iPhone 5C vs Sony Xperia Z1 Compact: The best 'baby brother' for you

But maybe baby isn't the right word...

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In the quest for searching for a new handset there are only a few handsets that actually stand out, but with their bright colours the chances are you've seen the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and Apple's iPhone 5C.

If after reading our full in depth reviews of both you're still struggling to work out which one of these 'cut down' handsets is right for you then you've come to the right place.

Here we give each of these handsets another run through and pit them against each other in order to answer that all important question: which handset it right for you?

Design

Both handsets follow a similar design DNA as their larger siblings, although that is slightly less pronounced on the iPhone 5C.

Its plastic chassis doesn't come with the same premium feel that is found on the iPhone 5S where the Xperia Z1 Compact still comes with the metallic and glass exterior that made the Xperia Z1 so stylish.

iPhone 5C
But it's not metal

In terms of sheer size the iPhone 5C comes out smaller all round, the curved plastic back wrapping around makes it smooth and really comfortable. Measurements of 124.4 x 59.2 x 9mm and 132g means it sits very easily in one hand.

That's not to say that the Xperia Z1 Compact is uncomfortable, measuring a mere 127 x 64.9 x 9.5mm, so still very similar in size. The extra 5g in weight is also barely noticeable; it would take a lot to call the Z1 Compact heavy.

The biggest difference is the whole feel that you get when holding the handsets, something that is particularly noticeable when holding an Xperia Z1 Compact, where the iPhone 5C takes an "unapologetically plastic" approach that many have equated with cheap.

A glass and metal frame alludes to a high end device even when holding the lime green or pink options, although we'd struggle to say the effect isn't slightly muted .

Sony Z1 Compact
A slightly more muted colour palette

This means that it fits into an office environment much better and will suit those that don't wish to look so conspicuous when out and about.

The colours of the iPhone 5C (white, pink, green, yellow and blue) help the Apple handset stand out a lot more, something that is vital in the evil world of playground politics or for those that really want to express themselves through their phone.

Elsewhere though the Xperia Z1 Compact trumps the iPhone 5C thanks to its IP58 certification. This means that it comes with enough waterproofing to survive being dropped in a puddle, a bath or even the kitchen sink (although we're never going to advise making calls whilst in the shower).

Z1 Compact
The camera button

Covering of all the vital ports with the genius idea of leaving the headphone port exposed really gives the Xperia Z1 Compact something extra to shout about, as well as coming with the ability to take photos underwater with thanks to a dedicated camera button.

Camera

A dedicated camera button certainly hints that the camera isn't something that can be ignored on the Xperia Z1 Compact. Other clues might also have given it away; Sony crowing about the massive size (a whopping 20.7MP), the G Lens and Exmor sensor.

On top of that it should be clear that the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is gunning for the compact camera market, something that is abundantly clear within the naming strategy.

Z1 Compact
The camera on Sony's phone

Apple hasn't left the iPhone 5C to suffer though, even if the 8MP sensor brought over from the iPhone 5 seems more than a little diminutive when stood in direct competition against the monstrous 20.7MP of the Sony.

Even the front sensor of the compact Xperia is much larger than that of the iPhone 5C, coming with a 2MP offering rather than the 1.2MP that comes with the Apple.

iPhone 5C

Sony has kept the same camera that graced the Xperia Z1 on the Compact and with it has also brought over the same revamped camera app.

This means that the AR Mode, varying filters, superior auto and Timeshift modes all make an appearance as well as Social Live which allows for live broadcasting over social media.

These modes will prove very handy when it comes to showing off your latest snaps to the likes of Flickr or Instagram.

Budding photographers won't be left disappointed with the iPhone 5C though; its stripped back camera app provides little in the way of customisation but there are still a few filters that can be applied.

Where the Sony provides oodles of camera gizmos, Apple has taken it the other way.

Both just about border on providing too much or too little but it is to both of their credit as they both provide a unique experience with the Xperia Z1 Compact allowing you to explore to your heart's content and the iPhone 5C providing you with a really simple easy to use app.

In terms of performance there was always going to be a difference even if you don't subscribe to the 'more megapixels means better imagery' scenario.

In short, while the iPhone 5C provides a more-than-adequate mobile camera experience the Xperia Z1 Compact comes as one of the best handsets on the market for taking photos.

Screen

There are a few things that mark both the iPhone 5C and the Xperia Z1 Compact as smaller handsets.

For the Apple it is as simple as being an iPhone; (in)famous for smaller screens when the likes of the 5.2-inch LG G2 and 5.7-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android handsets have really pushed the boundaries of what people expect on a mobile flagship.

iPhone 5C
The 4-inch screen of the iPhone 5C

On the Sony the smaller nature is highlighted with the name, you don't call something "Compact" and expect it to be huge.

Size-wise there is little to choose between the two. The Xperia Z1 Compact comes with a 4.3-inch screen making it marginally larger than the 4-inch iPhone 5C, as well as packing in a larger resolution.

While not full HD (that would have been wishful thinking) we're treated to a HD 720 x 1280 screen that gives a really respectable 342ppi.

On the Apple is a smaller 640 x 1136 resolution which gives the 5C a smaller 326ppi, although there is still a lot to be said about the iPhone's screen.

It comes 'Retina' branded meaning that Apple feel that any higher ppi is indistinguishable by the human eye at the intended use distance, and it is still razor sharp.

Neither screen lend themselves heavily to intense movie watching sessions whilst out and about, those are and will always be the preserve of the larger 'phablets' or even tablets.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
The Sony features a slightly larger screen than the 5C

Instead these screens are far more suited to light web browsing whilst on the train or for playing casual games such as Angry Birds or any of the Flappy Bird clones.

Again the Sony has a small trick up its sleeve in its ability to use the Xperia Z1 Compact with a pair of gloves on. Thanks to nifty screen technology the Z1 Compact recognises touches with a (rather annoying) circle on screen when the sensitivity is enhanced. It's only a small feature but it's one we can see being rather important when out in the cold.