In the category of Android smartphones that are around 5 inches or below, there are three standout devices that are truly worthy of consideration; the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, the HTC One mini 2 and the LG G3 S. Each of these devices has its it pros and cons, so we thought it would be a good idea to compare to compare them side by side, battling it out to become the ultimate sub-5 inch Android smartphone.
Watch this in depth video where we extrapolate all of the key differences and advantages that each of these phones bring to to the table:
Each of these three devices have areas where they excel, and areas of possible weakness. Here is a comparison table of the three devices in terms of key specifications.
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact vs HTC One Mini 2 vs LG G3 S: Specifications Comparison Table
|Sony Xperia Z3 Compact||LG G3 S||HTC One Mini 2|
Super LCD 2
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 801|
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 400|
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 400|
|microSD||Up to 128GB||up to 64 GB||16GB|
|Cameras||20.7MP & 2.2MP||8 MP & 1.3MP|
(plus Laser Focus)
|13MP & 5MP|
|Thickness||8.6 mm||10.3 mm||10.6 mm|
|Weight||129 grams||134 grams||137 grams|
|OS||Android 4.4.4 KitKat||Android 4.4.2 KitKat||Android 4.4.2 KitKat|
Design and Build Quality
In terms of design and build quality, we have three really strong efforts from Sony, LG and HTC, each with their own approach to design in terms of materials. The LG G3 S mirrors the larger LG G3 with a removable plastic back cover that has a finish reminiscent of brushed aluminum. Plastic might not be the most popular of materials (ask Samsung…) but LG have in fact done a great job of making the cover feel like decent quality. It also helps keep the weight down (the G3 S weighs only 134 grams despite being the larger of the three).
The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact also uses plastic but in a completely different way. The back feels much more like a non-removable piece of glass than plastic. The is also a more rubberized plastic on the sides, but in general the Z3 Compact manages to replicate the glass and aluminum build of the Z3 very well. The HTC One Mini 2 however retains the signature uni-body aluminum body that we saw on the HTC One M8, a fantastic build that feels great in the hand. Very solid, and very professional.
All three devices use 720p resolution displays, but that is where the similarities end. The LG has a larger 5 inch screen, but credit to LG because the only reason it finds itself part of our comparison today is the fact that it is actually quite a small device despite its larger screen. It has one of the best screen-to-body-ratios ever, being the same length as the Mini 2, but with 0.5″ larger display. The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact however, sports a 4.6 inch display that has one of the brightest panels ever. Sony Triluminos technology also does a great job of getting the most color from those pixels. The HTC One uses a different technology from the other two with a Super LCD 2 panel that also looks good, but cannot compete with Sony in terms of brightness and sharp colors.
When it comes to providing a smooth Android experience we only saw the odd stutter from the LG G3 S, an issue that could probably be resolved with better software optimization, but one possibly not helped by the devices’ 1GB of RAM. Otherwise, the overall performance of the three devices is enough to give you a great Android experience, not least because they each use a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The LG G3 S and HTC One Mini 2 both have 1GB of RAM and run the Snapdragon 400, a 1.2GHz quad-core chip that offers pretty middling performance in our benchmark results. The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact however is fitted with a top-notch Snapdragon 801, one of the best performing processors on the market. It also has 2GB of RAM which makes it better when it comes to multi-tasking and app switching.
In terms of raw performance figures, check out the benchmarks below, where clearly the Sony device is ahead by quite a distance.
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact vs HTC One Mini 2 vs LG G3 S: Benchmark Comparison
|Sony Xperia Z3 Compact||HTC One Mini 2||LG G3 S|
|3DMark - Ice Storm||19363||4567||4614|
The three cameras used on these devices are quite different. Just looking at the mega-pixel numbers for each, you can see that the Sony is way ahead with a 20.7MP on the rear, while HTC are not far behind on 13MP, while LG would appear to be lagging behind with an 8MP shooter on the back. But there is more to life than simple mega-pixel counts. The LG also sports some impressive laser auto-focusing which helps to create some great looking snaps with a quick auto-focus. The HTC also offers a decent 5MP camera on the front, so this may well be preferable if you are a selfie fan. The Z3 Compact however must surely be considered the top dog here. It has 1/2.3″ Exmor RS image sensor with a 25mm wide angle Sony G lens plus the highest ISO sensitivity we have ever seen, reaching an incredible 12,800 ISO level. In testing too the Sony came out on top. It is in fact one of the best smartphone cameras we have ever used.
All three devices feature very heavily customized Android user interfaces, each with their own take on the latest Kit Kat OS. Each has its own flavor and aesthetic approach, but for me personally LG has the best overall design in terms of icons, themes and general looks. HTC’s Sense v6 looks good too, and the Sony Xperia UI is very well organized and slick. I prefer the LG UI, but it basically just comes to personal choice, with three really strong offerings here.
When it comes to battery life, the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact has the largest battery at 2,600mAh, and they have also tuned the device to the hilt with probably the best power optimization we have seen in quite some time. Our tests reveal that the Z3 Compact will give you more than 16 hours of intensive usage, and up to the 3 days of regular usage. The HTC One Mini 2 and LG G3 S are also packing solid batteries (2,110 mAh and 2,540 mAh respectively) but neither can compete with Sony’s dominance here.
The Sony Xperia Z3, as one might expect with its true flagship level hardware, is the most expensive at around $530. The HTC One Mini 2 will set you back around $450 while the LG G3 S is now available for approximately $500. I think that overall, you are looking at three very attractive devices, and I could easily recommend either of them. Let me know in the comments below how you feel. Which sub-5 incher would you opt for?
Don’t forget to check out the full reviews of each of these devices below: