With CES 2014 almost complete Sony has once again stolen the show with announcements of not one but two new flagship phones. The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is a smaller, 4.3 inch, version of the Xperia Z1 that doesn’t compromise on any technical specifications. The new Sony Xperia Z1s adds important upgrades to the display, camera and waterproofing on the Xperia Z1.
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
Looking for a smaller Android phone with top of the line specs? Until now you’ll have been disappointed. Most manufacturers cut down on specs when they cut down on screen size, positioning their ‘mini’ range as a mid-range alternative to their flagship high end phones. Sony have decided to do something different with their Sony Xperia Z1 Compact. Almost all the specs, apart from the obvious — display and battery — match exactly between the Compact and normal sized versions.
Let’s start with a component that has changed though — the display. The phone comes with a 4.3 inch screen, which is significantly smaller than the 5 inch screen found on the main Sony Xperia Z1 but still slightly larger than the iPhone 5s. The resolution isn’t quite as good – 720p HD rather than 1080p – but on a smaller screen this effectively means the display looks the same quality and the pixels per inch are still well into the ‘Retina’ category.
There’s 16 GB of internal storage available, plus a microSD card slot allowing you to add an additional 64 GB. The RAM is a decent 2 GB, and the processor is a top of the line Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.2 GHz chipset. The camera is also top of the line with Carl Zeiss optics and a 20.7 megapixel shooter. The phone works on 4G LTE and also has all the usual connectivity such as NFC and Bluetooth. The phone is also waterproof and dust proof, meaning you can use it for underwater photography in fresh water.
Sony Xperia Z1s
The Xperia Z1s is effectively a slightly upgraded Xperia Z1s with the main differences coming from technology improvements in the display, camera and other features rather than in the more easily comparable technical specifications. These new and improved features however cement Sony’s position of having created the best currently available phone.
The tech specs of the phone remain pretty much the same, but are nevertheless top of the line. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.2 GHz processor and also comes with 32 GB of internal storage, expandable with an additional 64 GB using MicroSD. The battery is a very decent 3000 mAh.
The waterproofing has been improved from IP57 to IP58 meaning you can now use the phone for half an hour at depths of up to 4.5 feet. Additionally the headphone socket is now exposed, so you don’t need to remove a cap whenever you want to listen to music and put it back in when you want to take your phone for a swim. And an external camera button has been reintroduced, making it easier to snap underwater photos.
The display still offers 1080p Full HD dimensions, but now comes with a technology only previous seen in Sony’s Bravia TV range. The new “Triluminos” technology gives a fuller colour gamut and increased colour gradients, but without using an artificial saturation. The screen on this device is arguably the best available and makes us seriously jealous of Americans who will be able to get hold of this phone in just over a week. Sadly there’s no news yet on UK launch and availability.