For a number of years smartphone manufacturers have been slapping the word "mini" at the end of a handset name to denote the fact that something is smaller. 

Typically it mirrors the design of a flagship, carries practically the same name, but has the specs of a mid-range device, an embarrassment to the premium title it has been given.

The assumption is made that if you don't want a massive phone, you don't want power. That assumption is wrong, and Sony has been the only bastion when it comes to offering a powerful phone that's not pushing a display size difficult for some to handle. 

Now this plucky powerhouse is reborn in the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact.


Sony Xperia Z5 Compact design

The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact follows Sony's established OmniBalance design ethos. The predecessor was the Xperia Z3 Compact, a phone that was outstanding in many regards, namely because it offered all the flagship power, with little of the "mini" compromise.

The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact makes a small departure from the design of the Xperia Z5 and the Xperia Z5 Premium that it's launched alongside, as the construction is different. The sides are markedly different, with a seamless build, rather than offering the reinforced corners of the larger models.

The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact measures 127 x 65 x 8.9mm and weighs 138g, so it's shorter and fatter than its siblings, presumably to allow it to cram in all that power.

Like its siblings, there's a fingerprint scanner sitting in that new elongated standby button on the side, pushing the volume and camera button further towards the bottom. 

However, it's given the same finish treatments, with a lovely frosting to the sides and rear that gives it the feeling of plenty of grip. Given the smaller size, the Xperia Z5 Compact is going to be easier to manage if you've got smaller hands. 

The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact will be available white, black, yellow and coral, so there are some brighter colours for those who want a little more fun. It's also waterproof, so you'll be protected at the pool, beach or just in the bath.


Sony Xperia Z5 Compact display

The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact has a 4.6-inch IPS LCD display with a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution, giving you 323ppi. This is one of the few areas where it steps down from the Xperia Z5, but this resolution is pretty good on a display of this size. It's the same as the Xperia Z3 Compact and we didn't have any problems with that. 

Sure, the Z5 (and Z5 Premium) have a higher resolution so will be better able to produce fine detail and the reduced size of the Compact might mean it's not as good a choice for those who want the best multimedia experience where the bigger display is better.

However, from the time we spent with the Xperia Z5 Compact, we can say that this is a great display. It's nice and bright and offers punchy colours, so it's difficult to find it lacking.


Sony Xperia Z5 Compact hardware specs

Where the Xperia Z5 compact really excels is in offering the power of a flagship handset. Inside the Z5 Compact you'll find a 64-bit octo-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset, with 2GB of RAM. Sure, the RAM is a slight step down, but you've got plenty of power to play with.

The Snapdragon 810 has a reputation for overheating, something that was a problem for the Sony Xperia Z3+ when we reviewed it. We also found that the previous Z3 Compact got a little warm in use, but Sony assures us that overheating isn't a problem for these new devices. 

In our initial play with the Z5 Compact we didn't notice any problems, but we'll be paying close attention when we review it closer to launch. 

There is 16GB of internal storage and if you're after more storage, there's a microSD card slot that supports cards up to 200GB. 

There's a 2700mAh battery with the promise that you'll get two days of use from it. Sony has produced some of the best phones for battery life in the past few years and we suspect that the Xperia Z5 Compact will join their ranks.


Sony Xperia Z5 Compact camera

The big change across the Xperia Z5 family is the introduction of a new camera. Now there's a 23-megapixel sensor sitting in front of a 6-element lens, supported by optical image stabilisation. In designing the new camera, Sony tells us that it went to its experts over at Sony Alpha, and that's resulted in a new Hybrid AF system promising the fastest focusing you'll find in a smartphone.

In our tests the focusing was fast and accurate, but it's difficult to judge the camera in a closed environment. We've included some sample photos in the gallery for your perusal and from the demos we saw, the stabilisation system is very good.

There's a 5-megapixel camera on the front for those all-important selfies.


Sony Xperia Z5 Compact software

On the software front, the Xperia Z5 Compact will launch on Android Lollipop, but with Sony's customised UI over the top. There are some new minimalist themes to match the design of the handset and some of Sony's own apps don't appear to be as prominent as they once were. 

Of course you get some of the great additions that Sony brings to handsets, like PS4 Remote Play and that all-important power control through stamina mode. 

Although we said that this device might not be the best choice for those looking for a multimedia powerhouse, it's still very capable, with support for high-res audio and noise cancellation in the device. Pair this phone with the new Sony MDR-NC750 headphones and you'll get both of those features.

First Impressions

The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact is as fun and powerful as you could want it to be. There are few phones for those who want something smaller in the pocket without sacrificing power, so this could prove to be a popular choice. Then there's a new camera that's promising great things, another appealing aspect to the Compact. 

However, those who have been following the progress of Snapdragon 810 may have some reservations about how this handset will perform and if Sony will manage to keep it cool. We're going to be putting it through its paces closer to launch. 

Overall the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact hangs onto that cute factor, retains the power and could well be one of the greatest smaller devices you'll be able to find.