Following in the footsteps of the Z1 Compact - and curiously skipping over the Z2 generation entirely - the Z3 Compact is here, and it’s the most powerful pint-size phone of the year.
Borrowing extensively from the spec sheet of its bigger brother, the Xperia Z3 - which you can read about here - the Compact has the same 2.5GHz quad-core processor (it’s a Snapdragon 801, fact fans), the same 20.7-megapixel camera with 4K video recording and improved low-light performance over the Z1, and the ability to play PlayStation 4 games.
Sony’s approach here is for consumers to see the Xperia Z3 name as a pair of flagship handsets equally powerful and only differing by screen size (and resolution). In a country where huge phones immediately remind us of that Dom Joly sketch we think it’s a smart move by Sony to say that those who opt for a smaller phone shouldn’t have to settle for less power and an average camera.
Read More: Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Review
We’ve spent some time with the new Compact and love its sleek aluminium body, glass front and back, and the more portable and pocket-friendly form factor. This is a phone you hold in your hand - rather than one you balance precariously on top. The Z3 Compact’s chassis is mostly aluminium, but with colour-match nylon caps on its corners; Sony says most dropped phones hit the ground corner-first, so hopefully this addition will help ward off scratches and dent.
The Z3 Compact weighs 129g and is 8.6mm, while an IP 68 rating means it is waterproof for 30 minutes in water up to 1.5 metres deep. Sony also claims the Compact will achieve two full days of battery life, although we haven’t yet spent enough time with the phone to test this bold claim for ourselves.
Sony has fitted the same 20.7-megapixel rear camera as featured on the Z2 and Z1 Compact, but as with the Z3 here it has been given a boost to improve low-light performance. Ultra HD 4K video recording is possible, but due to the heat generated Sony suggests you only do this for a minute or so at a time. The front camera is 2.2 megapixels.
There’s 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, plus a microSD card slot to add more - just like the full-size Z3. Meanwhile, the display of the Z3 Compact measures 4.6 inches and has a 720p HD resolution - less than the regular Z3, but to our eyes the smaller phone impressed as equally as its bigger stablemate.
PS4 gaming with Remote Play
New for both models of Z3 - but a feature we suspect will also work its way onto the Z2 - is the ability to play PlayStation 4 games on the phone and control them with a DualShock 4. Say you have the PS4 plugged in downstairs but someone else wants to use the television - simply leave the console on, go to another room and continue playing using your Z3 Compact as a screen. Dual front-facing speakers means your games will sound the business.
Sony has created an accessory (the GCM10 Game Control Mount) to fit the Z3 and Z3 Compact onto a DualShock 4 controller, although you could always just prop the phone up wherever is convenient.
The company stressed that this function is only advised when using the same Wi-Fi network as your PS4 to prevent lag.
The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact will be available in black, white, orange and green; its release date is sometime this autumn, and prices have yet to be announced.