The Xperia XZ1 Compact packs a 4.6-inch IPS LCD. Its 720p resolution stretched across this screen results in a pixel density of 319ppi - perfectly sharp by our books.
Despite sounding seemingly low in resolution, this panel comes with a slew of Sony's proprietary screen tech, including TRILUMINOS, X-Reality, and Dynamic Contrast Enhancement. The only thing which is perhaps missing from the list is HDR support, which the Xperia XZ1 does have.
We did our screen measurements and found some minor differences between the displays on some of the units. The brightness of a few of our Compacts could go as high up as 600 nits, while on others - as high as 640 nits. The hike in the brightness also bleeds more light into the blacks, so that you don't gain anything in terms of contrast on the brighter screens. The difference could be well due to the fact that the screens come from different suppliers, but it's not a huge margin anyway.
Speaking of contrast, it's quite solid, but it's not that exciting.
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Sunlight legibility, on the other hand, is great - in fact we measured a contrast of 3.729 in our standardized test, which is among the best achievements by an LCD panel.
A host of Sony's proprietary display technologies make sure that the stuff on the screen looks good. Triluminous is Sony's trademark for what is commonly known as a Quantum dot display, a variation of LCD panels that deliver a wider color gamut. It generates colors in a different way than vanilla LCDs.
On the software side, Sony does offer three different color gamut and contrast options. You can choose between Standard mode with moderately vivid colors, Professional sRGB option for more accurate colors, or go all in with Super-vivid mode. You can get a side-by-side comparison to help you make your choice too.
You also get a White balance option in the menu, where you can adjust the colors via RGB sliders but you need to have a calibration tool as you likely won't be able to improve anything going by eye alone.
The default mode is Standard, and here the XZ1 Compact screen produced an average deltaE of 3.9, with a maximum deviation of 8.5 in the whites, which is not bad to beging with. Excluding the bluish whites, the rest of the hues are pretty accurate, but you may get the feel of washed out colors. The Super-Vivid mode could help if that's the case.
Oddly, opting for the sRGB mode didn't change that much regarding colors, in fact it made the red and yellow hues even less accurate, while everything else remained quite the same.
Finally, Sony additionally offers the X-reality for Mobile engine, which only works on videos and makes them perceivably sharper by improving clarity on the fly as the video plays back on the phone. This feature, however, you can toggle either On or Off.
The Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact is powered by the same 2,700 mAh that keeps the lights on in the Xperia XZ1. While the battery capacity was unexpectedly low for a flagship, the XZ1 and its Snapdragon 835 chip turned out quite well. There is also the matter of Oreo software optimizations, which seem to help the battery performance in standby.
The Xperia XZ1 Compact scored an excellent 108-hour Endurance rating in our set of proprietary tests. It bested all other Sony smartphones we have tested so far, and this is one of the best ratings in our all-time chart! The XZ1 Compact pushed great browser and video playback scores, and its small display surely helped there. The call test and standby endurance turned out equally great, too.
Our endurance rating estimates how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the Xperia XZ1 Compact for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We've established this usage pattern so our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.
The XZ1 Compact supports QuickCharge 3.0 but does not ship with a QC-compatible charger on all markets. Our unit came with a bog standard 5V/1.5A plug, which restored only 28% of the empty battery after a 30-min charging session.
Just like the previous Sony Xperia Zs, Qnovo adaptive charging and Battery Care are available in addition to Quick Charge 3.0.
The Qnovo Adaptive Charging tech built inside recent Sony Xperia phones allows the smartphone to monitor the cell's electrochemical processes in real time and adjust charging parameters dynamically to minimize cell damage and extend the battery unit's lifespan.
Qnovo claims that the battery should last hundreds of charge cycles more than a conventionally charged battery. This potentially means a year or so of extra longevity, as the battery performance deteriorates more slowly and should be able to hold more charge when it gets older.
Then there is Battery Care. Say you charge your phone overnight, and you regularly plug it in at midnight and unplug it at 8 in the morning. In time, the phone will recognize the pattern, charge the battery to 90% and then stop charging. And then at, say, 7:30 in the morning, it will pick up where it left off and top it all up to 100% at a slower pace, so the battery doesn't stay at full charge for prolonged time periods. This should further extend the battery's lifespan.
On the software side of things, you get a pair of battery saving modes. One is the regular STAMINA mode, which caps performance and disables a few non-vital background tasks. Then there is Ultra STAMINA mode for when you are far away from a wall socket. It disables Wi-Fi and data entirely and pretty much leaves you with the bare essentials of your phone.
The Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact is pretty decked-out in the connectivity department. Some variants come with two Nano-SIM slots, for extra flexibility. Sadly, Sony's solution, in this case, is a hybrid one, so it's either the microSD card or the second line.
Cat.16 LTE is capable of download speeds of up to 1Gbit/s, provided your carrier can step up to the challenge. Wi-Fi also has most goodies on board - dual-band, a/c. The same goes for the fast USB 3.1, Type-C data interface and the shiny new Bluetooth 5.0 radio, with support for aptX HD and LE.
Of course, there is satellite positioning as well, which should work great everywhere in the world, thanks to A-GPS, GLONASS and BDS support.
The phone doesn't come with an FM radio.