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(Pocket-lint) - Sony announced three flagship smartphones at IFA 2015 in Berlin last week, making up the Xperia Z5 family of devices. Top of the pack is the Xperia Z5 Premium with its 4K display and mirrored finish, followed by the Xperia Z5 and the smaller, but just as powerful, Xperia Z5 Compact.

The Xperia Z5 Compact is Sony's answer to the mini market - smartphones that replicate their bigger brothers' designs, just smaller, but they hardly ever replicate the power. Sony's Compact series has always been a smaller version of the larger flagship without compromising on power or design and the Compact Z5 is no different.

We have put it up against the Xperia Z3 Compact to see how the two devices compare, what the differences are and how the Compact range has evolved over the past year.


Xperia Z5 Compact adds fingerprint sensor

The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact sticks with the same OmniBalance design as the Xperia Z3 Compact but it features a few design changes here and there, making it easy to differentiate it from its predecessor. Firstly, Sony has switched the green colour offering of the Xperia Z3 Compact and traded it for a yellow finish in the Z5 Compact.

You'll also notice the signature circular power button has changed to an elongated shape on the Xperia Z5 Compact in order to accommodate the built-in fingerprint sensor. This also means that the volume rocker and dedicated camera button have moved further towards the bottom of the handset. The sides are also slightly flatter on the Z5 Compact and Sony also ditched the cap over the Micro-USB port making charging more convenient on the new model.

In terms of measurements, the Z5 Compact is almost identical in size to the Z3 Compact, but 9g heavier. The Z5 Compact measures 127 x 65 x 8.9mm and hits the scales at 138g, while the Z3 Compact measures 127 x 64.9 x 8.6mm and weighs 129g. Both are IP65/IP68 rated so they can both handle a drop in the bath or toilet.

Same display

Both the Xperia Z5 Compact and the Xperia Z3 Compact have 4.6-inch displays, which makes them slightly smaller than the iPhone 6.

They also both feature the same resolution as each other, with Sony sticking to a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution for the Z5 Compact, as it did with the Z3 Compact. It means a pixel density of 323ppi, lower than the Xperia Z5, so there is an element of compromise with this device over the larger device but in the display rather than the power.

You'll find Sony's Triluminos and X Reality for Mobile technologies on board both the Xperia Z5 Compact and the Xperia Z3 Compact, meaning the display experience on these two devices will be the same.

Xperia Z5 Compact has an improved camera

Sony has heavily marketed the camera aspect of its smartphones ever since the Xperia Z1 arrived at IFA 2013. The 20.7-megapixel sensor that arrived on the Z1 has been present in every other Xperia Z device since, up until the Z5 family when Sony changed things up.

The Xperia Z5 Compact comes with a 23-megapixel rear snapper with a 0.03 autofocus, claimed to be the fastest autofocus on a smartphone to date. There is a 5-megapixel front snapper too, which is a slight jump up from the 2.2-megapixel front camera on the Xperia Z3 Compact.

Many of the same features have been transferred from the Z3 Compact to the Xperia Z5 Compact, including Superior Auto, a maximum sensitivity of 12800 and 4K video capture, but the Xperia Z5 Compact has made improvements in the zoom department over its predecessor. Sony claims you will be able to zoom up to 5x and still see a clear image with no loss of quality.

Xperia Z5 Compact will be faster and last longer

Under the hood, the Xperia Z5 Compact boasts the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chip along with 2GB of RAM. This means the new device has an extra four cores to manage tasks with, although the RAM capacity remains the same.

There is 32GB of internal memory on board the Xperia Z5 Compact, while the Xperia Z3 Compact only had 16GB. Both support microSD for storage expansion but the Z5 Compact can take cards up to 200GB, while the Z3 Compact tops out at 128GB.

In terms of battery, the Z5 Compact has a 2700mAh capacity, which Sony claims will last two days in STAMINA mode. It's 100mAh larger than the Xperia Z3 Compact's battery, and as the battery performed well on the Z3 Compact, we would expect even better from the Z5 Compact.

Similar software experience

If you are a Sony user, the software experience on the Xperia Z5 Compact and the Xperia Z3 Compact will be familiar. Things have been cleaned up a little in the case of the Xperia Z5 Compact, but both devices run on Android Lollipop with Sony's skin over the top.

They both have access to Sony's extra apps including Walkman and Xperia Lounge, as well as PS4 Remote Play, where PS4 owners can use their smartphone as a second screen to play their console.


The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact makes several improvements over the Xperia Z3 Compact, as you would expect. The display remains the same, as does the RAM, but other than that, every area has seen a change.

The design has been refined, a fingerprint sensor has been added, colours have been replaced, the camera has been improved, the battery has seen an increase, the processor has been upgraded and storage has been doubled on the new device.

It's clear the Xperia Z5 Compact is the winner in terms of the numbers when it comes to these two handsets and if you're looking to upgrade from the Xperia Z3 Compact, there is enough change to warrant the switch.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle.
Sections Sony Phones