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Sony Xperia X Compact Review

We review the Sony Xperia X Compact, with a 23 megapixel camera.

| Sony Xperia X Compact in Camera Phones
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The Sony Xperia X Compact is one of the latest Sony smartphones, and offers a 23 megapixel back camera as well as a 5-megapixel front camera all in a small and easy to pocket body. The phone is available in 3 colours - mist blue, white and black. Here, we find out how it performs. 

Sony Xperia X Compact Features

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The Xperia X Compact has the same back camera is it's larger counterpart, the Xperia XZ. Sony has used a 23-megapixel sensor, and a bigger sensor size, with the sensor in the Xperia X Compact being a 1/2.3inch sensor. This is the same size that's used in most compact cameras. But with 23 million pixels crammed in, the pixel size is just 1.1microns, smaller than many smartphone rivals, such as the 12 megapixel Samsung Galaxy S7, and iPhone 7, with the S7 having 1.4micron pixels. 

Sony has used a 24mm equivalent f/2.0 lens, and the camera also boasts 5-axis electronic image stabilisation, which should help in low light. 

The camera features triple image sensing technology which Sony says allows it to capture movement and colour like never before. They are the only smartphone family developed using Sony's camera know-how from their Alpha and Cyber-shot cameras.

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There are a number of shooting modes, including "Superior" intelligent Auto+, a full manual mode, and numerous scene modes. There is also the capability to shoot HDR images, and the camera features object tracking AF. In the video recording mode you can choose from a number of different scene modes, and the video mode also lets you use object tracking AF. To add additional features to the camera, there are a number of additional camera apps, including AR Effect, Creative Effect, Sweep Panorama, Sound Photo, Sticker creator, and Timeshift video, to name a few. You can add additional camera apps for free.

The X Compact updates the Xperia Z5 Compact, and runs Android version 6 (Marshmallow), with 3GB of ram, and 32GB of storage. The phone has a 4.6" HD 720p Triluminos display for mobile featuring dynamic contrast enhancement. The X Compact comes has all the bells and whistles we've come to expect from a premium smartphone, including NFC, Bluetooth, GPS, front stereo speakers, a fingerprint sensor (built-in to the power button), and Quick Charge 3.0 for faster battery charging. However, the X Compact is not weatherproof or dustproof, unlike its predecessor, which is a shame.

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Key Features

  • 23-megapixel sensor (1/2.3inch) BSI CMOS sensor
  • 24mm f/2.0 lens, 5-axis electronic image stabilisation (gyro and accelerometer sensors)
  • 5 megapixel, 25mm f/2.4 front lens with 1/5" Exmor R for mobile image sensor
  • 4.6" HD 720p Triluminos display for mobile
  • Laser and Predictive Hybrid AF 
  • FullHD 60/30fps video recording
  • ISO50 to ISO3200 (standard range) up to ISO12800 (Low-light photo)
  • 3GB ram, 32GB storage (64GB on dual sim version)
  • HDR, Panoramic, Creative Effect, Scene modes 
  • 146x72x8.1mm, 161g, USB C, 2700mAh battery
  • Available in 3 different colours

Sony Xperia X Compact Handling

Sony Xperia X Compact Review: Sony Xperia X Compact White (3)

The Xperia X Compact is still quite an angular phone, although this has been toned down slightly with a slightly curved screen and corners that are a little more rounded than on previous models. It still feels quite premium, although uses more plastic than the Xperia XZ. Despite being really smooth, the X Compact feels good in the hand. Unlike larger phones, it's not so difficult to get to all of the screen while holding it, which will be of benefit to those with smaller hands. 

The phone features a dedicated two-stage shutter release button, with the first slight press focusing the camera, and a full-press taking the photo. This is also a quick way to get straight into the camera mode when the phone is locked by pressing it once and holding it down until the phone vibrates and the camera springs to life. Previous Xperia phones have had issues with the lens coating on the rear camera being easily scratched off, which adds to lens flare, loss of contrast, and can degrade image quality noticeably, so this is something to keep an eye on, and for this reason, a protective case is recommended. 

You can use the touch-screen to set the focus point anywhere on the screen. The screen looks really good, with good colour reproduction, and the viewing angles are also good with whites remaining white even when viewed from different angles. 

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To access the different shooting modes in the camera app, you simply swipe up or down for the different modes (if using it in portrait mode, it's left to right), and you can quickly switch between iAuto (Intelligent Auto), Manual and Video recording. Scroll all the way to the right, and you can access the Sony Xperia camera apps, which includes: AR effect, sound photo, style portrait, creative effect, sticker creator, sweep panorama, timeshift video, and you can also add additional apps including a "Background defocus" app, and "Panorama 360" and more, all for free.

Running Android v6, the phone should be familiar to most, and even iPhone users shouldn't find it too hard to start using the phone. The phone should also benefit from an upgrade to the latest version of Android, when available. 

The camera is responsive, but not as impressively responsive as the Samsung Galaxy S7, and despite Sony's claims of ultra-fast focus, you can see the camera focus hunt on screen (albeit quite quickly). Whereas the Samsung Galaxy S7 just takes photos straight away, without any perceptible delay due to focusing. 

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Battery life - The battery in the Sony Xperia X Compact is rated at 2700 mAh and like most other premium smartphones can't be removed. This should be good for a days use of the smartphone, and as is the case with most premium smartphones, daily charging is likely to be needed. 

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