Comparisons are inevitable when new phones come around, and the Sony Xperia X Performance looks like the true successor to the Xperia Z5. It's the top-tier device within the new X-series lineup with a Snapdragon 820 chipset, a hefty 3GB of RAM, IP68 certification for water resistance, and it is the only Xperia X model to feature a brushed aluminum backside.
The X Performance looks very similar to the Sony Xperia X. Even the button layouts and design are essentially the same. The differences lie in the actual dimensions and weight, as the Xperia X Performance is slightly bigger in every dimension and weight, so we think it's safe to say Xperia X and X Performance cases won't be very interchangeable even though both have 5-inch screens.
The right side on the X Performance is where all the buttons are, including the power button, volume rocker, and dedicated camera button with two-stage focus and shutter for a great camera experience.
It's worth noting that while the X Performance (the Xperia X included) was announced with a fingerprint reader for unlocking the device, the feature won't make it to the US version of either model.
Continuing our tour of the Xperia X Performance, we come to the SIM tray. Rather than using a pin-ejected tray, Sony is using a flap that pulls out the tray that holds both the nanoSIM and microSD card as well. This is on the left side of the device and we really like the convenience of no longer needing to carry a SIM-eject tool around to access the microSD card slot.
The backside showcases Sony's Xperia branding alongside the brushed metal finish, which looks beautiful when held against the light. The Xperia X (non-Performance) which also features a metal backside, is of a matte, anodized finish instead of brushed aluminum. Both the Xperia X and X Performance used polycarbonate to craft the rounded-edge borders all the way around. If you've held any Sony Xperia phone in the past few years, you'll feel right at home.
Right at the corner, you can see the camera setup. Sony's got its 23MP camera sensor with LED flash, object tracking, and Sony's new Predictive Hybrid Autofocus. Meanwhile in the front, there is a 13MP sensor that also features Sony's SteadyShot electronic image stabilization to allow for shake-free still images.
The front of the device has Sony's 5-inch LCD screen, which is 1080p in resolution. While many other high-end devices are already past 1080p and are sitting well in QHD territory, Sony doesn't think you need any more than 1080p for a screen of this size. While this may sound like marketing talk at first, they may actually be right as in our experience the difference is really hard to spot from a foot's worth of distance by a naked eye on this screen size. What we wish the phone had though, is a slightly bigger screen.
At least, on either side of the screen there are front facing speakers. The top speaker also doubles as the handset's earpiece during phone calls.
Peculiarly, the Xperia X Performance and Xperia X both have the NFC antenna placement in the front of the device, just to the left of the front-facing camera. This is how Sony was able to make its phone with metal all over the back. Otherwise, antenna line inserts would have to be used in order to let NFC stay on the backside.