The world is succumbing to bigger displays. Even the long time naysayer, Apple, accepted defeat and introduced a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and a 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. Almost every single flagship Android smartphone announced in 2014 has boasted of bigger 5-inch+ displays. Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One (M8), LG G3, Moto X, Xiaomi Mi 4, OnePlus One and Sony Xperia Z3 come with big 5-inch+ form factors. To please people who prefer a smaller form factor, companies have started releasing the ‘mini’ versions of their flagship phones.
Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini, HTC One Mini 2, LG G3 Beat fall into the category of ‘mini’ flagship phones. Ideally, these phones should be the miniature version of their bigger brothers, with nearly same internals and externals. Sadly, that’s hardly the case. Consider any of the three phones mentioned above. None of them are close to what their bigger siblings offer in terms of raw power. Yes, they share the names and also share the design language (to an extent), and that’s it. All of them come with heavy compromises which don’t befit the ‘flagship’ status.
Enter Sony Xperia Z3 Compact. The ‘mini’ version of the latest flagship smartphone from Sony, carries a 4.6-inch display, which many feel is the sweet spot for a smartphone. Unlike the other ‘mini’ flagship phones mentioned above, Sony isn’t compromising heavily on the build and internals. The Z3 Compact carries the same Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.5GHz as found on the Xperia Z3 and has 2GB of RAM. It comes with 16GB of onboard storage with an microSD slot which can expand up to 128GB.
Like the Xperia Z3, the Z3 Compact is also IP65/68 water and dust resistant. This means you can go to shower or swim with your smartphone. Technically, this means you can use it up to 1.5m of fresh water for up to 30 minutes and it’s completely dust-tight, so there’s no way anything can become corrupted by the ingress of dust.
Sony hasn’t compromised on the camera as well. The Z3 Compact carries an impressive 20.7MP 1/2.3” ExmorRS sensor and Bionz mobile processing engine. It has an 8x digital zoom and can record video in 4K. It also has an ISO sensitivity of 12,800 (a world first for a smartphone), which means it should be able to perform well in very low lighting conditions.
If we need to nitpick, it should be about the display. As a full HD panel has its own challenges in a 4.6 inch screen, the HD display of Z3 Compact takes you by surprise with its brilliant output. However, its true that the Full HD Triluminous panel on the Xperia Z3 outperforms the HD IPS LCD display of Xperia Z3 Compact. But then, thanks to it, Sony is able to provide stupendous battery life on the Z3 Compact. Sony is promising 2 days battery life on this phone, and our initial tests show it’s not a far fetched claim at all.
Let’s take a look at the specs comparison. Yes, specs by themselves can’t judge which phone is the best, but can give you some insights as to what one can expect.
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini has a slightly better display and weighs the least, but that comes at a compromise of having a relatively cheap build quality. The processor isn’t known for its superior performance as such, and the battery too is on a lower side. Good thing is, it’s the only phone in the list (other than Xperia Z3 Compact) to be certified for water & dust resistance. HTC One Mini 2 fumbles in the processor category. It’s powered by an inferior Snapdragon 400 processor clocked at 1.2GHz (similar to the one found on Moto G). Also, has just 1GB of RAM. It does carry the superior looks of HTC One M8, but the battery is again on the lower side. The worst of the lot is the LG G3 Beat (or G3 S), which isn’t officially called as the mini version of LG G3, but widely considered to be one. It’s rather big (5-inches) for a ‘mini’ flagship, has the same Snapdragon 400 as HTC One Mini 2, just 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage.
It’s clear why we consider Xperia Z3 Compact to be the best ‘mini’ flagship. It’s a true flagship phone in every aspect (other than display, probably). Obviously, that means it costs premium as well, but that can’t be a major downside. Top notch performance, thanks to Snapdragon 801 with 2GB RAM, top of the line 20.7MP camera with 4K video recording, all the latest connectivity options and above all, pretty awesome battery performance – all of these make Sony Xperia Z3 a clear winner.