Sony's Xperia X Compact offsets its unbelievably tiny screen with an enormous camera (hands-on)

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Sony's Xperia X Compact is a phone of contrasts.

It packs the same 23-megapixel camera as the higher-end Xperia XZ that Sony announced alongside it, but in an itty-bitty body. How tiny? The X Compact's 4.6-inch display looks positively peewee compared with the XZ's 5.2-inch screen. The pro: It's seriously palmable and easy to use one-handed. The con: Its small screen is harder to read. There's less room for your fingertip taps, too.

Another thing you should know: The phone's body is made of glossy plastic instead of the XZ's metal, though I didn't mind. It makes sense for the phone type, but it's important that the price be right. It doesn't have the waterproofing of some more top-tier Sony phones.

Still, the X Compact doesn't feel like a throwaway device. In addition to identical cameras, the two new Xperias have nearly the same battery capacity -- 2,700mAh versus 2,900mAh -- as well as the same USB-C charger port and same 3GB of RAM. That's pretty generous for a small phone that I expect to come in at a budget price -- but we don't have anything official yet. In some senses, Sony's generosity could wind up making the X Compact the better deal.

Sony starts selling the small handset in September (on September 25 in the US).

Sony Xperia XZ Sony Xperia X Compact
Software Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Display 5.2-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels 4.6-inch; 1,280x720 pixels
Construction Metal build Polycarbonate (plastic) build
Rear camera 23-megapixel 23-megapixel
Front-facing camera 13-megapixel 5-megapixel
Processor Snapdragon 820 Snapdragon 650
Storage 32GB/64GB 32GB of storage
Battery 2,900mAh 2,700mAh
Fingerprint reader Globally; not in US Globally; not in US
Waterproofing IP68 None

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Service Provider not specified
  • Technology WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM
  • Weight 135 g
  • Sensor Resolution 23 pixels
  • Compliant Standards HAC (Hearing Aid Compatible)
  • Diagonal Size 4.6 in