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Sony Xperia X Compact review:

A tiny phone with a camera that will blow you away

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The Good The Sony Xperia X Compact is a small, 4.6-inch phone with a beautiful display, an excellent camera and good battery life.

The Bad Only the Japanese model is waterproof, and the fingerprint sensor is disabled in the US. There's a bit of lag when editing pictures or taking low-light photos.

The Bottom Line Sony's Xperia X Compact is a small phone with an excellent camera, but it lacks some creature comforts, like waterproofing and, in the US, a fingerprint sensor.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.5 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 7.0
  • Camera 8.5
  • Battery 7.0

For some people, the Sony Xperia X Compact will fit like a glove.

Josh Miller/CNET

The Sony Xperia X Compact is a rarity -- a small phone with a big, terrific camera. That's 23 megapixels' worth of snapping power in a body small enough to fit into almost any pocket. And to me, the pint-size X Compact seems a pretty good fit.

Coming in at $449 and £379, the X Compact is large on charm. (No mention has been made of the X Compact coming to Australia, but hope springs eternal. In the meantime, its US price works out to AU$587, converted.) But the odd exclusion of conveniences found on the X Compact in other countries is a real head-scratcher. For example, buyers in Sony's home country of Japan get waterproofing and a fingerprint sensor, but UK residents don't get the H2O resistance, and US users get neither.

If you're an Android fan looking for a small-screen phone, your choices are few. You'd do right with the Xperia X Compact, so long as you can accept the omissions.

If iPhones are just as good for you, the SE sticks to the same pricing scale -- though it has a much smaller display. You can also upgrade to the similarly sized iPhone 7 ($849.00 at Apple) or cheaper 6S -- but you'll definitely pay more.

Design and basics

No joke -- the first thing you notice about the Sony Xperia X Compact is that it's small. Or at least, it looks small. The screen is 4.6 inches, a filament smaller than the iPhone 7 (4.7 inches). But its chunky body and thick bezel mean there's actually more phone in your hand than you'd guess. Still, the X Compact is wonderful to use one-handed.

You will either love or hate its blocky, flat looks -- no camera bump here. In a market dominated by superthin phones made of glass and aluminum, the Compact X's thick plastic demeanor is refreshingly unique, especially in Mist Blue.

The 720-pixel display is bright and sharp, and it handles direct sunlight like a pro. Battery life was a solid 11 hours, 28 minutes in our video loop tests. Some of that longevity comes from it the fact that it runs Android 6.0.1.

The X Compact handled daily-tasks without a problem -- posting social media, messaging and watching the occasional "Carpool Karaoke" video. Gaming (FIFA Mobile, Clash Royale) on the X Compact was a breeze, but made me yearn for a bigger screen.

If you own a PS4, Sony's preloaded PlayStation app connects you to the console as a remote or even a second screen.

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