Sony was late to the mini party with the Xperia Z1 Compact, but it was worth the wait, because while rivals were delivering distinctly mid-range handsets the Xperia Z1 Compact was a high end device in a small scale body.
As such it’s been able to stand above the competition, but now the HTC One Mini 2 has arrived. It’s a shrunk down version of one of the best phones of the year, but is it a match for the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact?
Both the HTC One Mini 2 and the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact are well built and designed handsets. The HTC One Mini 2 has a brushed aluminium back which curves comfortably into the contours of your hand. It looks great, but it’s let down a little by a plastic band running along the edge of the phone.
At 137.43 x 65.04 x 10.6mm and 137g it’s not exactly tiny and in particular it’s far from slim, but despite the chunky build it still looks like a high end phone.
The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact has a metal edge and a glass front, but the rear of the smartphone is plastic and it almost, but not quite, matches the high quality as the HTC One Mini 2 and while the Mini 2 has a rounded back and curved edges the Xperia Z1 Compact is more of a standard rectangle, so it’s not quite as comfortable to hold.
It is slightly slimmer though at 127 x 64.9 x 9.5mm and it weighs exactly the same- 137g. One of the biggest things the Xperia Z1 Compact has going for it is that it’s IP58 certified dust and water resistant, so it doesn’t look quite as good as the HTC One Mini 2 but it’s more durable.
The HTC One Mini 2 has a 4.5 inch 720 x 1280 display with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch, while the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact has a 4.3 inch 720 x 1280 screen with a pixel density of 342 pixels per inch. So the Xperia Z1 Compact’s screen is slightly smaller but has a slightly higher pixel density.
That small difference aside they’re both great screens, with crisp images and quite natural colours, so there’s little to choose between them.
The HTC One Mini 2 and Sony Xperia Z1 Compact really show their differences when it comes to power, as while the One Mini 2 has a 1.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor and 1GB of RAM the Xperia Z1 Compact has a 2.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM, so it’s substantially more powerful.
In our limited time with the HTC One Mini 2 it still seemed like a fairly snappy little performer but there’s no denying that the extra horsepower of the Xperia Z1 Compact could come in handy. It’s a difference which also marks the Xperia Z1 Compact out as a high end device while the HTC One Mini 2 is destined to be seen as a mid-range handset.
The HTC One Mini 2 has a 13 megapixel camera on the back and a 5 megapixel one on the front. That’s a solid combination for a mid-range phone. The main camera takes good if not great photos and the front camera is a dream come true for selfie fans. It can also shoot 1080p video.
However while it’s a pretty good offering the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact has it beat, at least in terms of the main camera. It has a 20.7 megapixel sensor which can take some fantastic photos. Like the Mini 2 it can also shoot 1080p video, however the front facing camera isn’t up to the same standards as it’s only a 2 megapixel one.
The HTC One Mini 2 has a 2100 mAh battery which HTC claims can last for up to 16.2 hours on calls or up to 556 hours on standby. The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact has a 2300 mAh battery which is quoted for up to 18 hours of talk time and up to 600 hours of standby time. So on paper it should be better. In practice we haven’t been able to conclusively test the One Mini 2’s battery yet, but the Xperia Z1 Compact certainly has solid battery life and the original HTC One Mini wasn’t all that impressive from that perspective, so we suspect the Z1 Compact wins for battery life.
The HTC One Mini 2 and Xperia Z1 Compact both come with 16GB of built in storage and both have a microSD card slot, but there’s a small difference in that the One Mini 2 supports cards of up to 128GB, while the Xperia Z1 Compact only supports cards of up to 64GB.
Both phones support Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G LTE, NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 so there’s no difference there.
Aside from the iPhone 5S, the HTC One Mini 2 and the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact are probably the best two ‘small’ handsets on the market. But one is better than the other and it’s the Xperia Z1 Compact that comes out on top.
It’s not quite as stylish as the HTC One Mini 2 and its front facing camera isn’t as good, but its main camera is a lot better, it’s far more powerful, more durable, has an equally good screen and while it doesn’t look as good and the plastic rear cover lets it down a little it still looks decidedly premium.
Despite all that it costs roughly the same, coming in at £370, while the HTC One Mini 2 is priced at around £360 SIM free. They’re both great handsets and either one would be an ideal fit for anyone who wants a good phone with a small screen, but the Xperia Z1 Compact stands head and shoulders above its HTC competitor.
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