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Sony Xperia X Performance review: A water-resistant speed demon

The smartphone is a Category 9 LTE device, so on the right network you get a theoretical top download speed of 450Mbps. Wandering around Sydney's CBD, I saw average download speeds of 70-80Mbps and upload speeds of around 30-40Mbps. Or at least I did after I fixed some settings. The Performance defaulted to not connecting to 4G, which confused me until I was able to make the appropriate setting changes.

Battery Life

If there's one element of the Performance that doesn't impress, it's the battery life. Scoring on average just over 10 hours in our tests, it felt equally disappointing in real-world use. While trying the camera out at lunchtime, I could practically see the percentage on the 2,700mAh battery ticking down like a time bomb.

I understand that the big processor and faster 4G will eat some battery life, but for a small-ish phone with (by today's standards) a pretty low-resolution screen, it's a crying shame. The only saving grace is the Qnovo charging technology, which promises 5.5 hours of battery life from a 10 minutes charge, but I'd prefer a bigger battery.

Camera

The camera is the exact same excellent 23-megapixel snapper that's on the Xperia X. You can read that review for more details, but suffice to say that the rear camera takes some crisp shots (if occasionally slightly overexposed) and is very good in low-light conditions.

The dedicated camera button is a standout feature, opening up the camera even from a fully locked screen in under two seconds.

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The inside of Sydney's iconic State Theatre was extremely dark, but the default camera mode got a very clear low light shot.

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A bleak (and cold) Sydney day caused a slightly washed out look to the photos of the Hyde Park Fountain.

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For the user who prizes power over pretty looks, it's hard to go past the Sony Xperia X Performance. The design might be sedate, but it's comfortable to use and the experience is akin to driving a high-powered car -- and that goes for the fuel economy too. A better battery life would push this into a new category of excellent, but even without that I can recommend the X Performance, at least for Australia and the UK. My American cousins might need to have a think about how essential a fingerprint scanner is before committing their dollars.

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