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Sony Xperia Z3 Compact: One Year Later Follow-Up Review

Almost twelve months since Sony launched the Xperia Z3 Compact, I’m still using it as my full-time smartphone. Here’s why the Xperia Z3 Compact is one of the best mobiles you can buy right now.

At least a dozen times each month, someone asks me, “what’s the best phone you can buy that’s under five inches?” Seems like loads of people are sick of mobiles that are big enough to bludgeon a whale to death. They want something that they can use one-handed, or slip into their tiny handbag without a struggle.

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact - In Hand

And every time, I tell them to buy the Xperia Z3 Compact. In fact, I normally have it stashed in one of my pockets at the time, even if I’m reviewing another handset (please don’t take this as an invitation to mug me). That’s because it’s my favourite go-between phone, which I use as my personal device when my SIM card isn’t stuck in a review model.

Read next: Our full, original Sony Xperia Z3 Compact review

A sequel that’s better than the original

Sony’s mini marvel was a direct sequel to the previous year’s Xperia Z1 Compact, which proved that miniature versions of flagship phones don’t have to be utter cack. While the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy S5 Mini and the LG G4c cut away the best features of their bigger brethren, resulting in pretty dull mid-range mobiles, the Xperia Z1 Compact came seriously close to matching the flagship phone’s specs.

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact - side

The Z3 Compact is thankfully another seriously powerful mini mobile, boasting a Snapdragon 801 processor and 2GB of RAM. After close to twelve months of non-stop use, it’s still a smooth performer with pretty much no stutters or pauses during everyday play. And if you’re a gamer, you’ll run the latest titles no problem.

Z3 Compact, one year later

Unlike lots of other phones after a year or so of handling, I’ve seen pretty much no quirks on the Xperia Z3 Compact. The only weird little bug that’s cropped up is an issue with the home button, in that it no longer zips you to the home screen when you’re on a different desktop (yet bizarrely will still back you out of an app). As far as phone funnies go, that’s not a bad one.

The Z3 Compact’s 20.7-megapixel camera also stands up impressively well to flagship phones, producing detail-packed shots that surpass photos taken on any other mini handset. And battery life hasn’t degraded at all – I still happily get a day and a half of use from the handset, even with some punishing use. And when I stream video non-stop, I still get around six hours of entertainment before the phone dies.

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact - Xperia branding image

As for the rugged build, the Xperia Z3 Compact has put up with a fair bit of punishment in its short life and almost emerged unscathed. Sadly, in a recent beer-related tumble, one corner of the glass back ended up with a narrow crack. Thankfully the phone is still proving perfectly water-resistant and works as expected (if you ignore that weird home button thing).

Verdict

If you’re after a dinky handset that makes no compromises, the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is still the best you can buy. And now that its first birthday is fast approaching, you can grab one from stores for as little as £250, making it an absolute bargain too.

Read next: Our best ‘mini phones’ roundup

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