The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact is a lot of smartphone for the money, with a powerful CPU/GPU, sharp and bright screen, and long battery life. While its aesthetics could be better, it's the device's weight, more than its fatness, that prevents it from getting a full five-out-of-five.
The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact is, internally, a big upgrade on the XZ1 Compact, powered by the finest Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU money can buy. The camera is excellent, as is Sony support, which should see it getting regular upgrades. And the price is definitely right, too.
Unfortunately, the Xperia XZ2 Compact is fatter and heavier than the XZ1 Compact - noticeably and uncomfortably so. In addition, if you're into taking selfies, you'll be disappointed with the front-camera downgrade, but it's still a decent unit.
First impressions of the XZ1 Compact weren't great, but grew over time. It's a nippy, compact device in a world of ever-larger smartphones. The XZ2 Compact, meanwhile, also offers an alternative in a market crowded with what used to be called ‘phablets', but is disappointingly let down by its weight.
The curved underside, too, also means it has a habit of slipping off of crowded surfaces.
The XZ2 Compact is an undeniably solid handset, with a sharp screen, long battery life, smoother lines and a great specification for the money. Its styling has also been tidied up. And yet, it still feels as if Sony could've made it sleeker as well as lighter.
It simply doesn't feel special and, alongside the Xperia XZ1 Compact it actually feels like a retrograde step - noticeably heavier, unbalanced when used in one hand, but the upgraded CPU doesn't make a noticeable difference in every day use.
And it's the same with the screen, which doesn't appear better to the naked eye, even though it is considerably more highly specified. You'll also need a dongle to plug-in your Bose headphones as Sony's fallen for the USB-C only craze.
Sure, there's a number of solid improvements over the XZ1 Compact - a faster CPU/GPU, higher resolution screen, twice the storage - but most of these don't feel like they make much of a difference in everyday usage, while its overall design feels like a small step back, not forward.
Pricing, though, is competitive. The XZ1 Compact has been discounted from £500 and can now be had for £350-£400, which is a bargain, while the XZ2 Compact offers a lot of smartphone for a very reasonable price - especially when compared to other vendors' increasingly expensive flagship devices.
Buyers of the XZ1 Compact also seem to be very happy with their purchases, if Vodafone website reviews are any guide, so there's no reason to suppose that buyers of the Xperia XZ2 Compact will, likewise, be anything less than happy.
If only Sony could nail the aesthetics.