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Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5C

By Kevin Thomas on 10th January 2014

We compare Sony's Xperia Z1 with Apple's iPhone 5S

Very few phones combine high end specs with a small form factor. In fact it’s a combination which seemingly only Apple has really been interested in, while every other company prefers to put a big screen on their flagship phones.

But Apple might finally have some competition in that area, as Sony recently unveiled the Xperia Z1 Compact, a handset which has the raw power of the Xperia Z1 but a much smaller screen. Read on to find out how it stacks up to Apple’s iPhone 5C.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5C – Build quality

The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact doesn’t skimp on build quality. It has an attractive aluminium frame giving it a premium look and it’s both waterproof and dust resistant, making it more durable than most smartphones too.

The Apple iPhone 5C doesn’t make quite as good a first impression. It has a plastic, colourful body, marking it out as a cheaper handset, particularly in comparison to the luscious iPhone 5S. The bright colours allow it to stand out a little and it feels well made, but it can’t touch the quality of the Xperia Z1 Compact.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5C - Display

Apple iPhone 5C Colour Range
The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact has a 4.3 inch 1280 x 720 display with 342 pixels per inch. It includes Bravia and Triluminos technology and delivers rich, bright colours.

The Apple iPhone 5C has a slightly smaller 4 inch 640 x 1136 display with 326 pixels per inch. Beyond the slight size difference and the fact that the iPhone 5C has more of a widescreen design there’s little to choose between the two. Both deliver exceptional visuals.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5C - Power

The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact has a 2.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM, which makes it just as powerful as the Xperia Z1 and right up there with the most powerful handsets on the planet.

The Apple iPhone 5C has a 1.3 GHz dual-core Apple A6 processor and 1GB of RAM, which on paper is substantially worse, but those are actually the same specs as the iPhone 5, which is still a very powerful phone. Even so, the Xperia Z1 Compact clearly has the edge when it comes to raw power.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5C - Camera

The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact takes photography seriously, thanks to a 20.7 megapixel rear camera. But it’s not all about megapixels, as Sony has used many of the same components as it uses in its compact cameras, including an Exmor RS sensor designed to let more light in while reducing noise and a 27mm wide angle G lens designed to capture sharp, in-focus images. The upshot is that it’s a thoroughly impressive camera by smartphone standards.

Add to that 1080p video recording capabilities and a 2 megapixel front facing camera and the Xperia Z1 Compact is a camera phone to be proud of.

The Apple iPhone 5C feels comparatively lacking in the photographic stakes, with just an 8 megapixel main camera and a 1.2 megapixel front facing camera. It does a solid enough job and like the Xperia Z1 Compact it can also shoot 1080p video, but if you plan to use your smartphone as your main camera then the Xperia Z1 Compact is the one to go for.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5C – Battery life, memory and connectivity

The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact has a 2300 mAh battery and promises up to 18 hours talk time, 670 hours standby time or up to 94 hours of music listening. The Apple iPhone 5C has a smaller 1510 mAh battery which peters out after 10 hours of talk time, 250 hours of standby time or 40 hours of music playback, so the Xperia Z1 Compact is the obvious winner for battery life.

The Xperia Z1 Compact has 16GB of onboard memory, plus there’s a micro SD card slot allowing you to expand that by up to another 64GB, while the iPhone 5C has a choice of either 16 or 32GB of built in memory but isn’t expandable.  So it comes down to whether you’d rather have more memory built in or more potential storage as to which is best.

The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact supports 3G, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC, while the iPhone 5C has the same set of connectivity options with the exception of NFC, which it lacks.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5C - Conclusion


Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Colour Range
While the Apple iPhone 5C is a great little handset, the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is clearly superior in a number of ways. It has a better build quality, as it both looks classier and is more durable, it’s more powerful, has a much better camera, better battery life and comes with NFC support.

The Apple iPhone 5C has a screen that’s more or less as good and has the option to come with more built in storage but that’s about all it has going for it over the Xperia Z1 Compact.

The operating system is another big difference, as while the iPhone 5C uses iOS 7, the Xperia Z1 Compact ships with Android 4.3. So if you’re specifically after an iOS device then the various merits of the Xperia Z1 Compact will mean little and the Apple iPhone 5C still puts in a strong enough performance in most areas that it’s unlikely many people would regret buying it.

But if you’re OS-agnostic or prefer Android then the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is the clear choice and beyond that it’s also pretty much the only choice if you want a top end Android phone with a screen size below 4.7 inches. Especially when you factor in that both smartphones retail SIM-free for around £450.


Sony's Xperia Z1 Compact is now available to pre-order on Phones4U (click here).


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