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Sony Xperia Z3 Compact: The best mini Android phone gets a makeover (pictures)

The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is the latest mini phone from Sony that, unlike most compact flagships, actually packs the same top-end tech as its big brother.

Andrew Lanxon
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
Andrew Lanxon
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This is the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact. Like its predecessor, the Z1 Compact, the Z3 is a smaller version of its flagship sibling. Unlike mini phones from other manufacturers (I'm looking at you, Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini), the Z3 compact keeps the same top-end specs as the flagship but packs it into a smaller, more hand-friendly body.

The Z3 Compact is due to hit stores from October, although Sony is yet to elaborate on exactly where it will go on sale or how much it will cost.

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The phone keeps many of the flagship Z3's design cues. It has a glass front and back and the same minimalist Sony Xperia branding.

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A big change this time however is the plastic, rather than metal band around the edge. I'm not keen on this change as it immediately makes the phone look and feel a little less premium than the glass and metal flagship.

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It's still waterproof at least -- down to 1.5 metres (4.9 feet) for up to 30 minutes -- hence these flaps that keep the water out of the ports.

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There's a 20.7-megapixel camera on the back. Sony says it's been given a wider-angle 25mm lens and the sensor has been tweaked to make it much better in low-light situations -- something I'll be putting to the test in the full review.

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In other news, it'll come in a variety of new colours.

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This bright turquoise hue is pretty snazzy.

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Or make a bold statement with this dark orange version. A statement such as "look at my dark orange phone."

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The plastic edging gets the colour treatment too.

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It runs on the latest Android 4.4.4 KitKat software.

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Sony has slapped on the same user interface skin you'll find on most of the recent Xperia phones.

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A neat new feature is the ability to use the phone as a wireless display for your PS4 console.

The console itself will still do all the actual processing of the games, but it's able to stream that content to your phone, rather than your TV as long as you're on the same Wi-Fi network. Hook up a PS4 controller over Bluetooth and you can actually play glossy PS4 games on your phone's screen.

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The phone has a 4.6-inch display, which is larger than the 4.3 inches of the Xperia Z1 Compact.

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Thanks to a slimmer bezel, the body of the phone hasn't been made any bigger to accommodate the larger display.

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It's very comfortable to hold in one hand and it's not difficult to stretch your thumb across to use it.

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The Z3 Compact is one of three new devices in Sony's Z3 range, alongside the 5.2-inch flagship Z3 phone and the 8-inch Z3 Tablet Compact.

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