Compact smartphone shootout: Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs HTC One Mini vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini
At a press conference in 2010 Steve Jobs said that a 3.5-inch screen was a perfect size for consumers and no one was going to buy a big phone, referring to, at the time, new models from Samsung and Motorola that featured larger screens. While Apple has stuck with the mantra of its co-founder and limited the screen size of its latest flagship device, the iPhone 5s, to a very moderate 4 inches, outside the iOS universe smartphone displays have grown larger and larger.
Virtually all current Android flagship smartphones come with at least 5-inch screen diameters, the LG G2 and the brand new Sony Xperia Z2 even feature 5.2-inch variants. Those who want it even bigger can choose from a variety of phablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note III, HTC One Max or the Windows Phone powered Nokia Lumia 1520, which offer displays that range from 5.5 to 6 inches in size.
Thanks to advanced display technologies and ever thinner bezels the overall dimensions of the devices have proportionally grown less than the screens but nevertheless large pockets are required for carrying the latest generation of Android and Windows Phone flagship devices. That said, despite the trend toward almost tablet-sized smartphones there is still a large demand for smaller smartphones from users who are contemplating a switch from iOS and its smaller phones to another mobile OS.
Most manufacturers have realized that, too, and have designed smaller versions of their flagship smartphones to cater to those user who prefer more pocketable devices. In this shootout we pit three of those models against each other: the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, HTC One Mini and Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. LG also just announced the G2 Mini but the device is not available yet at this point. We will have a closer look at it once we get our hands on a sample unit.
The manufacturers of the three devices in this shootout have approached the compact smartphone topic in different ways. While Sony's Xperia Z1 Compact is pretty much an Xperia Z1 in a smaller body, including the 20.7MP camera module, HTC and Samsung have not only shrunk the dimensions of the One Mini and Galaxy S4 Mini but also downgraded some of the components.
Both come with slower CPUs than their bigger counterparts and the camera modules are less advanced as well. The Galaxy S4 Mini has swapped the 13MP sensor of its larger sibling for an 8MP chip and the HTC One Mini loses the One's optical image stabilization system. The table below provides a more detailed overview of the specifications of our test models:
|Sony Xperia Z1 Compact||HTC One Mini||Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini|
|Image Sensor||1/2.3-inch CMOS, 20.7MP||1/3-inch CMOS, 4MP||1/3-inch CMOS, 8MP|
|Camera Aspect Ratio||4:3 (16:9 in 8MP mode)||16:9||4:3|
|Video||1080p, 30fps||1080p, 30fps||1080p, 30fps|
|Screen||4.3-inch, 720p||4.3-inch, 720p||4.3-inch, 960x540|
|CPU||Snapdragon 800||Snapdragon 400||Snapdragon 400|
|Dimensions||127 x 64.9 x 9.5 mm
5.0 x 2.56 x 0.37 in
|132 x 63.2 x 9.3 mm
5.20 x 2.49 x 0.37 in
|124.6 x 61.3 x 8.9 mm
4.91 x 2.41 x 0.35 in
|Weight||137 g / 4.83 oz||122 g / 4.30 oz||107 g / 3.77 oz|
|Current Sim Free Street Price||USD 525
*35mm format equivalent
For the purpose of this shootout we have taken sample images in a variety of light situations and compared the results. All shots were taken handheld from the same position. We took between five and 10 pictures of each scene with each device and picked the best one for the comparison.
In its default Auto mode the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact captures downsampled 8MP images but you can access the full 20.7MP files by switching into the camera's Manual mode. We have included both image versions in our shootout to show you what the Sony's camera is capable of in both modes. Click through to the next page to see how the candidates performed in our test scenarios.
Apr 5, 2017
Apr 14, 2017
Apr 11, 2017
Apr 5, 2017
How confident are you that you can spot a manipulated photo? A recent study at the University of Warwick shows that many people are pretty bad at it.
If you purchased a Leica TL2, do NOT attach Leica's Visoflex electronic viewfinder. Leica is working on a fix, but for now, it's possible the viewfinder will break your camera.
Google just released Motion Stills for Android. Unlike the iOS version, the Android app uses a redesigned video processing pipeline that processes each frame of a video as it is being recorded, creating instant results.
A huge copyright lawsuit between photography firm VHT and Zillow Group is heating up again, as both sides appeal a court ruling that granted VHT $4 million in damages.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet spent 6 months on board the International Space Station where he worked with Google capturing spheric panorama images that are now available in Street View.
It's official. PDN has confirmed with parent company Aurelius that 94-year-old lighting company Bowens is indeed going out of business.
The newly launched firmware version 1.06 fixes AF-issues that can occur with some lenses that are not officially compatible with the MC-11 converter.
Voyager is a waterproof smart light stick you can control entirely from your phone. The light has already blown past its $300K funding goal on Indiegogo.
2018 is the last year Photokina will take place during the traditional end-of-September dates. In 2019, Photokina will take place from the 8th to the 11th of May.
The Canon IXUS 50 (known as the SD400 Digital ELPH in North America) was one of a string of high-performing, pocketable PowerShots of the mid-2000s. In this week's throwback Thursday, Barney casts his mind back to 2005.
A close look at the EOS 6D II's Raw files suggest its dynamic range has taken a significant step backwards compared with the company's recent DSLRs. We look at how much difference this might make for your photos.
With a full-production review unit in our hands, we've got over 100 production samples from the new Canon EOS 6D Mark II to share.
Need a break from your day? Kick back and watch the making of a somewhat unconventional mojito filmed on Canon's new EOS 6D Mark II.
The Bonfoton Camera Obscura Room Lens can turn any room into a camera obscura, projecting the view from your window onto the walls of your room.
Adobe just released version 2015.12 of Lightroom CC, adding support for several new cameras and lenses, and baking in several important bug fixes while they were at it.
In this interview, Chiara Marinai, photo editor for VanityFair.com, explains exactly what she looks for in new photographers and photo submissions. Take notes.
Massive corporation P&G is being sued by a Cincinnati photographer for serious copyright violations. If the courts rules against P&G, the company could pay as much as $75 million in damages.
Snapchat's camera-equipped 'Spectacles' aren't so difficult to get anymore. You can now pick up a pair through Amazon for $130.
A group of thieves has made away with tens of thousands in camera gear through a carefully orchestrated scam through Venmo and Facebook Marketplace.
A portrait lens from 1910 might be coming back to life if two photographers from Germany succeed in a new Kickstarter project—the latest development in the craze to remake vintage optics.
The updated version of Google Glass is called the Enterprise Edition and, as the name suggests, it's not meant for personal use.
Charles Ommanney was once a photographer for presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, now he's working for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Image compression software JPEGmini Pro was just updated to handle files up to 128MB. They're calling it "The 1 Feature Hasselblad Owners
Apple was just granted a patent for a camera system that prods, coaxes and manipulates users into taking better group and solo selfies.
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is a better camera than its predecessor, but how much better? Should you buy one?
The winners of the 2017 Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards have been announced. Here are the six photographers who took home the top prize in their respective categories.
A NASA study has confirmed what your ears have been telling you: people HATE drone noise. In fact, it was ranked more annoying than that of "any ground vehicle."
This floating bird video isn't edited in post-production. It's the result of the birds wing flap matching the camera's 20fps frame rate.
Adobe released a major update to Lightroom Mobile for both iOS and Android users today.
Could the future of photo and video storage be... alive? Scientists at Harvard have managed to encode a GIF of a galloping horse into a live sample of E. coli.