currently available direct from Sony for £449 in the UK.

Design and Build

With the XZ2 Compact, and its larger Xperia XZ2 brother, Sony has finally ditched the brutalist design aesthetics that went before. While the industrial lines did give models like the XZ1 Compact a distinctive visage, it was about time that the Japanese giant embraced the large screen-to-body ratios expected of modern smartphones.

sony xz2 compact vs xz1 compact

Unfortunately, it hasn't done that, and the XZ2 range still has chunky top and bottom bezels.

The XZ2 Compact is a more ergonomic handset, albeit one that’s actually larger and heavier than the XZ1 Compact. Like its predecessor, the new model features an aluminium frame with a polycarbonate (plastic) back, although this time the edges are curved to make it sit in the hand that bit more comfortably.

With this sleeker shape Sony has also moved the fingerprint sensor away from the side, as on the XZ1 Compact, and placed it on the rear. While this is perfectly fine, we actually liked the combination of power button and fingerprint sensor on the flank as it felt natural to use. The rear is again more common now though, so it does seem a reasonable decision.

sony xperia XZ2 compact vs XZ1 compact

One that certainly isn’t is the removal of the headphone jack. Ok, we get it. Wireless is the future. But, with most decent Bluetooth headsets costing at least over £100 if not £200, this continued trend from manufacturers (with the notable exception of Samsung and LG) still feels needlessly anti-consumer.

There is a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box, but omitting the jack is not a plus for the XZ2 Compact. Thankfully, the XZ1 Compact does still have the facility for traditional headphones.

Both devices come with USB-C charging ports, IP65/68 dust and waterproof ratings, and stereo speakers.

Model  Dimensions Weight
Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact 129 x 65 x 9.3 mm 143g
Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact 135 x 65x 12.1mm 168g

Display

A 5in display dominates the front of the XZ2 Compact, using the increasingly popular 18:9 aspect ratio. For the first time in the range’s history, the XZ2 Compact also comes with a full HD+ display, as opposed to the 720p variant used by the XZ1 Compact and its small-form-factor antecedences.

sony xz2 compact vs xz1 compact

Sony has also included HDR support for its new release, making colours and lighting look impressive on the XZ2 Compact.

This leaves the 4.6in, 16:9 panel in the XZ1 Compact looking a bit dated in comparison. It should be noted though, that one of the main reasons for that model’s consistently excellent performance has often been attributed to it not having to drive too many pixels. In truth, on a 4.6in display, 720p is perfectly acceptable even in today’s Ulta-HD-obsessed world.

Sony Xperia XZ2 compact vs XZ1 compact

Specs and Features

The Sony Compact phones are unusual in that they don’t minimise specs when they slim down the chassis, unlike most other manufacturers. This means that you don’t have to compromise on power if you prefer a smaller handset. 

The XZ2 Compact continues this praiseworthy trend by arriving replete with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of internal storage.

While no slouch itself, the XZ1 Compact trails a little behind with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 4GB or RAM, and 32GB of storage. Make no mistake, this is a very good spec for a ‘mini’ unit, but the flagship configuration on the XZ2 Compact does make it stand out.

Both support microSD cards, so the capacity of the XZ1 Compact can be boosted by up to 256GB, while the XZ2 Compact can handle cards up to a gargantuan 400GB.

There’s also a wide range of additional connectivity and audio features, including High-Res Audio support, LDAC, aptX Bluetooth, NFC, 11ac dual-band Wi-Fi, and GPS. Neither unit has wireless charging capabilities but do include Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology. 

Battery life has always been impressive on the Compact range, aided no doubt by the way Sony manages to include larger cells in the small frames. The XZ1 Compact has a 2700mAh unit, while the XZ2 Compact increases that to 2870mAh. How the bigger display and HDR will affect the latter will be something we look at carefully when we write our full review.

Cameras

With a brand like Sony you always expect good things in terms of optics. The XZ1 Compact has a solid, if not amazing, camera that comes equipped with a 19Mp sensor and f/2.0 lens. It can shoot slow-motion video at 960fps and has a few helpful modes to make capturing moments a bit easier.

A dedicated hardware camera button on the side of the device is a simple but utterly brilliant feature, and one we think more manufacturers should adopt.

sony xperia XZ2 compact vs XZ1 compact

With the XZ2 Compact Sony has stepped things up a bit. It’s still a 19Mp unit, but for the first time on a phone (well, alongside the Sony Xperia XZ2) you can shoot 4K in HDR. This is a big deal and will put through its paces when we spend more time with our review unit. If it delivers on the promise, then it could be a real selling point for the XZ2 Compact.

Oddly the older model features an 8Mp front facing camera, while the newer release only sports a 5Mp unit. Still, either will be perfectly adequate for any selfie shenanigans.

Here's a detailed breakdown of the specifications for both devices.

  Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact
Operating System Android 8.0 Oreo Android 8.0 Oreo
Display 4.6in, 720p, 16:9 5in full HD+ (1080x2160), 18:9, HDR
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
RAM 4GB 4GB
Storage 32GB 64GB
Additional Storage Up to 256GB microSD Up to 400GB microSD
Rear Camera 19Mp, 960fps Super Slow Motion 19Mp, 4K HDR video capture
Front Camera 8Mp 5Mp
Wi-Fi 11ac Dual-band 11ac Dual-band
Bluetooth 5 with aptX 5 with aptX
NFC Yes Yes
GPS Yes Yes
Data LTE (4G) Cat 15 LTE (4G) Cat 15
SIM-Type Nano Nano
Ports USB-C, 3.5mm Headphone jack USB-C
Water Resistance IP 65/68 IP 65/68
Dimensions 129 x 65 x 9.3 mm 135 x 65x 12.1mm
Weight 143g 168g

Software

Android 8.0 Oreo is the operating system of choice on both phones, with the light-touch of a Sony interface adding a few options here and there. Sure, it’s not the pure Android experience you’ll find on the Google Pixel 2 or Nokia 8 Sirocco, but it’s close enough to keep most people happy.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact: Specs

  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 5.0in Full HD HDR 18:9 touchscreen
  • Qualcom Snapdragon 845 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB storage
  • microSD card slot (up to 400GB)
  • Rear camera: 19MP, video up to 4K HDR
  • Front camera: 5MP
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • NFC
  • 4G LTE
  • Single nano-SIM
  • USB-C (USB 3.1)
  • 2870mAh non-removable battery
  • 65x135x12.1mm
  • 168g
  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 5.0in Full HD HDR 18:9 touchscreen
  • Qualcom Snapdragon 845 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB storage
  • microSD card slot (up to 400GB)
  • Rear camera: 19MP, video up to 4K HDR
  • Front camera: 5MP
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • NFC
  • 4G LTE
  • Single nano-SIM
  • USB-C (USB 3.1)
  • 2870mAh non-removable battery
  • 65x135x12.1mm
  • 168g

SHOULD I BUY SONY XPERIA XZ2 COMPACT?

There’s no doubt that the XZ2 Compact is superior in a number of ways over its predecessor. There’s the bigger and better display, increased internal storage, and the 4K HDR camera.

That being said, we have a soft spot for the XZ1 Compact. It’s smaller, lighter, and pretty much encapsulates the term 'Pocket Rocket'. Retaining the headphone jack and cool side-button fingerprint sensor are big plus points, and thanks to both units supporting microSD there’s no need to worry about storage.

Yes, it’s a little dated looking now, but if you can pick it up at a discount, it’s a fantastic little device. Either way you go, you shouldn’t be disappointed.

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