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7 things to know about the Sony Xperia X Performance

The Sony Xperia X Performance isn't exactly blowing everyone away with its amazing quality or value, but every time a Sony phone comes to the U.S. it's at least an intriguing proposition. This time we're looking at a whole group of Xperia X phones, with the X Performance leading the pack as the super-high-end version, with a price to match.

And while the Xperia X Performance can be better described as a mixed bag than a smash hit, it's still one that people are looking at and trying to learn more about. If you're in that camp, you'll want to see these 7 things to know about the phone. Read on.

Small, but powerful

Sony Xperia X Performance and Galaxy S7

Most high-end phones nowadays are rather large, but the Xperia X Performance most definitely is not. Coming in at 143 x 70.5 x 8.6 mm and 164 grams with just a 5-inch display, it's downright compact, almost the exact same size as the Galaxy S7.

That doesn't mean that it's come up short in terms of specs, though — you still get a Snapdragon 820 processor, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (plus an SD card slot) inside that nice metal and glass body.

No fingerprint sensor in the U.S.

Sony Xperia X Performance

For some reason we've yet to figure out, Sony has decided to remove the one-touch fingerprint sensor from the Xperia X Performance it's selling in the U.S. Models sold elsewhere around the world have the sensor integrated into the large power button, and even though the power button has kept the same size and placement in the U.S., you'll have to stick to a PIN or pattern on your phone for security.

This is a bit of a throwback, but you'll also want to consider using Smart Lock to keep your phone unlocked when in range of known Bluetooth devices and locations ... otherwise it'll be quite a shock to go back to a phone without a fingerprint sensor if you used one before.

Water resistant

Sony Xperia X Performance

Sony didn't necessarily make as big a deal about it as some other manufacturers, but the Xperia X Performance is actually dust and water resistant. Sony says you can get it dirty and even wash it off in a sink, so long as you don't fully submerge it in water. So whether you happen to have your phone out when a drink is spilled on the table or it takes a splash by the pool, you don't have to worry about it.

And as is the case on most modern phones with water-resistant coatings, there aren't any annoying flaps or covers on the ports here — you get full access to everything, and it still keeps its water resistance.

Small battery, but good battery life

Sony Xperia X Performance

When you first see that the Xperia X Performance has just a 2700 mAh battery it's understandable to be worried about battery life. But fortunately for any possible buyers, the battery life on the phone is actually surprisingly good even with its high-end specs and great display. Sony still offers great performance on the Xperia X Performance, and that'll also last you through the day with double-digit percentage of your battery left.

Now this isn't a "two-day device" like Sony often claims with its phones (any phone can last that long if you ... don't use it), but that's not really an expectation most people have — the important thing is the Xperia X Performance can handle a full day until it hits the charger at night. Speaking of chargers, that small battery gets topped up very quickly thanks to Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 speeds with the included charger.

The NFC antenna is... on the front

Sony Xperia X Performance

This is more of a warning for anyone who happens to buy or use an Xperia X Performance: because of the all-metal back, the NFC antenna is actually on the front of the phone instead of the traditional placement around back. The antenna is placed to the left of the front-facing camera above the screen, which makes things a little awkward when you want to tap to someone else's phone for a file transfer, and is particularly odd for using Android Pay.

Either way, you'll get used it — just save yourself the frustration of trying to put the back of the phone on things to use NFC.

Unlocked and good for U.S. GSM networks

Sony Xperia X Performance

If you do want to pull the trigger and buy an unlocked Xperia X Performance in the U.S., you can know that it's ready to go with the right radio bands for the popular GSM networks here. So while Verizon and Sprint are out, you'll be able to use AT&T or T-Mobile, as well as most of the popular prepaid carriers out there, without any extra hoops to jump through. If you're curious, here's the full list of network bands:

  • LTE: Band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/19/20/26/28/29/38/39/40/41
  • HSPA+: 800/850/900/1700/1900/2100 MHz
  • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz

The one thing you miss out on, which should come as no surprise to unlocked phone users, is advanced carrier features like Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Wi-Fi calling. You just get the regular setup of features, without the extras from the carrier.

Expensive

Sony Xperia X Performance

Get ready for some sticker shock: Sony is charging $699 for the Xperia X Performance, which will immediately be cause for a double take for most people. Even if you're used to buying unlocked phones, you may not be up for spending over $700 after tax for a Sony Xperia X Performance. Be sure to read our review first, and see how it stacks up against other high-end phones, before making a decision.

If you like the Sony look and software from the Xperia X Performance but can't swallow the price, you can also consider the lower-end models in the line ... the Xperia X is a solid step down by a couple hundred dollars, and the XA and XA Ultra are further below that as well.

