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Sony Xperia X Compact vs Xperia X: What's the difference?

Sony’s Xperia X Compact smartphone has just launched, providing most of the best bits of the Xperia X in a more portable, mini form. But what’s the difference between the Xperia X Compact and the full-sized Xperia X mobile, and which is best for you?

As well as revealing the shiny new Xperia XZ flagship phone, Sony used the IFA 2016 tech expo to launch the Xperia X Compact. This mini 4.6-inch mobile is a shrunken version of the Sony Xperia X, which hit the UK just a couple of months ago. But as well as losing a couple of inches, what else has changed?

Here’s our Sony Xperia X Compact vs Xperia X comparison review, to help you decide which Sony phone is best for you - big or small.

Sony Xperia X Compact vs Xperia X: Specs

Phone Sony Xperia X Compact Sony Xperia X
Weight 135g 153g
Screen size 4.6-inches 5-inches
Screen resolution 1280x720 HD 1920x1080 Full HD
Water resistant? No No
Fingerprint sensor? Yes Yes
Processor Snapdragon 650 Snapdragon 650
Memory 3GB 3GB
Storage 32GB 32/64GB
MicroSD? Yes Yes
Cameras 23MP, 13MP 23MP, 5MP

Sony Xperia X Compact vs Xperia X: Design

No prizes for guessing that the Xperia X Compact is a smaller version of Sony’s Xperia X. This 4.6-inch mobile is one of the smallest handsets of 2016 so far, and while the original Xperia X wasn’t exactly much of a handful at 5-inches, the Xperia X Compact is definitely more comfortable to wield one-handed.

As a bonus it’s also easier to slip inside a dinky handbag or a tight pair of jeans. That said, the Xperia X Compact is a bit of a chunky monkey, with a thicker frame than the Xperia X.

And we’re definitely bigger fans of the original handset’s metallic design. The Xperia X feels like a premium phone, with sharp, attractive angles and a pleasingly rugged finish. In comparison, the Xperia X Compact has a ‘ceramic-inspired’ design that feels a little toy-like, not helped by the super-light frame.

Still, those reduced dimensions and the subtle curves give the new Compact a definite advantage over the plethora of 5.5-inch phones that are hitting UK stores of late. If you’re craving something a bit smaller, this could well be your Huckleberry.

Neither phone is water resistant, but they do both boast a fingerprint sensor, built into the edge-mounted power button. In both cases the sensor is accurate and responsive, proving an effective way of keeping your phone secure.

Sony Xperia X Compact vs Xperia X: Screen and media

The Xperia X’s 5-inch IPS display has been shrunk to a 4.6-inch panel, which won’t suit anyone who wants to watch a lot of video on the go. Movies and shows are still watchable on the Xperia X Compact, but media fans will be better suited by the larger handset.

Resolution drops from Full HD (1920x1080) to standard HD (1280x720) for the Compact too, but the reduced screen size means that images are still perfectly crisp. You once again have Sony’s X-Reality software to artificially sharpen videos and photos, while the Super Vivid Mode can boost colour vibrancy and make images really pop from the screen.

Both phones also pack a microSD memory card, so you can expand the on-board storage and carry around plenty of media.

Sony Xperia X Compact vs Xperia X: Performance and battery life

Sony managed to pack the same Snapdragon 650 processor into the Xperia X Compact as well as its bigger brother, along with 3GB of RAM. That means there’s no dip in performance for the mini mobile - at least, we haven’t noticed any difference in our time spent with the Compact so far.

Both phones should capably run the latest games, load up apps in an instant and show only the very occasional stutter during everyday use. It’s just a shame the Small Apps feature has been axed on each of these Xperias, so you can’t run two apps side-by-side.

As for battery life, the Xperia X usually gives us around 24 hours of use from a single charge. We haven’t had a chance to fully test the Xperia X Compact, but the fact that it packs in a similar-sized battery means we should hopefully get at least a day of life and hopefully closer to 36 hours. Especially as the Compact has a smaller screen to power.

Sony has also added Knovo’s smart new battery charging tech to the X Compact, which helps to prevent the cell from overcharging. This can shut off the juice when the phone is left plugged in overnight, which helps to keep the battery at peak state and prevent a dip in performance over time.

Finally, the X Compact uses Type-C USB, which is fully reversible and offers faster data transfer speeds compared with the Xperia X’s old-school micro USB port.

Sony Xperia X Compact vs Xperia X: Cameras

When it comes to the camera tech, both the Xperia X and the X Compact sport a 23-megapixel rear shooter. However, the X Compact actually adds in some cool new features that are missing from the original Xperia X.

For instance, there’s a new laser-guided autofocus which should help to capture sharper detail in low light conditions, keeping your subject in focus as you take your shot. Sony has also added its smart new 5-axis image stabilisation, which cuts down the damage done by shaky hands and general motion while snapping photos or recording video.

The new Compact phone sadly can't shoot 4K video, something that was also missing from the full-sized Xperia X.

The X Compact takes a hit when it comes to the selfie camera, however. The Xperia X’s excellent 13-megapixel snapper takes brilliant photos, producing sharp, detailed results and capturing realistic skin tones even when the lights go down. By comparison, the Xperia X Compact’s 5-megapixel camera is a bit more basic.

Video: Xperia XZ vs Xperia X hands-on review

You can grab the Sony Xperia X right now from O2, from just £32 per month.

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