Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Vs iPhone 5s

Whatever you may think of Apple, you have to admit that their lineup of handhelds have become the benchmark against which every other smartphone must be measured. Sometimes Apple comes out on top, and sometimes they’re found wanting.

Today we’re going to compare Sony’s Xperia Z1 Compact to Apple’s current flagship model, the iPhone 5s. Let’s see how they stack up.

Size and Shape

Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way right now, for those who may be interested. The Xperia Z1 Compact weighs in at 137 grams, while the iPhone 5s weighs 112 grams. This difference is attributable to the slightly smaller footprint of the iPhone 5: 123.8×58.6×7.6mm. The Xperia Z1 is just a little bit larger in every dimension, but it also sports a slightly larger screen. We’ll talk more about the differences in the screens in just a bit.

Design Sensibilities

There’s no denying it: both of these phones are exceptionally attractive. Sony’s handheld sports a design that’s made largely of flat panels of glass, not unlike Apple’s previous model, the iPhone 4. While it makes for a monolithic and largely featureless phone, the simplicity is pretty striking.

Meanwhile, Apple has moved on from its all-glass construction and replaced a large portion of the iPhone’s back panel with aluminum. It makes for a distinctive two-tone design, and addresses some durability issues from Apple’s previous handheld.

However, the Xperia Z1 Compact stands out from Apple and the rest of Sony’s rivals by offering a dust- and waterproof housing; the Z1 Compact is one of the first handhelds to do so. That said, you’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s worth sacrificing the iPhone’s fingerprint sensor, which the Z1 lacks.

The Displays

For some, the deciding factor between these two phones might be the quality of the display. The iPhone 5 sports a 4-inch display that boasts a resolution of 1136×640. The Xperia Z1 Compact has a resolution of 1280×720. If that doesn’t sound like a big difference, it’s not; both phones can display more pixels per inch than can be detected by the human eye.

The Z1 Compact’s screen is just a little bit bigger, though: it measures 4.3 inches to the iPhone’s 4 inches, which gives you just a little bit more screen real estate to play with.

The Cameras

It’s pretty well publicized by now that smartphones are inching closer and closer to killing the camera industry. This is due as much to the ever-improving cameras in smartphones as it is to the reluctance of the average traveler to carry two devices with them.

The iPhone 5 and the Xperia Z1 both feature two cameras: one for video calls, and one for photography. The iPhone’s front-facing camera boasts 1.2 megapixels, which falls slightly behind the Z1’s 2 megapixels.

However, it’s the rear camera on the Z1 that’s in a class of its own: with 20.7 megapixels, it’s going to outshoot the iPhone’s 8MP every time. For anybody who uses their smartphone frequently to take photographs, this could be a compelling reason to choose the Z1.

The Operating System

Let’s face it: most smartphones can do most of the same things. For casual smartphone owners, the differences between Apple’s iOS 7 and the Android operating system will feel pretty inconsequential. Instead, the decision may come down to much more subjective factors such as presentation and aesthetics.

There’s no denying that iOS 7 is beautiful; with vivid colors and clean, minimalistic interfaces, Apple has gone out of their way to make it a pleasure to use the iPhone.

By comparison, Android can feel quite a bit less polished at times. Also of note is just how many versions of Android exist in the world; app compatibility problems can rear their heads from time to time.

That said, compulsive customizers will love Android for its flexibility. Unlike Apple’s somewhat rigidly controlled operating system, Android devices offer a host of system-wide customizability features, including custom keyboards. Navigating the menus to explore those options, however, can sometimes feel like a chore.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, people don’t really choose their phones because of the specs: they’re going to go with what they’re already familiar with, or with what feels nice in their hands.

Neither the iPhone 5s nor the Z1 is going to sway somebody who’s firmly in the iOS or Android camp. That said, both of them are excellent phones, and the average user will find a lot to like about them.