More: Where to buy the Sony Xperia X series in the U.S.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

34 Comments
  • Read the article then at bottom saw an ad for Amazon with xperia x performance. Only $640 now they sure did drop that price quick. Let's wait another week and see where we get. Might be reasonable soon.
  • I'd say if it goes to $599 that's the "proper" starting price for it. Still wouldn't recommend it for most people, though.
  • Still overpriced. Wouldn't be at all surprised to see this thing at $499 after a month or two.
  • That would be a reasonable price. Posted via unlocked S7 Active on T-Mobile
  • They're already being put on promotions here in Europe.
    The Xperia X is already seeing 100€ cut of its price, lowering it from 600€ to 500€. It's still overpriced, but I think it's good indication that prices will drop even faster than usual. Still, considering you can get a Z5 for 470€, and a Z5 Compact for 400€, anyone with a brain will go for those instead.
  • Man, it's expensive but I would really consider trying it out if it had T-mobile wi-fi calling. I am not spending that kind of money on a phone and missing out on a feature like that which is available on a $200 Nexus 5X (that isn't sold by any carrier but manages to have carrier specific features just fine). I love the size and the flush camera on the back. Not really liking this color but I am assuming there is something darker.
  • Agree. I have the unlocked HTC 10 and was relieved when I saw that it came with VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling. I'm not as huge of a proponent of the VoLTE as I am the Wi-Fi calling, but having them is a huge plus on an unlocked phone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • So, apparently they could not figure out how to do NFC on the back of a metal phone like others have done? And apparently, Sony gets a positive nod for being "only" water resistant, while HTC gets mocked for the same thing... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well there's nothing to "figure out" here — Sony just chose to have a solid metal back without any antennas or cutouts for the NFC antenna. And unlike most phones Sony doesn't have a big camera pod back there it can use for NFC as well ... so with this design, its only option was on the front. Could they have done it differently to get NFC back there? Absolutely. But it's not a situation of not knowing how to do it. I give a phone a nod for having extra resistance to water and dirt, you're right. Should it be more resistant? probably, but that doesn't mean I'm going to crap on it for having some resistance.
  • The X Performance is IP68 certified. Just like the S7. Sony however has decided to change what they say about waterproof phones since the Z3+. Not because the phones don't have the same water-resistance as before, but because their customer support is horrible and kept blaming every problem of the phones on water damage. So now they say it's splash proof to deter users from going with the phone to the pool.
  • Good points, good points :)
  • Beautiful phone especially in rose gold. For 499€ i would buy it. No VR possible but i think with smartphone batteries, VR no fun anyway. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No thank you.Overpriced and underspecced,what a shock from Sony. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Idk about underspecced, but I agree overpriced.
  • I'm not talking about the chipset. Posted via the Android Central App
  • what spec is it missing then, in your evaluation?
  • I'm going to guess he's talking about the disabled fingerprint sensor. Posted via Xperia Z5
  • Fingerprint reader,OIS,screen resolution(if you have an interest in VR,I do),and I could also say that it is short 1Gb of RAM,if you want it to be comparable to the majority of flagships in the here and now,which by the way,sell for less. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Can't find a single good reason to buy this over other phones. I think Sony knows this as well that begs the question why bother selling? Posted via the Android Central App
  • For 21 dollars more I can get a high end Zenfone 3 Deluxe which has an SD821, 256GB of rom and 6GB of rom and a fingerprint reader. Not going to pay an arm and a leg for a phone thays not great. Posted via the Pokemon Central App
  • That doesn't even have a release date which means it is probably months away and it's basically the size of a tablet.
  • I think you're confusing the Zenfone 3 Deluxe, which has a 5.7-inch display, with the Zenfone 3 Ultra, which has a 6.8-inch display.
  • I think someone at Sony thought going Buddhist on the design was a great idea, but in a market that has everyone scrambling to distinguish themselves from every other manufacturer, this comes across as desirable as oatmeal for dinner. $20 oatmeal.
  • 8. It does not have 4k recording like competitors have at same price range. Not a big deal unless someone want to zoom in video afterwards.
    9. Next flagship from Sony is just round the corner. So this is almost old flagship when revealed. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I just don't understand what Sony is thinking. Not having a fingerprint scanner on your flagship phone in 2016 is ridiculous. Couple that with the price and I am beginning to wonder if Sony is just mailing it in. Nextbit manages to put a very good side mounted scanner on their $300 phone and sony can't? At this point sony should just focus on gaming and fold up their phone business as they clearly are not only not competing, they aren't even in the game.
  • In a nutshell: paying more for less. One picture at a time--LG V10
  • No.
  • Honestly, even if you like Sony phones SKIP the Xperia X line entirely. It's ALL overpriced and you will be equally when not better served with the Z5 line. Yes, it has the troublesome SnapToaster 810 but Sony managed to make the camera on the Xperia X Performance also overheat so...meh.
  • A flagship in 2016 is no fingerprint reader is no flagship, no thanks. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I was a Sony Mobile fan. Currently using Z3 Compact. But lately, I don't like the direction Sony is going. Still pretty satisfied with my Z3 Compact (size is comfortable, performance is good, battery life is excellent), but I think next year probably when I change phone, I won't be sticking around with Sony, judging from their current lineup. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nice try Sony. This is 2016, not 1986. I came from the gutta, now it's all butta
  • Dear Sony, Z6 dreaming or not?? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Remove price from the equation and I would be tempted by this. It looks decent. But it would have to be a lot cheaper. A lot. In world where the Galaxy S7 exists, you need to be EXCELLENT to compete at that price. And with phones like the One Plus 3 in the mid price tier, there just isn't room for expensive mediocre phones. I want a worthy successor to the Z3 which was genuinely excellent. The Z3+/Z4 was laughable. The Z5 was 'decent' as well. And now these X phones are all asking way too much, whilst bring less to the table than competitors. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Since resellers are already putting the phone on sale, it could mean that Sony sold the phone for a lower price at wholesale than they normally do. It's a trick as old as time, where you have a "premium" item with an amazing $100 off sale! I'm just as guilty for feeling warm and fuzzy about finding a luxury item on a good sale price. Posted via the Android Central App (Edit) This is still a disgrace of a phone that I would even have reservations of spending $400 on.