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iPhone 5S vs Xperia Z1 Compact comparison – Which is the better mini?

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Its a tried and tested fact that upcoming Android devices will always be tested against the prevailing iOS smartphone of the time. In this case, the Apple product is the iPhone 5S, and the new Android expected to debut sometime in February is the pint-sized version of Sony’s best-selling Xperia Z1– the Xperia Z1 Compact, just announced this week at CES in Las Vegas. What makes this comparison interesting is that unlike many other top of the line Android releases, the Z1 Compact is not all that unlike the 5S in terms of build quality and premium hardware.

Look and Feel

There’s no doubting the iPhone 5S when it comes to the looks department, just like with its predecessor the iPhone 5 it has the same slick, refined look with sculpted edges and the sleek aluminium body that is the iDevice hardware trademark. The home button pulls double duty as a security feature with the fingerprint scanner built into it, the first of its kind, but does not otherwise affect the overall aesthetic in a bad way.

Most Android devices with a similar form factor probably will not hold up to such superior design language, but the Xperia Z1 Compact does. With its OmniBalance design language, straight edges and similarly sleek build quality, the Z1 C is both functional and sturdy- and with its water- and dust-resistant features adds something worthy to the pint-sized premium range of smartphones.

The 5S has a 4-inch IPS display with 1136x640p resolution, with 325ppi and displays great image quality regardless of just portraying stuff on the phone, but also projecting the pictures captured with the camera. Colours look great onscreen too, so the 5S doesn’t leave much to be desired in the display arena. The Z1 C’s 4.3-inch IPS display is no slouch either, however, having a more dense pixel count at 341ppi with 720x1280p screen resolution, and apparently can render colours very well while looking sharp overall.


Performance & User Interface

Contained under the hood of the Z1 Compact is Qualcomm’s most powerful processor yet- the quad-core, 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800, along with 2GB of RAM and an efficient Adreno 220 graphics chip. These are pretty high-end specs for a ‘mini’ version, especially when stacked against the Galaxy S4 Mini and the HTC One Mini, both of which featured sizably downgraded specs from their flagship namesakes.

Not so the Z1 Compact, but the iPhone 5S is no slouch despite its size. The 5S runs on a 1.3GHz, dual-core A7 processor, PowerVR G6430 GPU, and 1GB of RAM. While the specs might sound lesser on paper, Apple’s custom 64-bit chipset has already proven to be a high-octane performer, so we expect the performance to match up between these 2 devices.

While both these devices might be ahead of the class for both Android and iOS handhelds, their interfaces are quite different, although with the 5S running iOS7 the differences are getting less with every update. What it comes down to is intuitive and speedy responses, as well as design that aids in functionality instead of detracting from it.

If its down to what creates the most user-friendly and pleasant design, then as well as the Z1 C’s UI is designed, the iPhone comes out tops. Even with the more Android-like, brightly-coloured iOS7 interface, the 5S is still ahead of Android UIs, including the Z1 C. This in spite of the Compact representing among the most refined interfaces on an Android handset, with a look and usability that can be said to be beautiful simplicity.



Once again, Sony does not compromise on quality components just because this is a ‘Compact’ phone. The Z1 Compact will sport an identical 20.7-megapixel camera as found on the big brother Z1, One of the best imagers on the market right now with its G Lens and Exmor RS sensor, nonetheless the camera could still be better, expecially when it comes to taking low-light shots. Still the lossless zooming on this thing is remarkable, thanks to the extra pixels generated as a result of the 20+MP sensor.

By contrast, despite possessing ‘only’ a 8-megapixel shooter, the 5S’ camera is easier to use, responds quicker and more accurately, not to mention the great image quality it produces thanks to the updates the iOS camera app has gone through over the years. The Z1 C’s camera might get better with future iterations, and there are a bunch of inbuilt photo-editing tools and filters to occupy the slight performance hole of the camera itself.


Those who aren’t into phablet-sized devices are spoilt for choice now, with both Apple and an Android have built premium phones with great specs and top notch build quality. The camera and UI does give the edge slightly the 5S for me, but it looks like there’s a winning option in miniature form for both iOS and Android this year. So it’s really up to your preference of operating system.

Here’s a look at all the known specs of both devices, in a handy head-to-head comparison:

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