Sony Xperia Z1 Compact – one of the most annoying phones I’ve ever had. First of all the camera performs very poorly - 20,7 mpx doesn’t mean that it takes good pictures. They’re just big and that’s it. And it doesn’t really give you much. In the daylight they’re comparable to photos from other phones but when there’s a little less light, everything is always blurred. And I mean always. Only putting it on a tripod would help but still not enough for it to take sharp pictures when there’s little light. Then there is the flash which is useless – again I mean it. You cannot use it as pictures are becoming blue. So forget about pictures after dark. This issue has been reported to Sony ever since the phone appeared on the market and thousands of people bought it and started complaining. No reaction from the manufacturer, no adequate software update to address this issue. Check other comments on this phone and you’ll see that every Z1 Compact fails here. Video recording is ok though. The quality is decent but it often cannot focus properly and struggles for several seconds. Also, the view is very narrow (doesn’t apply to photos – it’s much better there) which has just ruined my yesterday’s video when I tried to record something from the top with a stretched arm – this has led me to finally writing this review after a year of using the phone to warn the potential buyers about what lemon Sony has introduced to the market.
Another thing it the additional camera button (which not always works properly by the way) which if you hold opens automatically a camera app. Nice thing to have but it sets the camera only to 8 mpx mode/720p video. No way to switch so that you can take a full res picture or a video. I’ve search for that with no success. If you want to use 20,7 mpx and full HD, you need to unlock the screen and choose the camera app or after holding the button and starting the 8 mpx/720p mode you need to go to camera settings and switch to 20,7/full HD. Putting it simply – there’s no way of quickly taking a full resolution photo/video. Great!
Generally the phone doesn’t freeze at all. After having it for a full year, it has never frozen during all kind of actions. Never – and that’s a nice thing. Some apps happened to die several times but I think it’s no the phone’s fault but some issue with the apps themselves. The phone runs on 4.4 Android KitKat software which is the latest available so far.
And here I have to get back to the camera app which sometimes (5% of the time you run it) says that the camera is unavailable. Of course it usually happens when you want to take a picture quickly. No, you have to restart the phone and hope for the camera app to work this time.
This software has made the quick settings menu to split to two parts (tabs). If you open it (drag from the top) it only shows you notifications which I always read when they appear. I don’t store them so I’m not interested in seeing that 150 times a day. To get to the quick settings you need to click once more in the second tab. So you need to drag and click to get where you want. This has come with the 4.4 KitKat. Great improvement again! And now imagine that you do that every single time for almost a whole year (update was released later). This is just about the most annoying thing about this phone. If you want to open Internet connection, GPS, adjust brightness or anything other to work from that menu, you do not necessarily want to get through all kinds of different menus.
Speaking about speed, the reaction times are not bad. They’re not really impressive either. Switching through home screen’s pages is slower than in iPhone 1. Yes it is. It’s not a huge disadvantage but surprises me that a phone that is 6-7 (iPhone from 2007 or 2008) years younger does some simple things not as good as the “grandpa” iPhone (it’s battery still holds enough to use it as an music player :)).
Then there is the auto dimming screen that often doesn’t switch off. It just stays lit up all the time if you don’t turn it off manually using the side button. It will stay on until the battery dies, I checked. It’s like that since I bought the phone. Doesn’t always behave this way but it happened several times a week and the only solution to that is to reset it or completely turn off the phone. I thought it may be caused by some app running in the background and forcing the display to stay on but after turning all of them off, the problem didn’t disappear… So annoying. I’m now just waiting to swap it for a 2x as expensive iPhone which I do not need but the useless camera and the annoying way of the way the Sony works is too much for me and leaves me no choice. I had a Samsung Galaxy S before and it wasn’t perfect either. It was ok but was freezing a lot and that was its biggest problem. Some problems with reading the SD card also appeared (unfortunately Samsungs like to do that).
On the other hand the battery life is superb. Wi-Fi and data transmission work very fast. The screen quality is also good even though the factory brightness adjustment may not be enough for some of us and you’ll need to download an app that expands its range of adjustment.
