Today most of the devices available to choose from consist of massive phones that have massive screens and features that the normal person doesn’t want or need, the Sony Xperia X Compact changes all that, offering a lot of the specs that most people would need in a compact form-factor.
Despite being called the Sony Xperia X Compact, this phone is not simply a shrunken version of the Sony Xperia X, and in fact, it features a design that is pretty unique to the phone, yet follows Sony’s usual design structure for smartphones.
It measures 129 x 65 x 9.5mm and weighs 135 grams and features glass on the front with rounded sides that hug the curvature of that display and wrap themselves around the back of the phone, creating what feels like a unibody design, despite it not being a unibody design. The back is mode from oleophobic plastic, the sides are some sort of glossy plastic and the front is a Gorilla Glass 4 covering.
Thankfully, this does create a somewhat high-end look, despite compact smartphones usually featuring a somewhat slacking design.
That said, it is still a slightly expensive phone, you can pick it up in the UK from a range of retailers including Vodafone who sent us this phone for the purposes of this review and are offering it for from £28 a month with no upfront fee on their pay monthly plans.
So should you pick up this phone over another compact option like the Xperia Z5 Compact or the iPhone SE? Well, we hope to help you decide that in this review.
If you are looking for design, then the Sony Xperia X Compact might impress you, or if might not. It features one of those designs that we think is very particularly and will only suit some people’s tastes.
As we previously mentioned, the smartphone does feel pretty premium, featuring two front-facing speakers, a selfie camera, and a slim bezel around the front that makes it seem as though it is a smartphone that packs a lot into a small body.
On the top, there is a 3.5mm jack that is mirrored by a USB-C on the bottom. If you look at the sides then you will find a microSD and SIM card slot section on the left-hand side of the phone, and all of the bottoms that you will need on the right.
Personally, I found the placement of these buttons kinda awkward.
For some reason, Sony has decided to place all of these buttons, including the power button, volume rocker, and camera capture button towards the bottom of the smartphone.
They feel out of place, look strange and are definitely hard to use without thinking about using them, which is a major disadvantage of this phone, something that should be easy to use isn’t.
Thankfully, the power does make this up slightly as it features an integrated fingerprint sensor within it. In my opinion, this is the most natural positioning for a fingerprint sensor and it definitely works well on this smartphone, scanning is quick and I often found myself unlocking the phone without thinking about it, which is fantastic.
Strangely though, on our model, this bottom appears to be facing the wrong way, which did trigger me slightly.
Although the device does use Sony’s overlay, the interface on the Xperia X Compact is pretty simplistic. It also looks really nice and is actually pretty helpful for getting around Android with overlay designs on some of Android’s stock apps such as messaging, contacts and the music player, as well as the addition of a few of Sony’s own features and apps.
But if you have used a Xperia device before it’s probably much of the same for you.
Viewing all of this content is also pretty nice, featuring a small, 4.6-inch display it doesn’t provide a lot of space for consuming content like videos, however, despite having a 720p screen, it actually provides balanced colour and contrast reproduction with a sharp picture output that is sure to be great for the majority of people.
This is thanks to the inclusion of Sony’s Trilluminos and X-Reality tech which improves the display and allows you to customize how it looks to suit your own needs.
Listening to audio is similar to pretty much any device out there, however, the device can also play high-resolution audio files like FLAC and LPCM through Sony’s custom music app, so that’s a plus. The two front-facing speakers are also okay enough, however, they won’t stop you from using a Bluetooth speaker instead.
You can store all of this on the phone’s 32GB of onboard storage, but if you run out of space, the phone also comes with a microSD card slot so having enough space for games, music, and movies probably won’t be much of an issue for you.
In terms of performance, the X Compact features a hexa-core Snapdragon 650 to power it, which houses two ARM Cortex-A72 cores to deliver some pretty decent performance for a smartphone of this size and price, and this comes alongside 3GB of RAM, meaning that playing most games and running most applications shouldn’t be a problem for you on the X Compact.
On Geekbench 4, the phone received an average multi-core score of 3,335, which is a pretty average score yet it keeps up with devices elsewhere in its pay grade.
On top of this, the X Compact features a fantastic 2,700mAh battery, which is more than enough to get you through a day of average use of well over two days with minimal use, and even if you use the smartphone to the make, it will definitely last you most of the day.
And if you need to preserve some of that juice for even longer, the smartphone features Sony’s Stamina and Ultra Stamina battery modes which reduce the functions of the phone to provide even more battery for the times that you need it.
Given that this is an entry-level device, we weren’t expecting much from the camera, however, after using it, we can definitely say that this phone will easily allow you to take some pretty decent photos for your Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook activities.
It features a 23-megapixel Exmor R sensor with a 5x optical zoom, which when added to Sony’s technology, allows you to take some decent photos even in low-light.
We took a range of photos in the auto mode and found that the camera was quite capable of delivering photos that were accurate to that in real life, however, sometimes the system would compensate a little too much and you will find it shooting a little over-exposed.
Thankfully, there is a manual mode in the camera app for the X Compact, so you can adjust this for the scenes that you are shooting.
Here are some of our sample photos from the phone.
An interesting feature about the phone is that Sony has including 1080p (FHD) video shooting at 60 frames per second, which allows you to capture some pretty sleek videos from the back camera.
Sadly, it doesn’t come with 4K video recording, however, it does come with a 5-axis image stabilization and an HDR photo mode.
Here’s a quick video sample of that 1080p 60fps shooting:
On the front, Sony has fitted the X Compact with a 5MP Exmor R sensor that has a 25mm lens and an aperture of f/2.4.
The software blends all of this together with a pretty easy to use application that makes it easy to switch between modes and the front and rear camera with a swipe.
The shutter button is also well placed and comes with the extra feature of allowing you to half-press to get things in focus before shooting.
To finish this review up, we would definitely recommend this device to anyone who wants an all-rounder of a smartphone. The Sony Xperia X Compact is a compact device that does it all pretty well, it features a respectable 720p that looks great and performs well for viewing movies and photos.
It also has a premium feeling body that isn’t waterproof but will definitely look fine in your pocket.
And to top that all off, there’s a decent camera, great performance specifications and the price is pretty reasonable, so if you are looking for a new compact smartphone, however, I would say that if you want more performance than the Xperia ZX Compact might be a better option, or the iPhone SE might be an option that you might want to consider, of course, the latter isn’t running Android.