The Xperia XZ2 isn't a great phone. It's slippery and awkward, and the camera is where the fingerprint sensor should be. There are just better phones in its price range.

The Xperia XZ2 Compact, on the other hand, is a great phone. It's a perfect antidote to the phablet life everyone seems to lead, and it's got most of the good stuff from its larger counterpart with very little of the bad. And right now, it's $499.99 at Amazon, a $150 discount.

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One of 2018's sleeper hits

I've always been a pretty big fan of the Xperia Compact series — I bought the green Xperia Z3 Compact in 2014 because it was so damn pretty — but the XZ2 Compact is the first in the line that really doesn't make any compromises. The only thing of note it lacks from its larger sibling is wireless charging, but I've found that feature to be so finicky on the XZ2 that it barely matters.

The XZ2 Compact is actually one of my favorite devices of 2018. Sony managed to stuff flagship specs and a decent-sized (or at least long-lasting) battery in here, and the camera doesn't feel like a huge step down from the flagships on more expensive products. It's no Pixel 2, but Sony's at least in the same conversation as the S9, and that's good enough for me.

And while Sony hasn't quite figured out how to get out of its own way regarding software — the Oreo build on here looks and feels like Google's version right up until it throws a dumb curveball and you're like, Why would you do that, Sony? But those moments are pretty rare, and overall I like what the company's done here. It's also received more security updates than any other phone in my pocket this summer, and it's already up to September 2018.

Battery life, too, is surprisingly good. I used it as my daily driver for a few weeks earlier this year and it outlasted a lot of phones with much bigger cells, likely because of Sony's aggressive resource management. Other nice touches include a physical shutter button, a soft-touch brushed plastic covering that looks better in person than in photos, and Verizon support that its more expensive counterparts lack.

A deal at $500

The Xperia XZ2 Compact was briefly sold for $600 when first released, and quickly dropped to $550, where it stayed until early September. Both of those prices were justifiable but not exactly slam dunks. At $500, the Xperia XZ2 Compact is a much more enticing deal, especially given its specs, its plentiful software updates, and its awesome camera.

Read our full Xperia XZ2 Compact review

It's not clear whether this price is permanent or if it will go back to $550 or $600, but if you've been waiting on picking up an unlocked phone, you can't do much better than this right now.

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