Sorry Apple, I still prefer Sony’s compact flagship

Sorry Apple, I still prefer Sony’s compact flagship
Sony Xperia 5 IV vs Apple iPhone 14 standing

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

There are plenty of options to consider when it comes to smaller flagship phones, even if some of them really are what anyone would consider compact. Could you pick up early 2022 Galaxy S22more affordable pixel 7or the last iPhone 14as just three rock-solid examples that would serve most people very well.

However, at 6.3 inches and 197g, Google’s latest small phone is still too bulky for those looking for something small and light. The Galaxy S22 and iPhone 14 are better suited to this role, but they are still quite sturdy and wide and therefore not always usable especially with one hand. They also don’t necessarily fit in your pocket, although they are much more affordable than their big brothers.

If you’re looking for a truly compact phone, look no further than Sony’s Xperia 5 IV.

However, there is a solution: take a Sony Xperia 5IV instead. With a relatively slim 67mm wide body but a taller 6.1-inch 21:9 display, this is a phone designed for one-handed use. It’s also light enough, but, perhaps more importantly, it’s still incredibly well built. You’ll have to pay for it though, as it’s priced at $999 instead of the $799 of its smaller rivals.

Read more: Sony Xperia 5 IV review: Pocket photography powerhouse

Design without compromise

Sony Xperia 5 IV vs Google Pixel 7 in hand

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Having spent time with all these recent phones, it all comes down to the iPhone 14 and Xperia 5 IV in terms of which phone is the best built. Both metal-framed builds enclose timeless-looking bodies that are more universally appealing than the weirder (more unique?) designs from Google and Samsung. Still, Apple’s completely flat edges make the phone feel bulkier than Sony’s slightly tapered edge.

It’s the little details, too, whether it’s Apple’s wonderfully tactile mute slider or Sony’s snappy and discreetly integrated fingerprint scanner, that set these phones apart. However, Sony’s phone steals a few more wins: I love the dedicated camera shutter button that earns the affection of a quick snap. Meanwhile, Apple’s obsession with face idwhile undoubtedly convenient, it’s an ugly pest on a phone that already offers limited screen space

Apple’s dedication to Face ID convenience eats into valuable small-screen real estate.

Then there are the cameras. Sony has managed to pack a solid triple-camera setup into a phone that’s much narrower than the competition, albeit at the cost of a bit more thickness. Samsung offers a similar setup, giving users much greater portrait and zoom capabilities than the iPhone 14 and Pixel 7, two small phones that stick to the less flexible primary and ultra-wide dual-camera setup.

Read more: Apple iPhone 14 review: The old ways

In our reviews, we noted that the iPhone 14 is usable at about 3x at best, while the Xperia 5 IV is functional at about 4x-5x, thanks to its telephoto camera. I could go on a lot more with the cameras, but suffice it to say that Sony’s eye tracking and color science make the Xperia a more fun shooter too. Of course, you’d expect a particularly robust camera setup for the extra money Sony charges, but it’s managed to squeeze it into a phone that’s even more compact than its rivals.

Can we have uncompromising specs too?

Sony Xperia 5 IV vs iPhone 14 vs Pixel 7 cameras

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

As flattering as this article sounds, the Xperia 5 IV is not a perfect phone. It’s misses Sony’s groundbreaking varifocal camera hardware and it also doesn’t achieve everything we’d like to see in the processing or software departments. It could be a bit better, and that’s a bit of a problem because there really aren’t any other compact flagship smartphones to serve as an alternative.

Unfortunately, small phones are too often compromised compared to their big brothers.

Whether it’s Apple, Samsung, or others, their smaller flagships are also their entry-level models. Unfortunately, you still have to go big to get its best tech. Compact phones with the most bells and whistles are a rarity that only Sony dares to tackle. While internal size limitations are an issue, the Xperia 5 IV’s massive battery and triple-camera setup prove that it’s a solvable engineering problem.

our recent survey on the subject It reveals a decent-sized consumer base that likes phones with screens smaller than 6.5 inches. Sales figures for entry-level flagships reflect the reality that bigger isn’t always better. Big phones are still popular, at least among the enthusiast community. I even keep the gigantic Galaxy S22 Ultra for my daily driver, for now. But that’s mainly because I crave raw specs.

But recently, using some of the latest smaller phones has convinced me that I really don’t need as much screen space as I thought. I’d happily trade anything for a discreet design, improved portability, and one-handed ease of use.

I’d happily trade some screen real estate to stop hooking my phone in my pocket.

I’ll leave you with one final anecdote that sums up what I really enjoyed about the Xperia 5 IV compared to every other phone I’ve used this year: pulling it effortlessly out of my pocket to take a quick photo or check a message. No snagging in the corner of the pocket and no oversized case digging into my thigh.

Small phones are simple and I like them a lot.

Sony Xperia 5IV

Sony Xperia 5IV

3.5mm jack • Great speakers • Reverse wireless charging

A compact smartphone with loud speakers.

Sony Xperia 5 IV is a compact smartphone with a brighter 6.1-inch OLED display than its predecessor and a large 5,000 mAh battery capable of reverse wireless charging for headphones.

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