Although Apple already launched their new line-up of incremental upgrades in the form of the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus remain a bit more popular due to their adoption rates. Sony also just launched the Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Premium and the crowd-favorite Xperia Z5 Compact. After a two-year wait since the Xperia Z3 Compact was launched, fans of the company are finally getting a reboot of one of the best compact smartphones on the market. With that in mind, we decided to make a short comparison between the Xperia Z5 Compact and the iPhone 6 to see if those who want to upgrade from the iPhone 6 would be better off with the Xperia Z5 Compact or if those in the game for a new smartphone should chose one of these from the massive pool of offers out there.
The Xperia Z5 Compact and iPhone 6 are very different smartphones with very different user interfaces and experiences. While preference for OS is a deciding trait when shopping, both these handsets offer a lot more than just software. When choosing a new smartphone, one of the most important things we first look at is software, because those used to Android will ahve abit of a learning curve to master if passing to iOS and vice versa. Still, hardware is a very important aspect, too and since we’re talking flagships, it’s interesting to see which of these devices performs better, considering the gap between the launches.
The Xperia Z5 Compact was launched just a few weeks ago while the iPhone 6 is already more than a year old, having been one of the biggest launches of last year both for Apple and the community of smartphone fans too. Both phones target those who enjoy premium design and top-notch features in a more maneuverable body than that of a phablet with a large display. The appeal of both is in design, as well as performance and features, so let’s see which one stands out in the crowd and has the better value for money at the end.
The Xperia Z5 Compact release date was at IFA Berlin this year, with sales of the smartphone beginning this month. The handset was launched in tandem with the Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Premium as the more affordable variant of the family. with early reviews depicting positive experiences, the Xperia Z5 Compact is quickly becoming more popular. Its successor, the Xperia Z3 Compact was a hit with U.S. customers who enjoyed the smaller form factor and the waterproof certification, which is one of the main selling points of the device. Sony continued down that road with the Xperia Z5 Compact and managed to create a device that accurately represents what Sony fans wanted from the device.
The Xperia Z5 Compact’s most compelling feature in the face of the competition is its IP68 dustproof and water resistant certification, which protects the phone for 30 minutes if immersed in 1.5 meters of sweet water. That’s an advantage for those who have active lifestyles, but also for those who tend to be clumsier with their phones. One of the newer features that Sony added to the Xperia Z5 Compact and its siblings is the fingerprint sensor, which can be found unconventionally positioned on the side of the phone, embedded in the home button. The fingerprint sensor-home button combo add quite the premium feel to the phone, as well as make unlocking it hella simple. With all the different placements of fingerprint sensors (mostly on the home button and on the back), Sony took a unique approach which fans seem to like.
When it comes to design, the Xperia z5 Compact is created according to the new minimalist design philosophy of the company. The handset is symmetrical, with slightly larger bezels compared to the Z3 Compact, straight edges and a unique design that makes the phone look the same from every angle. There aren’t any curves or indentations like on other phones and that actually looks rather clean and sleek. Although the frame of the Xperia Z5 Compact is made of polycarbonate with a matte glass back panel that looks and feels just right, the handset manages to still seem premium thanks to its heavier than usual body and simple design. Some might like the minimalist design, while others might find it a bit boring. The choice in the matter lies in preference.
Sony did botch things up a bit when we look at the sides of the phone however, as the lanyard holes are plain disturbing. At the same time, the volume rocker is a bit small and high up on the side of the phone, making it a bit hard to reach. There’s a shutter button near the bottom of the phone’s sides, which will no doubt be a convenient button to have in the long run, especially for those who take photos under water, for example. Speaking of, the cover flaps from ports have been removed, after many Xperia Z3 Compact users complained of their ugliness.
Under the hood, the Xperia Z5 Compact was outfitted with top-notch hardware to stay in tune with the premium feeling of the phone. There’s a Snapdragon 810 CPU on board, backed by 2 GB RAM and 32 GB of internal storage. Sony also included a microSD card slot in the phone which can hold cards up to 200 GB for extra media storage, in case one needs it. At the same time, the Xperia Z5 Compact software is Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box, with Android 6.0 Marshmallow coming to the handset in December. Performance of the handset is exemplary and there are no overheating issues with the Snapdragon 810 SoC within, which is good news. Android is buttery smooth and while Sony’s Xperia skin is still there, it offers a seamless user experience with a couple of extra features courtesy of Sony.
The Xperia Z5 Compact display measures 4.6-inches and comes with a resolution of 720*1280. While that might seem outdated in 2015, the Triluminous display of the phone is certainly on par with that of the iPhone 6. The colors are sharp, crisp and clear and viewing angles are great even in outdoor lighting conditions. Although a higher resolution, like FHD, would have been a neat addition, the display doesn’t really need that many pixels as it’s rather small. The reduced size of the panel also contributes to an extended battery life that is supported by the fixed 2700 mAh battery, equipped with fast charging via Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0.
Battery life on the Xperia Z5 Compact is excellent, just as it was on its predecessor. Users of the phone should expect about 13 hours of video play, with at least the same amount of on-screen time. With regular use, the Xperia Z5 Compact can last up to two days on a single charge and Quick Charge 2.0 makes charging quite fast and easy, which is a bonus. Although the Xperia Z5 Compact battery life is not as impressive as its predecessor’s, it’s still above the average autonomy of smartphones on the market. That being said, the handset can become a good daily driver for active people and power users as well.
