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Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact Review

We review the Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact, a compact smartphone with 19mp camera, 5mp selfie camera, 4K video, and high-speed video recording.

|  Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact in Camera Phones
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Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact Green (2)

Quick Verdict

The Sony XZ2 Compact gives great colour reproduction, but noise can be an issue when shooting at full resolution, and the selfie camera is pretty disappointing. 4K HDR video is a nice feature to have and the compact size could make this a must buy for some people. 

+ Pros

  • Vibrant images
  • Easy to use camera app
  • Good level of manual controls
  • Compact model has same camera specs as XZ2
  • 4K HDR video recording
  • Impressive battery management
  • Shutter release button
  • Fast and responsive
  • Water resistant

- Cons

  • Low-resolution selfie camera, and poor results
  • Low-resolution creative effects
  • Noise is an issue at full resolution
  • No headphone socket


Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact Green (10)

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact was announced in February 2018, and replaces the XZ1 Compact. It was announced alongside the bigger brother, the XZ2. Both the XZ2 and XZ2 Compact feature the same cameras - a 19 megapixel MotionEye on the back and 5-megapixel wide-angle selfie camera on the front. Both phones are also water resistant and have the same processor, along with 64GB storage and 4GB RAM. The XZ2 is available for £579.99, and the XZ2 Compact can be picked up for £529 on Amazon. Black, white and green editions are available for both models.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact Features

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact Green (6)

The Sony Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 compact have a lot of the same specs and features, in two different sized bodies. Sony is one of the only manufacturers currently putting some effort into high specification smaller smartphones, which is great for those of us that don't want a huge smartphone. 

The XZ2 Compact features a 19-megapixel MotionEye camera on the back, with 4K HDR recording capability. It is also capable of capturing super slow motion footage in FullHD. Sony says that MotionEye technology allows the camera to capture exceptional images in low light thanks to the ExmorRS memory-stacked BSI CMOS sensor, which is the same size as you'd find in many compact cameras. 

The sensor uses predictive capture for better images, and a redesigned 25mm f/2 Sony G lens is said to capture detail and texture accurately for higher optical clarity from corner to corner. Bionz for mobile image processing gives accurate motion detection and fast image processing.

There is also SteadyShot technology built in, offering 5-axis electronic image stabilisation (with a Gyro sensor). HDR photos are also possible. On the front, you'll find a 5-megapixel 1/5inch Exmor R sensor, and 23mm wide-angle f/2.2 lens, which also features 5-axis electronic image stabilisation. 


Below the camera, on the back, you'll find the fingerprint sensor. On the left-hand side of the phone is the SIM/MicroSD card tray, which supports up to a 400GB MicroSD card, and on the right is the volume rocker, on/off button and dedicated camera shutter button. Holding this down takes you straight to the camera app in seconds. 

The design of the phone is a lot more smooth and curved than predecessors in this range, which were very angular, sharp and blocky in their design. The sides and back feature ergonomic curves which feel good in the hand, although the XZ2 Compact has become. The matt finish of the XZ2 Compact makes it a lot more resistant to fingerprints than the shiny glass back of the larger XZ2, which looks stunning but is easily smudged. 

There are only a handful of differences between the XZ2 and XZ2 Compact. The obvious one is the size - the XZ2 has a 5.7-inch screen compared to the 5-inch screen of the XZ2 Compact. Both are 18:9 screens, bringing Sony Xperia smartphones up to date with competitors. They're also vivid HDR displays featuring Sony Triluminos technology. 

The XZ2 has a slightly more powerful battery, at 3180mAh compared to 2870mAh in the XZ2 Compact. The XZ2 also features wireless charging - something that the Compact model doesn't have.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact Green

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact is water resistant, but Sony recommend you don't submerge the phone under water, as there is an exposed USB connection. Both smartphones have a powerful processor - a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and the phone features 64GB storage and 4GB RAM which is impressive especially for a compact smartphone. 

Key Features

  • 19-megapixel MotionEye rear camera with 5 axis e-image stabilisation
  • 5-megapixel front camera with 5 axis e-image stabilisation
  • Bionz for mobile image processing
  • Manual shooting mode
  • Dedicated camera shutter release button
  • 5inch, 18:9, 1080x2160, HDR Corning Gorilla Glass 5 screen with Triluminos technology
  • 4K HDR video recording
  • 960fps, HD super slow motion video
  • Water resistant
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • 64GB storage, 4GB RAM


Sony Xperia XZ2 / XZ2 Compact Handling

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The XZ2 Compact feels very solidly built and has a quality, premium look. For a small phone, the XZ2 Compact feels heavy in the hand and weighs 168g. The sides are made of aluminium, and the buttons are also made out of metal, giving them a solid feel. 

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The camera app, as with the cameras themselves, is the same on both models. This hasn't changed much if at all from previous incarnations. The camera app opens up in the Superior Auto mode, and a quick swipe to the left takes you to manual mode, while swiping right takes you to video recording mode and then in-camera apps mode. Only 3 are included as standard - more can be downloaded. Creative Effect, Panorama and Sound Photo can be selected. Selecting these takes you through to a separate camera mode - no manual controls are available with these 3 apps. 

Creative Effect mode is pretty basic, with a range of effects that can be applied to the image including things like fisheye, vivid and pencil sketch effects. There are 18 in total to choose from, however the images produced are only 2mp in size, so you would be better off using a different app for creative effects. 

In manual mode, focus, shutter speed, ISO, EV (exposure), and white balance can all be adjusted by tapping on the one you want to adjust and using the slider that appears below. HDR can also be selected in this mode by tapping the cog icon.

There are 4 resolution / image sizes to choose from - 16:9 (17mp) 16:9 (12mp) 4:3 (19mp) and 4:3 (12mp). The 4:3 resolution leaves a black column on the screen whereas 16:9 fits the phone screen. Self-timer mode, object tracking, metering and auto capture can all be adjusted by tapping the cog on the camera screen. 

Flash has 5 mode options - auto, fill flash, red-eye reduction, off and torch for a constant light when recording video. 

The front camera only has fill flash and auto flash options. Manual mode is selectable on the front camera however only EV and white balance can be adjusted. 



Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC are built-in for easy transferring of your images to cloud storage or to friends. GPS is also built in, allowing you to see where your images were taken. 

The camera app appears very responsive, and pressing the shutter button down and holding it from standby mode opens everything up ready to shoot in a second or so. Swiping through the modes is very responsive and an intuitive way to quickly select the ideal mode. The shutter button is very responsive and the camera focuses quickly and accurately. 

We tested the smartphone speed using Geekbench 4, and AnTuTu:

  GeekBench AnTuTu  
Sony XZ2 2409 / 8378 263848  
Sony XZ2 Compact 2456 / 8472 262626  

The phone gives impressive speed, and performance, thanks to the latest SnapDragon 845 processor.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact Green (3)

Battery life - The battery of both models is designed to last all day, with Sony's Smart Stamina mode built in designed to predict your usage habits, warning you early if you're going to run out of power and lets you enable stamina mode to cut energy consumption. Sony's battery management has often been very good, and we found the phone would last an impressive amount of time, particularly when not in use. However, if you're going to be away from a power source, we'd recommend getting yourself a portable power bank just in case. 

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