Showdown: Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5S

Sony's 4.3in Android smartphone takes it to the established Apple iPhone 5S.

Performance

The spec sheet above paints a one-sided picture, but don’t get lost in the numbers because the experience can’t be quantified in well rounded digits.

Sony’s Z1 Compact has twice the number of cores operating at a higher clock speed, but its Android operating system needs the extra power. It’s also worth noting the iPhone 5S is the first smartphone with a 64-bit chip, but the material benefits of such technology is questionable as iOS remains a 32-bit operating system. In any case, the Apple iPhone 5S operates without lag nor stutter.

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Sony has armed the Xperia Z1 Compact with a few advantageous features, starting with the smartphone’s tough-proof attitude. The Z1 Compact is waterproof to depths of 150cm for thirty minutes, and its body is resistant to dust. Including a physical shutter key makes it possible to snap photos and videos underwater, and then there are the advantages of having a good looking smartphone that you can take to work everyday. Traditionally, people would have to clad smartphones in a bulging, high-visibility jacket.

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Tradies and other rough users will have to dress the beautiful iPhone in one of these tough cases if they’re after the same functionality. It appears Apple has made a smartphone that looks great most of the time, but Sony has made one that looks good all the time.

The Sony smartphone also features a better resolution screen and a camera that captures photos at a significantly higher resolution. There are other advantageous to the Sony too, such as an inbuilt FM radio, the option of expandable memory, NFC pairing and the ability to transfer files over Bluetooth.

Apple’s iPhone 5S is largely differentiated by its fingerprint scanner. Everyday users can rest a little better knowing their smartphone is secure, but the real benefactors of this innovation are people working in the enterprise space who need their sensitive information safeguarded.

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A secondary standout feature is Siri, even if the new-feature shine is wearing off. Siri proves superior over Google’s Voice Search by leveraging the functionality of the iPhone, and not a search engine. Good Gear Guide detailed the vast differences in our feature Battle of the personal assistants: Apple vs Samsung vs LG vs Google.

Winner: Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Camera

The main camera to be used by the Z1 Compact has a resolution of 20 megapixels, while the iPhone 5S uses an 8MP snapper.

A series of test shots on an overcast day revealed the photos taken with the iPhone benefit from less image noise and better contrast levels, giving it the advantage in spite of the Xperia Z1 Compact’s superior resolution. Some of the photos can be seen below.

Apple iPhone 5S: The iPhone 5S performs well in artificial fluorescent lighting
Apple iPhone 5S: The iPhone 5S performs well in artificial fluorescent lighting

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact: The Z1 Compact catches too much noise and flat colour
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact: The Z1 Compact catches too much noise and flat colour

Apple iPhone 5S: The tree in the bottom right retains detail
Apple iPhone 5S: The tree in the bottom right retains detail

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact: In comparison, the Z1 Compact fails to register the tree's leaves
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact: In comparison, the Z1 Compact fails to register the tree's leaves

Apple iPhone 5S
Apple iPhone 5S

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Winner: Apple iPhone 5S

Final thought

This should be a one sided fight. On paper the Sony outperforms the Apple 13 to 7. That’s a blowout score.

But the tight integration of hardware and software helps Apple fend off the Xperia Z1 Compact. It looks better and its camera, albeit a lower resolution, shoots better photos.

Sony’s deserves credit for making the Z1 Compact as powerful as it is, and for dressing it in a body that can take water and dust alike in its stride. If you’re after a smartphone around the 4-inch mark, then both the iPhone 5S and the Xperia Z1 Compact are in a league of their own.

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Read more: Sony’s flagship Xperia Z2 goes on sale in Australia today

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Tags smartphoneZ1iosAndroid7iPhone7.1jelly bean5SZ2 CompactApple4inchXperiaKitKatsony

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Tony Ibrahim

Tony Ibrahim

PC World

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