As usual, Sony put a lot of thought into the camera setup of the device. Although there aren’t too many novelties in it, the setup is pretty top-notch and can compete with most devices out there. On the rear, the Xperia Z5 Compact measures 23 MP and comes with phase detection autofocus and a single LED flash. Although optical image stabilization would have been a nice feature to have, the handset still manages to take very good photos. Thanks to the extensive manual controls that are available in the camera app, the shooting experience of the device is one of the best there is out there in the smartphone world. The front camera of the device is a 5.1 MP selfie-machine, and it’s quite good.
With all that, let’s see how the iPhone 6 measures up. The iPhone 6 design is much more elaborate than that of the Xperia Z5 Compact, mostly because it’s made up of an aluminum unibody with chamfered edges and antennae lines on the back. The Touch ID fingerprint sensor is located as usual embedded in the home button and adds a good deal of familiarity to the handset. The iPhone 6 carries a slightly bigger footprint than the Xperia Z5 Compact, and has a more slippery design on its back. Its sides are more streamlined, however, giving the handset a rather premium feel. The thin and lightweight body of the handset can also be considered an advantage compared to Sony’s compact device, but that once again depends more on preference than anything else.
While we can’t really say anything about the overall durability of the Xperia Z5 Compact, the iPhone 6 is quite durable. Even though it comes with a surprisingly thin body, the iPhone 6 doesn’t bend and it doesn’t easily get scratched. Fingerprints are much more prominent on its back panel than they are on the matte glass of the Xperia Z5 Compact, but that’s a negligible problem as most smartphones are fingerprint magnets anyway. The deciding factor in build quality and durability however acts in the favor of the Xperia Z5 Compact – waterproof certification. Although Apple fans have repeatedly suggested that iPhones be made waterproof, that hasn’t happened yet. It might happen with the iPhone 7, though. Until then, however, the Xperia Z5 Compact and its siblings are among the few waterproof flagships available on the market.
The iPhone 6 is water resistant to a certain degree, but immersing it in water is not recommended. The Apple-made handset wins in the design department, even though personal preference for me dictates that the Xperia Z5 Compact looks better. Still, the premium look and feel of the device are more worthy of attention in a general sense. The metal case is more appealing in appearance, even though the Xperia Z5 Compact’s matte glass back panel is marvelous in its appearance. It remains up to your own preference.
The iPhone 6 doesn’t sound like much when we look at specs on paper, having seemingly outdated cameras and processors. Nonetheless, the combination of iOS and high-end hardware make for a smooth user experience that rarely encounters problems. iOS 9.0.2, which is the latest OS available for the iPhone 6, still has its buggy nature and problems, but with iOS 9.1 everything should be fixed – or at least that’s what we’re hoping for. With that in mind, the iPhone 6 specs include Apple’s own Apple A8 chipset backed by 1 GB RAM and 16, 64 and 128 GB internal storage available, depending on the configuration you choose.
iPhone 6 performance is usually top-notch, with sleek and smooth animations and a streamlined and easy to use experience. Although iOS 9 is missing a couple of important features, performance-wise, the handset runs really well on the fresh operating system from the company. If we compared the performance of the Xperia Z5 Compact and iPhone 6, consensus would be impossible to reach in my opinion, as both run buttery smooth with generally no hiccups. Now it depends on your preference, once again: Android or iOS? It also depends on what ecosystem users are familiar with, as those embedded in Google won’t like what iOS has to offer and vice versa.
The display of the iPhone 6 is a 4.7-inch LED-backlit IPS display with a Retina resolution of 750 x 1334. While resolution on the Xperia Z5 Compact display is better, viewing angles and outdoor viewing is better on the iPhone 6. At the same time, Apple’s display technology is superior because it offers a more immersive experience due to the backlit panel behind the screen. The durable glass panel is on par with the one on the Xperia Z5 Compact, although waterproof certification comes as a bonus for Sony’s device in the long run. 3D Touch is not available on last year’s model, which might make the iPhone 6 less appealing than its newer 6S variant launched last month.
The camera setup of the iPhone 6 sounds eerily sub-par, but the 8 MP iSight camera on the rear of the device can easily be confused with a 16 MP camera with OIS. Although there isn’t any optical image stabilization, post processing is a very important and well-constructed part of Apple’s design. The dual-tone LED flash on the back is a bonus compared to the Xperia Z5 Compact, but the iPhone loses points because of its lack of 4K recording abilities, which are present on Sony’s new compact device. The front FaceTime camera on the iPhone 6 ison par with the one on Sony’s device.
iPhone 6 battery life is a sore spot for many, seeing as the handset come swith a sealed-in 1810 mAh battery. It doesn’t support fast charging nor does it support wireless charging, which is a bummer for such a new phone. At the same time, battery life leaves room for improvement, as the most these handsets can go for on a single charge with regular use is about one day and a bit. Considering the high price and the rest of the premium features of the phone, compromising on battery life was not a good choice for Apple.
Now that we’ve arrived to the end of our comparison, let’s see about pricing. The Xperia Z5 Compact price is £429 on Sony’s site, which translates roughly to $660. The iPhone 6 price starts at $550 for the 16 GB unlocked version, while the 64 GB variant costs about $650. If you are a fan of internal storage, the iPhone 6 is the better deal, but otherwise, the Xperia Z5 Compact still sounds like a very good investment. Keeping in mind the extra features missing from the iPhone 6, such as waterproof certification, shutter button, powerful camera, Android 5.1.1 Lollipop and great performance and battery life, the Xperia Z5 Compact offers better value. At the same time, US pricing for the handset might differ, so we might see it being cheaper in the U.S. So, which do you choose?