Where the Xperia Z1 Compact really stands out is with the quality of its main camera and its thoughtful, waterproof design. While Apple products are undeniably beautiful, but Apple has always struggled a little bit with the durability of its devices.

 Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs Apple iPhone 5s

Design Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Apple iPhone 5s
OS Android (4.3) iOS (7.x)
Dimensions 5.00 x 2.56 x 0.37 inches 4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 inches
Weight 4.83 oz (137 g)
the average is 4.6 oz (132 g) 4.59 oz (130 g)
the average is 4.6 oz (132 g) 3.95 oz (112 g)
the average is 4.6 oz (132 g)
Body material   Aluminium
Design features   Fingerprint sensor
Rugged Water (Water), Dust proof  
IP certified IP 58  
Physical size 4.3 inches 4.0 inches
Resolution 720 x 1280 pixels 640 x 1136 pixels
Pixel density 342 ppi 326 ppi
Technology TFT IPS LCD
Colors 16 777 216 16 777 216
Peak brightness   500 cd/m2 (nit)
Camera 20.7 megapixels 8 megapixels
Flash LED Dual LED
Aperture size F2.0 F2.2
Focal length (35mm equivalent) 27mm  
Camera sensor size 1/2.3″ 1/3″
Camcorder 1920×1080 (1080p HD) 1920×1080 (1080p HD) (30 fps), 1280×720 (720p HD) (120 fps)
Recording format MPEG4, H.263, H.264  
Features Digital image stabilization, Continuous autofocus, High Dynamic Range mode (HDR), Video light Digital image stabilization, Picture-taking during video recording
Front-facing camera 2 megapixels 1.2 megapixels
Video capture 1920×1080 (1080p HD) 1280×720 (720p HD)
System chip Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974 Apple A7 with 64-bit architecture
Processor Quad core, 2200 MHz, Krait 400 Dual core, 1300 MHz
Graphics processor Adreno 330 PowerVR G6430
System memory 2048 MB RAM (Dual-channel, 800 MHz) / LPDDR3 1024 MB RAM
Built-in storage 16 GB 16 GB
Storage expansion microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC  
Talk time 10.00 hours
the average is 12 h (749 min) 13.00 hours
the average is 12 h (749 min)  
Stand-by time 27.9 days (670 hours)
the average is 24 days (586 h) 10.0 days (240 hours)
the average is 24 days (586 h)  
Talk time (3G) 18.00 hours
the average is 12 h (729 min)  
the average is 12 h (729 min)
Stand-by time (3G) 25.0 days (600 hours)
the average is 20 days (478 h)  
the average is 20 days (478 h)
Stand-by time (4G) 22.9 days (550 hours)
the average is 18 days (427 h)  
Music playback 94.00 hours 40.00 hours
Video playback 12.00 hours 10.00 hours
Capacity 2300 mAh 1570 mAh
Type   Li – Ion
Not user replaceable   Yes
GSM 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
UMTS 850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz 850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz
FDD LTE 800 (band 20),850 (band 5),900 (band 8),1700/2100 (band 4), 1800 (band 3),

1900 (band 2),

2100 (band 1),

2600 (band 7) MHz

700 (band 13),700 (band 17),800 (band 18),800 (band 19),

800 (band 20),

850 (band 5),

900 (band 8),

1700/2100 (band 4),

1800 (band 3),

1900 (band 2),

1900 (band 25),

2100 (band 1) MHz

Data LTE Cat4 Downlink 150 Mbit/s, LTE Cat3/4 Uplink 50 Mbit/s, HSDPA+ (4G) 42.2 Mbit/s, HSUPA 5.76 Mbit/s, UMTS, EDGE, GPRS LTE, HSDPA+ (4G) 42.2 Mbit/s, HSUPA 5.76 Mbit/s, UMTS, EDGE, GPRS
Scheduled release Q1 2014 (Official)  

BIO: Alicia is a freelance writer, photographer and content creator. Read more articles from Alicia on her blog Homey Improvements. Her follow her on Twitter at @DIYfolks.