The main speaker is rather quiet comparing to any Samsung which may not be a big deal bit it surprised me. The quality of sound (and music) is noticeably worse though (comparing to the SGS3 and a very old Galaxy S1).
The notification LED is barely seen so it’s basically useless unless you look at it directly. You may miss some messages because of that and it really, really bothers me in everyday life as I have to constantly look and check the phone being worried that I miss something important. Also, when you get a text message, the display doesn’t light up and all you get it that LED flashing from time to time. You also may not get any visual preview on the center of screen of what the message contains. Only after pushing the side button you may see an icon in the upper left corner and a part of a message at the time. Then the text disappears and all you’re left with is that tiny icon. Very frustrating, especially if your screen background is rather bright and it’s hard to see the little text message icon. These are the everyday problems living with the Xperia Z1 Compact.
If you use the alarm clock, you need to know that when it rings there’s only one way to turn it off – you have to slide your finger on the screen from a certain point to the side of the screen. It’s impossible to do that without looking at the phone because there’s no tolerance and you need to touch the screen in an exactly indicated spot. It usually takes several times to manage that especially if you’ve just opened your eyes. Better have something else for an alarm clock...
One last thing that is almost funny and ridiculous. When I grab the phone with one hand and hold it, I put my little finger underneath it to prevent it from slipping and falling on the ground. Now the bottom end has very sharp edges around the speaker and the microphone. You can feel them every single time. I just cannot comment on that…
This phone is just not well-thought and it makes using it very, very annoying. I really do not recommend this phone to anyone. I bought it because the camera was supposed to be so good. I’m never going to buy anything from Sony again, ever. It was released in 2014 and they still cannot get simple things to work. I spent some time to write all of that hoping that some of the ones that read it, avoid making a really bad decision.
JasonLim, 15 Feb 2015I really love Sony smartphone design, and the phone considered good quality. But the selling p... moreYour kinda right but you know the new Lenovo P70? (it's a Chinese phone) It has killer specs but my friend bought it like a week ago and now it's lagging like crazy and apps and games freeze sometimes.
I want to buy this or the Z1 can you tell me does it have any problems? Lags, bugs, or crashes?
Can you guys tell me if this phone has any major problems? Bugs, Lags, freezes or crushes?
I want to buy a sony smartphone is this one worth my money? What is battery like?
praveen kumar, 28 Jan 2015i belive in sony products ,i purchased sony xperia z1 compact for the first time and i am usin... moreSwitch the phone to manual mode to shoot at 20.7 mp..If you press the camera button it only shoots at 8 mp..This phone has one of the best cameras on the market so I don't know what crap you are talking..Noob
This phone is the greatest phone ive ever seen, i just love that phone sooo muuch!!!! :):):):)
This phone is the greatest phone ive ever seen, i just love that phone sooo muuch!!!! :):):):)
Shobhit , 24 Feb 2015How much time to charge it from 0to 100% ?less than 3 hours
lots of phones to choose out there and i end up buying this phone. when it comes to specs , quality , size , battery , price etc.. this was perfect!.
z1c vs z3c - i choose z1c because im not so affected with the few specs advantages of z3c with a big difference in price and i dont like its rubber sidings while z1c has metal frame on it.
And ohh i recently played clash of clans with data and wifi ON from morning till night, and still have 30-40% battery power left after all day of hardcore gaming >:)
i compared this to every phone available on my contract upgrade. and this raped every single one of them, only screen size was beaten but equal resolution made this better pixel density.
I have the Z1 compact and it was worth the momey to buy so what its not iphone yet I love my compact more even gave my iPhone to my little brother even thou it cost me more then my xperia did.
Joe29, 14 Feb 2015I would like to purchase a phone for long term use of atleast 3 years. Z1c ticks all the boxes... moredont think that they'd obsolete old applications .. nor would application developers lose a substantial portion of their users just because they have older phones ..
I'd like to believe that for a long period of time applications would support both platforms .. maybe 5 years or so, when enough number have migrated to newer phones ..