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Sony Xperia Z3 Compact vs Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini

Katharine Byrne
24 Sep 2014
Xperia Z3 Compact vs Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
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We compare the Sony Xperia Z3 with the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini to see which phone is best for you

The Xperia Z3 Compact is the eagerly anticipated follow-up to the Xperia Z1 Compact. In many ways, the Z3 Compact is almost identical to its big brother, the Xperia Z3, but Sony has managed to pack nearly all its top-end features into a much smaller, more pocket-friendly chassis. It follows the ever-growing trend of flagship models getting their own "mini" model, and there's no "mini" phone that's quite as desirable as the newly released Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini, so we've decided to compare both phones to see which one you should buy.

Check out our review of the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact to see how it did in our extensive performance benchmarking and battery life tests. Our review of the larger Xperia Z3 is also now online so you can see how Sony's latest supersize flagship phone did in our tests.

Be aware that this is purely a specification comparison to highlight the differences as they stand on paper. For benchmark results be sure to read our Sony Xperia Z3 Compact review.

SIZE AND WEIGHT

Dimensions: Both phones are roughly the same size, with the Xperia Z3 Compact measuring 127 x 64.9 x 8.6mm and the S5 Mini measuring 131.1 x 64.8 x 9.1mm. Samsung wins on weight, though, as the S5 Mini weighs just 120g compared to the Xperia Z3 Compact's weight of 129g

Materials: Like its big brother, the Z3 Compact has a glass rear and nylon corners to help keep it looking pristine after a tumble. It's also available in a variety of bright colours, including white, red, green and black.  

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact vs Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini side by side

The S5 Mini, on the other hand, has a plastic chassis and pimpled rear similar to the S5, making it look more like a cheaper mid-range model than a premium handset. We're also not fans of the phone's slightly oily texture on the back panel, as this makes the phone feel quite slippery to hold. It's available in black, white, blue and copper gold.

DISPLAY

The Xperia Z3 Compact has a 4.6in screen with a resolution of 1,280x720. This is one of the biggest differences from its larger Z3 counterpart, but this still gives the phone a perfectly good pixel density of 319ppi

The Galaxy S5 Mini also has a 1,280x720 resolution, but its slightly smaller 4.5in screen gives it a higher pixel density of 326ppi. This means the pixels are more tightly packed together on the S5 Mini, giving it a sharper, crisper image. At this screen size, though, the difference between the two phones is likely to be minimal. 

As both phones only have a 720p resolution, neither of them will be able to play Full HD video at its native resolution, but they'll be able to play high definition content without having to compress the overall video quality. 

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact vs Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini screen size

PERFORMANCE

Processor: The Xperia Z3 Compact has the same quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor as the Z3. We haven't had a chance to test this yet, but it has the potential to be one of the fastest "mini" phones around. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy S5 also uses a 2.5GHz version of the Snapdragon 801 processor and it scored a lightning fast 391ms in the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark test, so hopefully the Z3 Compact will be able to deliver similar speeds when browsing the web.

The S5 Mini, on the other hand, has one of Samsung's quad-core 1.4GHz Exynos 3 Quad 3470 processors. It scored 1,108ms in the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark using its default browser, but Chrome was a lot slower, finishing in 1,510ms. This means the Z3 Compact may have the edge when it comes to web browsing performance. 

Memory: Like most high-end smartphones, the Xperia Z3 Compact has 2GB of RAM, which should be plenty for handling multiple tasks at once in Android 4.4. The Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini has just 1.5GB of RAM by comparison, but this should still be more than enough for running lots of apps and games simultaneously. 

Storage: Both phones are available with 16GB of internal storage, but the Z3 Compact is compatible with microSD cards up to 128GB while the S5 Mini only supports cards up to 64GB. Both phones have their own proprietary file managers to help organise your files, but anyone who likes to carry around their entire music and video collection may want to opt for the Z3 Compact.

FEATURES

The Xperia Z3 Compact is water and dust resistant and has been certified as IP65/68 compliant. This means you can use it up to 1.5m of fresh water for up to 30 minutes and it's completely dust-tight, so there's no way anything can become corrupted by the ingress of dust.

The S5 Mini is also water and dust resistant but is IP67 certified. This means it has the same dust-proof capabilities as the Z3 Compact, but it will only survive in 1m of water for 30 minutes rather than 1.5m. This should still protect it from the accidental drop down the loo, though, as well as getting caught in a torrential downpour without an umbrella.

The S5 Mini supports all of Samsung's wearable range, including the Galaxy Gear, new Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit smart band. It also has a fingerprint sensor hidden inside the home button and a heart rate sensor built into the back of the phone, so it's a good choice if you like to track your fitness. 


Sony Xperia Z3 PS4 mount

The Xperia Z3 Compact doesn't have any of these features, but one of its killer apps is Sony's brand new PS4 Remote Play app. This lets anyone with a PS4 use their phone as a remote screen to connect and control their games. This means you can still play games if other members of your family want to watch something on TV (a similar idea to the Nintendo Wii U's Off-TV Play feature), and it also means you can effectively turn your PS4 into a handheld games console. You'll need to connect the phone to your console via Wi-Fi and use the GCM10 Game Control Mount to connect it to the Dualshock 4 controller to take advantage of this feature, but this is something that will surely appeal to gamers who want to be able to play their games anywhere in the house.

CAMERA

The Xperia Z3 Compact uses one of Sony's 20.7-megapixel 1/2.3” ExmorRS sensor and Bionz mobile processing engine. It has an 8x digital zoom and can record video in 4K. It also has an ISO sensitivity of 12,800 (a world first for a smartphone), which means it should be able to perform well in very low lighting conditions.

The S5 Mini only has an 8-megapixel sensor and can only record video at 30fps in Full HD (1,920x1,080). It doesn't have any 4K capabilities, but until we test both cameras side by side, we'll have to reserve our judgment over which one is better.

CONCLUSION

The S5 Mini may be the offspring of one of the best Android smartphones this year, but we think the Xperia Z3 Compact may just inch ahead of Samsung's handset when it comes to performance, desirability and extra features. We'll have to wait until we get both devices in for review before we deliver our final verdict, but for now, we'd put our money on the Z3 Compact. 

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