Sony launched the Xperia Z1 Compact at the beginning of 2014, offering a 4.3-inch device with many of its bigger brother's powerful specs. Alongside the launch of the Xperia Z3 smartphone, Sony has also announced the 4.6-inch Xperia Z3 Compact at IFA 2014.

Once again, Sony has brought many of the same specs into a smaller handset, which sets it apart from many of the other "mini" devices available from competitors. We got our hands on it to see whether it impresses us as much as its predecessor did and give you our first thoughts on it.

The Sony Xperia Z3 offers the same familiar OmniBalance design as the Xperia Z1 Compact but it changes things up a little, not only in terms of the colours, but also in its weight and thickness.

The shape of the Xperia Z3 Compact is almost identical to the Xperia Z1 Compact with a flat glass back, slightly curved edges and rounded corners, but Sony has slimmed down the new device to 8.7mm, which is almost a millimetre thinner than its predecessor.

It is also around 10g lighter than the Xperia Z1 Compact and the slight reduction in weight and thickness were both noticeable when we held the device. We loved the Xperia Z1 Compact but we like this new device even more.

When it comes to the materials, the Xperia Z3 Compact offers a very premium feel, like the Xperia Z1 Compact did, but rather than a surrounding aluminium frame, Sony has opted for a frosted glass look with the new model. It looks great and it feels great, plus the new green and bright orange colours are really striking.

The nylon corners that have been introduced to the Sony Xperia Z3 have also been added to the Xperia Z3 Compact, which Sony claims will help protect the device if you drop it. Apparently many of us drop our devices on the corners, so this extra protection should make sure you don't get a dent in your phone, which would be the case with aluminium.

The power button remains on the side as you would expect and although it protrudes slightly more than the bigger Xperia Z3, it seems to blend more than it did on the Xperia Z1 Compact. Like its bigger brother, everything including the microSD flap sits more flush with the design overall and it all works better than it did before.

The top of the handset features the headphone jack which has now been highlighted by a metal rim, tying in nicely with the rest of the device. The camera lens features the same metal surrounding and it works well with the metal power button. It also adds to the premium look of the design which we liked.

The Xperia Z3 Compact retains the IP65 and IP68 rating meaning it is waterproof and dust resistant, but while it keeps the same 127 x 64.9mm footprint, Sony has increased the display from 4.3-inches to 4.6-inches so it is all set to be a win-win handset.

The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is a powerful little number and brings many of hardware specs from its bigger brother including the 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 16GB of internal memory and microSD support, as well as NFC.The RAM is slightly reduced from the Xperia Z3 but this device still comes with 2GB, which should be plenty.

There is a 2600mAh battery on board, which is 300mAh bigger than the Xperia Z1 Compact and Sony claims it will last 2 days like the Xperia Z3.

We didn't get a chance to test the battery performance of course, but Sony has a good track record for devices having a decent amount of life so we have high expectations for the Xperia Z3 Compact. When it came to performance, everything reacted as it should and we experienced no lag, but we will put it under more pressure during our full review.

Sony didn't crank up the resolution of its Xperia Z3 so we didn't expect the resolution to change for the Xperia Z3 Compact and it didn't, sticking at the 1280 x 720 pixels that was found on the Xperia Z1 Compact. We would loved to have seen a Full HD display on the Xperia Z3 Compact but we guess compromises have to be made somewhere.

As we mentioned earlier, the size of the display has increased to 4.6-inches so you get an extra 0.3-inches of screen to play with, which of course means the pixel density has reduced slightly to 319ppi but the colours packed in plenty of punch and the details were crisp.

Apart from the resolution, Sony has brought the same technologies from its Xperia Z3 to the Xperia Z3 Compact's IPS display, including Triluminos, X-Reality and Live Colour LED brands.

The display looked good and at first glance, we would say the viewing angles were actually better on the Xperia Z3 Compact than on the larger Xperia Z3 smartphone, but we will look at it in more detail when we come to review it.

The Xperia Z1 Compact arrived with the same 20.7-megapixel camera as the Xperia Z1 and the Xperia Z3 Compact follows the same path but also brings the same improvements the Xperia Z3 offers.

The ISO sensitivity has been increased to 12800, which Sony claims is the first for a smartphone and it should help you take low light photos, plus Sony has also improved SteadyShot and Intelligent Active Mode for steadier and crisper videos.

The lens has also been increased to 25mm so you should be able to get more in the shot and there have been an additional six applications added to the already extensive list.

Sony has added AR Fun, Multi-Camera, Sticker Creator, Live on YouTube, Sound Photo and Face-In applications to the camera and while we didn't get a chance to try any of them properly, the Face-In app looks like it will be good fun.

The 4K video recording, Timeshift Video, Background Defocus, Creative Effect, Info Eye, Social Live and Timeshift Burst features all remain too so the camera is something we are looking forward to properly testing closer to launch. 

The software hasn't changed much, with the Xperia Z3 Compact offering Sony's skin over the top of Android 4.4 and the What's New portal that pushes the company's entertainment and music services.

What has been introduced to the Xperia Z3 Compact though, is the ability to play your PlayStation 4 console games on it. We couldn't test it as it isn't coming until November, which means the devices will launch before this service does, but it is exciting for those that have a PS4.

When the service arrives, it will mean that you can play any PS4 game on your smartphone by connecting to your console over a Wi-Fi network. You will need Wi-Fi connectivity and it is recommended you use the same network as your console is on, but Sony has said it will be possible to play over a different network.

There will be a gaming mount as an accessory that attaches to the PS4 DualShock controller, but while you don't need the accessory, you will need the controller to play the games. The idea is that you can use it to play PS4 if someone else wants to watch the TV.

Sony seems to like moving the speakers in its devices and while the Xperia Z1 Compact housed its speakers at the bottom of the device, the Xperia Z3 Compact features them in the same place as the Xperia Z3, which is on the front above and below the display.

The company claims both the Xperia Z3 Compact and the Xperia Z3 will offer "music as the artist intended" and to do this, it has made the two devices high-res enabled, as well as added a feature called DSEE HX that takes lower quality audio and turns it into near high-res audio.

We couldn't test how good the speakers were during our brief time with it, but the Xperia Z3 Compact brings the digital noise cancelling technology that was found in the Xperia Z2 so it looks set to perform well, although we will have to wait till our full review to find out properly.

We loved the Xperia Z1 Compact and our first impressions of the Xperia Z3 Compact are that it is a great successor to an already great device.

It packs in plenty of power, offers what seems to be a decent display and it features a winning design that can be dropped into water without a problem.

The best thing about the Xperia Z1 Compact was that it didn't compromise good specs for a smaller body. With a slimmer and lighter design, along with a bigger screen in the same footprint, we have already started falling for the Xperia Z3 Compact and can't wait to get it in for review.