Review: Sony Xperia X Performance

Sony hasn’t exactly been a name in the smartphone game in a while. But when I reviewed Sony’s past efforts, I’ve always found them to be pretty good phones with great camera optics. Now Sony is back and I am looking at their flagship, the Sony Xperia X Performance.

At a high level, you get more processing power into the Performance, along with speedier LTE 4G connectivity and a slightly bigger battery. Plus you get a 5-inch full HD screen and a the 23-megapixel camera on the rear. I found it to be very easy to hold and easy to use with one hand, which is something that I really appreciate. It is water and dust proof. It’s rated IP65/68, which means you can not only splash the thing, you could leave it under a metre of water for 30 minutes. Not that I tested that as this isn’t my phone. It also looks very sleek and elegant. I got a white one for testing, but it comes in black. Both of them don’t retain fingerprints on the body, and fingerprints on the screen don’t really affect the clarity of the screen. In bright light, the screen is difficult to see. However it is sharp and clear in every other lighting condition.

Under the hood, here’s what you get:

  • A Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 23 megapixel rear camera with predictive hybrid autofocus
  • 13 megapiel front-facing camera
  • 5-inch 1080p IPS LCD display
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage
  • Micro SD slot
  • Android 6.0
  • LTE, Bluetooth and WiFi 802.11ac

The phone feels exceptionally slick and fast. Apps open rapidly and navigating is smooth as silk. This is handy as you can use it with your PS4 to do remote play sessions. This speed even transfers over to the fingerprint sensor. Built into the power button like previous Xperia models, this is the most reliable and quick biometric security I’ve ever used on a phone. Using a Fido SIM card, I got an average 45.78 Mbps downstream and 5.65 Mbps upstream on LTE.

Now one big selling feature of the Xperia X Performance is the camera. It quite simply is impressive based my testing at Toronto’s Pearson Airport as well as having used the camera to do videos for a overview of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as snapping all the pictures of my recent review of the Mazda CX-9. First, here’s the still photos:

DSC_0041DSC_0043DSC_0046

When it comes to the pictures of the planes that were landing, there was no way I could take a bad photo. Autofocus and image stabilization worked perfectly. You’ll also note that these photos were taken as the sun was setting, but they still look great.

Now, here’s the videos. Set them to full screen and 1080P to see them as they were shot:

These videos are very good as they are clear and sharp with great sound quality.

If there’s one element of the Xperia X Performance that didn’t impress me, it’s the battery life. Scoring on average just over a day during my tests. I really wished that it was longer as that’s what one expects from a flagship phone. But in fairness, it does have the ability to stretch the battery life if you do use that functionality. I didn’t and that likely affected the battery life that I got as I tend to be a constant user of whatever phone I have at the moment. Thus your mileage may vary on that front. The price point however is a win. Rogers and Bell both have the Sony Xperia X Performance is $199.99 on a 2-year contract, or $699.99 no-term.

The bottom line? The camera on the Sony Xperia X Performance impresses. So does the speed in pretty much every area. The battery life may be its only weakness depending on whom you are. But even with that, it’s clear that Sony is back in the smartphone game and you should take a look at them if you’re in the market for a flagship phone.

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