- Poor battery life
- Aluminum back prone to scuffs
- Camera image quality drops off in low light
- Expensive for what it offers
It appears that Sony is retiring their Z series for the latest X series. The flagship phone in this lineup is the X Performance. Despite the high price tag, however, many reviewers were unimpressed with the overall design calling the aluminum back “unimpressive” and prone to scuffs. It is, however IP68 certified making it water- and dust-resistant.
Unlike the Z lineup, Sony went with a curvier design providing a good hand feel for critics. At 0.3 inches thick, it isn’t the slimmest smartphone on the market and, thanks to the use of metal and glass, it weighs a hefty 164 grams. It also has very large bezels with Sony not even hitting a 70 percent screen-to-body ratio. Why are the bezels so large? It’s because that’s where Sony housed the front-facing speakers. For the most part experts were impressed with the audio quality of the speakers as it’s max volume was loud enough to listen to music and movies without distortion.
The 5-inch, 1080P IPS LCD screen is the same one you can find on Sony’s midrange Xperia X device. While it doesn’t match Quad HD screens in terms of sharpness, experts still considered it very clear. In terms of overall performance, they were quite pleased with its color accuracy and overall vibrancy. Sony also offers options to change the color temperate and saturation so users can adjust the display to their personal preference. Besides this, they also praised its brightness and had no issues viewing it in direct sunlight.
Inside are two dual-core processors running at different speeds: two are 2.15GHz and two are 1.6GHz and 3GB of RAM. With these specs, it’s no surprise reviewers had no problem with lag or slowdown during basic tasks like browsing the web. When compared to its competitors, they noticed it actually performed better for more mundane tasks. They noticed an occasional hiccup when multitasking, but they add it was barely noticeable even when playing demanding games.
Battery life, however, is another story. They barely made it a full day with moderate usage and could only reach the second day by making use of Stamina or Ultra Stamina mode. Luckily, it does come with a quick-charge system to counteract the poor battery life.
Megapixels might not mean everything in the camera world today, but pixel peepers will be happy to note the X Performance offers a 23MP main camera. Reviewers were overall pleased with the image quality as they were able to take vibrant and detailed pictures in good lighting conditions. The camera also has some useful functions such as focus following moving targets, shutter button and a full manual mode to adjust white balance, exposure and more.
Unfortunately, experts soon found the limits of the camera in dark and very bright lighting conditions. In dark and mixed lighting, they noticed a fair amount of grain and loss of detail. Very bright lighting led to washed out colors.
Perhaps the biggest drawback for many users, however, is its lack of fingerprint sensor. Whereas most smartphone manufacturers now include this feature, Sony has decided to remove the feature from American versions, the international versions do come with one.
While reviewers agree the X Performance is not a bad smartphone, they cannot recommend it due to the steep price tag. Engadget states, “…in most ways the Xperia X Performance is an adequate phone. The bigger issue is whether a phone…should really just be ‘adequate.’ It’s just halfhearted, and that won’t get Sony anywhere.” Ars Technica adds, “…the X Performance should unquestionably lead the pack of Sony smartphones in design, performance, and features…but it just doesn’t do that. It simply feels like any other Sony msartphone…”