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Sony Xperia Z1 Compact or Apple iPhone 5s: Which is best?

We take a look at the Apple iPhone 5s and Sony’s Xperia Z1 Compact, to see which is best for your needs

If the thought of a massive phablet thing makes you fill your kecks in terror, you’ll be glad to hear they still make phones that actually fit in your hand, and aren’t heavy enough to kill an elephant with one well-aimed blow. Sony’s Xperia Z1 Compact and Apple’s iPhone 5s are two of the best mobiles around, and also two of the most compact premium smartphones you can buy – but which one is best for you?

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5s

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5s: Design

The Xperia Z1 Compact and iPhone 5s are both small enough to comfortably wield and slip into your pocket, but they sport very different designs. Sony’s mini hero rocks a glass frame with aluminium edging, and in our eyes it’s a stunner. You can now grab it in a range of colours, including the obligatory hot pink. Nice.

Sony vs Apple

Apple’s iPhone 5s sticks with the traditional brushed metal finish that we all know and love. It’s a touch smaller and lighter than the Xperia Z1 Compact but there’s not much in it, and both phones slip into a pocket with glorious ease.

Both of these smartphones look fantastic, but the Xperia Z1 Compact is also fully waterproof thanks to its covered ports, so a definite choice if your mobile often tumbles to an early demise in the toilet. Security-conscious users will love the iPhone 5s’ fingerprint scanner, of course, which provides a slick, alternative means of unlocking your phone.


Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5s: Screen

Both the Xperia Z1 Compact and the iPhone 5s feature dinky screens by today’s standards, with the Sony a mite larger at 4.3-inches, compared to the Apple’s 4-incher. The Xperia’s 720p HD display is a tiny bit sharper than the iPhone’s Retina display, but the difference in pixels-per-inch really is negligible.

Apple vs Sony

Both screens boast vibrant colours and fantastic viewing angles thanks to the IPS technology, and we enjoyed watching video on each of them in turn. The screens are also bright enough to counter harsh glare, great news for when the sun finally emerges again in June.


Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5s: Interface

The key difference in the interface is customisation. Apple’s iOS has been updated in iOS 7 to give it a fresh new look and some handy features such as the Control Centre, but it’s still at heart a simple, streamlined interface.

Sony vs Apple

On the other hand, the Xperia Z1 Compact rocks Android Jelly Bean 4.3, which places customisation ahead of simplicity. You can fully fiddle with your desktops, resizing your widgets and arranging your icons however you like, while keeping less popular apps hidden away in the menu. Everyone has their own personal preference, but if you’ve owned an Android or Apple phone in the past, and spent your cash on apps etc in the online store, you’re probably best off sticking with that ecosystem.


Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5s: Performance and battery life

Both phones are at the head of their game when it comes to performance. The iPhone 5s boasts Apple’s latest A7 processor, the first smartphone chip to use 64-bit architecture. The Xperia Z1 Compact may not pack any 64-bit goodness, but the Snapdragon 800 processor makes it one of the nippiest Androids that money can buy, and both phones comfortably handle the latest apps and games. You should also enjoy well over a day’s battery life with both mobiles.

One notable difference is the storage space, as the Xperia Z1 Compact comes with just 16GB, while the iPhone 5s ranges up to 64GB. However, unlike the Apple, the Sony has a microSD slot, so you can add another 64GB using a memory card. If you opt for the Apple, we’d recommend opting for at least a 32GB model to give you room for music, movies and apps – plenty of games these days require a 1GB download or bigger.


Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5s: Camera

The iPhone 5s packs a capable 8-megapixel iSight lens which takes sharp, realistic pictures in daylight. Our photos packed in an impressive amount of detail, with realistic colours.

Apple vs Sony

Meanwhile, Sony has crammed an incredible 20-megapixel camera sensor into the Xperia Z1 Compact – the exact same optics found on the original five-inch Xperia Z1. The Superior Auto mode is one of the best around, adapting well to all kinds of conditions, making it a better choice for evening snaps and situations with tricky light.

Apple iPhone 5s vs Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

The Xperia Z1 Compact comes loaded with features, some useful, some weird. The Info-eye is a neat mode that goes online to gather info on whatever you snap, from a tourist hotspot to a paperback book, while Social Live allows you to stream whatever you’re seeing live on Facebook. Kids will love the AR effect tool, which shoves dinosaurs and leprechauns alongside your family.

In comparison, Apple sticks to the basics with the iPhone 5s, keeping the interface nice and simple. However, the one big inclusion is also a blinder – an excellent slow-motion mode that can be retroactively added to your videos.


Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5s: Verdict

Both the Xperia Z1 Compact and the iPhone 5s are best-in-class mini mobiles, and choosing one over the other is something that comes down to personal preference.

The iPhone 5s boasts a simple, streamlined interface and a well-implemented fingerprint scanner for fast and secure access, while the Xperia Z1 Compact’s strengths are its excellent 20-megapixel camera and fully waterproof design. EIther way, you’re getting a well-designed and powerful smartphone that’s easy to clutch and carry.


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