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(Pocket-lint) - Sony's Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact are the two most recent phones available in the XZ portfolio, both represent something of a change in direction for the manufacturer. 

Finally presenting a new design, coupled with the expected upgrade in specs, the two XZ2 devices are powerhouses with some exciting features.

How does the Xperia XZ2 Compact compare to its predecessor though? We've put its specs up against the XZ1 Compact to see if it's worth the upgrade.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact vs XZ1 Compact: Design

  • Xperia XZ2 Compact larger, thicker, heavier
  • Xperia XZ2 Compact curved rear
  • Both IP65/68 water and dust resistant

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact moves away from the flat-slabbed, rectangular design found on the Xperia XZ1 Compact and its predecessors, towards a smoother, rounder design with a curved rear.

Both feature an aluminium core with a polycarbonate rear and they are both IP65/68 water and dust resistant, but the XZ2 Compact ditches the 3.5mm headphone jack and moves the fingerprint sensor away from the right-hand edge, to the rear of the device.

The camera and flash module has also been repositioned to the centre of the rear on the XZ2, compared to the top left on the Xperia XZ1.

In terms of physical size and weight, the XZ2 is fatter, heavier and larger than its predecessor at 135 x 65 x 12.1mm and 168g compared to 129 x 65 x 9.3mm and 143g. This shows when you pick it up. While the round back certainly makes it feel a little more ergonomic, the size and weight don't go unnoticed. It doesn't feel anywhere as compact as the last version. 

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact vs XZ1 Compact: Display

  • Xperia XZ2 Compact larger, sharper display
  • Xperia XZ2 Compact HDR compatible, with upscaling
  • Xperia XZ2 Compact 18:9 aspect ratio display

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact features a 5-inch display with a Full HD+ resolution, which results in a pixel density of 483ppi. This is larger and sharper than the Xperia XZ1's display, which sits at 4.6-inches with a HD resolution for a pixel density of 319ppi.

It isn't just the resolution and size that is different between these two devices though. The Xperia XZ2 Compact not only supports HDR content but it offers an upscaling functionality too, just like the larger XZ2.

That means that when you're viewing photos, gaming or watching videos, the screen is brighter, more dynamic, vibrant and is sharper. It's a noticeable improvement on the XZ1 Compact. 

The Xperia XZ1 Compact meanwhile features a Dynamic Contrast Enhancer function, but it doesn't support HDR content. The XZ2 Compact also takes on an 18:9 aspect ratio over the XZ1 Compact's 16:9 aspect ratio.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact vs XZ1 Compact: Hardware

  • Xperia XZ2 Compact has SD845, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage
  • Xperia XZ1 Compact has SD835, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage
  • Larger battery in XZ2 Compact
  • No headphone jack on XZ2 Compact

Both the Xperia XZ2 Compact and the Xperia XZ1 Compact are small powerhouses but as you would expect from a succeeding flagship, the XZ2 Compact features a newer, faster processor.

The Xperia XZ2 runs on the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 platform, while the Xperia XZ1 Compact runs on the older, but still great, Snapdragon 835 platform. The XZ2 Compact also has a customised image signal processor however, designed by Sony and Qualcomm.

The difference in processing is noticeable almost immediately. Our XZ1 Compact unit regular stuttered or showed signs of being unresponsive, despite having one of 2017's fastest processors. The XZ2 had no such issues. It was smooth, fast and fluid almost the entire time we tested it. 

Both devices are supported by 4GB of RAM and they both have microSD support for storage expansion, but the XZ1 Compact has 32GB internal storage, while the XZ2 Compact has 64GB.

The Xperia XZ2 Compact also has a slightly larger battery capacity at 2870mAh compared to the XZ1 Compact's 2700mAh cell. That extra battery capacity does make some difference. We comfortably got through a full busy day of work with the XZ2, without getting close to needing a top up. 

Both devices support Hi-Res Audio, but the XZ2 Compact ditches the 3.5mm headphone jack, as we mentioned above, whilst also adding a new feature called Dynamic Vibration System, which adds optional vibration to entertainment for a more immersive experience.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact vs XZ1 Compact: Camera

  • Both have 19MP Motion Eye sensor
  • Xperia XZ2 Compact capable of recording 4K HDR video
  • Xperia XZ1 Compact has higher resolution front camera

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact and the Xperia XZ1 Compact both feature the 19-megapixel Motion Eye sensor on their rear. This memory stacked sensor was introduced on the XZ Premium in February 2017 and it allowed for 960fps super slow motion video recording.

The XZ2 Compact enhances this super slow motion feature to Full HD resolution, whilst also adding the ability to record 4K HDR video thanks to that image signal processor we mentioned previously. It's worth noting that for both the full HD super slow motion video and the 4K HDR to make any real impact, the conditions have to be right. Without good light in the scene, they fall a little flat. Super Slow Mo, in particular, gets quite noisy and dim if you're not shooting in bright daylight. 

In terms of the front camera, the XZ2 Compact has a 5-megapixel front facing camera with 3D Creator, while the Xperia XZ1 Compact features an 8-megapixel front-facing camera with a super-wide lens for a 120-degree adjustable field of view.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact vs XZ1 Compact: Software

  • Both Android Oreo

Both the Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact and the XZ1 Compact run on Android Oreo so the software experience between these two devices will be very similar.

As there are a few new features on the Xperia XZ2 Compact, like the 4K HDR video recording and Dynamic Vibration System, there are a couple of differences between these devices, but the main interface is basically the same. 

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact vs XZ1 Compact: Conclusion

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact has a nicer design, bigger and more capable display, more advanced hardware, a larger battery capacity and a more capable camera.

The Xperia XZ1 Compact meanwhile, is the smaller and slimmer device, whilst also offering a higher resolution front camera.

Despite its hefty feel, the design improvements coupled with the display enhancements and features like 4K HDR video recording makes the XZ2 Compact a clear winner between these two devices, even if the XZ1 Compact is still a powerful device for its size.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published on 24 February 2018.