Sony has been a relative no-show in the smartphone scene for the last few years, and the recent release of the mid-range Xperia X hasn’t done much to improve the company’s fortunes. I gave the Xperia X just 3 out of 5 stars, yet there’s an even worse phone—the Xperia XA—in the Xperia line-up.
But now Sony is touting the Xperia X Performance, which has all the high-end specs that the company needs to compete with its competitors’ flagship phones. Will this “performance”-caliber hardware be enough to pull Sony out of its smartphone rut? You’ll have to wait for our full review for the final score later this week. Until then, here are three features that already make the Xperia X Performance a better contender than its mid-range counterpart.
The latest processor
The Xperia X Performance runs on Qualcomm’s state-of-the-art Snapdragon 820 processor. This is the same chip that’s inside all the latest Android flagship phones, including the Galaxy S7, HTC 10, and LG G5. So, if nothing else, the Xperia X Performance runs respectable silicon.
By comparison, the mid-range Xperia X runs on a 1.7GHz Snapdragon 650, which is the update to last year’s Snapdragon 615. The Snapdragon 650 isn’t a particularly fast processor, and while its accompanying 3GB of RAM certainly helped the Xperia X in our benchmarks, that mid-range phone couldn’t match the performance of similarly priced handsets.
Armed with the faster Snapdragon 820, it’ll be interesting to see if the Xperia X Performance can match the speed of the best phones from Samsung, HTC and LG. It will also be interesting to see if the Performance model becomes as blazing-hot as its Sony sibling during benchmarking and casual game play.
Impervious to water
There used to be a time when you chose Sony if you wanted a water-resistant Android smartphone. Then, inexplicably, Sony abandoned that particular marketing point—right when its competitors started offering waterproofing.
Weirdly, only one of three Xperia X devices is water-ready this year, and that’s the Xperia X Performance. The device is IP65/68 certified for both water- and dust-resistance. You can leave it under five feet of water for up to half an hour. And the best part is that there’s a nifty physical camera button you can use to shoot video or snap photos under the sea. The button even works with third-party video apps like Snapchat.Read more: Sony Xperia X Performance review: Sony’s most disappointing product in years
A bigger battery
I haven’t had a chance to put the Xperia X Performance through all its paces, including the numerous benchmarks we typically run for our final reviews. Nonetheless, based on its slightly larger battery—2700 mAh compared to the Xperia X’s 2620 mAh—we should be able to conclude the Xperia X Performance can outlast its more mid-range sibling.
But will the Xperia X Performance outlast the non-Sony competition? And will it help Sony redeem itself in the smartphone space? We’ll have all the details in the full review.