Sony's new phone is Android's answer to the iPhone SE


Sony Xperia X Compact

Business Insider/Jeff Dunn

The Sony Xperia X Compact.

Back in 2010, Dell launched a smartphone called the Streak. It had a 5-inch display.

At the time, a phone that large was pretty much unheard of. "Is anyone really willing to carry an object this big all the time, as one would have to to use it as a phone replacement?," read one Business Insider preview.

Man, how people change.


Of the many things the smartphone has killed, perhaps the most tragic is our definition of the word "compact." Today, if a phone has the Streak's 5-inch screen, it qualifies as small. If a manufacturer that isn't named Apple even tries to sell a phone smaller than that, it qualifies as newsworthy.

So let's talk about the Sony Xperia X Compact. It has a 4.6-inch display. It's smaller than, say, an iPhone 7, but it's only really "small" in relative terms. There is still only one Good Phone that is genuinely compact, and that's the iPhone SE, which itself partially exists to wring upgrades out of legacy iPhone owners clinging to the past.

But in a world where smartphones are content consumption devices first and foremost, the Xperia X Compact is the only new Android phone that (1) is decently powerful, and (2) can get away with the third part of its name. It's as small as you'll get on Google's side of the fence. It works on GSM networks (i.e., AT&T and T-Mobile), and it's available now for $499 unlocked.