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Sony Xperia U Review

By Simon Thomas on 12th June 2012


3G Total Score Get phone arrow

Pros :
Clear, vibrant display; small but chunky; dual-core processor; cool interchangeable lip

 

Cons :
Unimpressive battery life; stiff camera key; too small for some users

 

Verdict:

The Sony Xperia U is small enough to pop in a pocket or bag, plus it has a dual-core chip and clear display, making it a great media machine for films and games.

Full Review and Specification for the Sony Xperia U

Sony has just welcomed the smallest member of its Xperia family in the shape of the diddy Xperia U. It joins stablemates including the impressive 4.3in Xperia S and the 4in Xperia P. The Xperia U only has a small 3.5in screen, and feels far smaller than its bigger siblings – and yet it feels surprisingly hefty. In actual fact it is thicker than the other Xperia devices and is nearly as heavy.

 

However, even with its small frame, it manages to squeeze in some decent specs including a dual-core chip and a five-megapixel snapper.

 

Lip service

 

It may be small but the Xperia U has the same design as the bigger Xperia handsets – including the coloured lip that sticks out beneath the display, and a see-though bar, which glows blue when you get a notification. But this little fellow has a neat trick all its own – the lip can be changed for one of a different colour. The back of the device pops off so you can get to the SIM card slot and battery. However, you can’t expand the 8GB of onboard memory, because there is no microSD slot.

 

The snapper is impressive for such a small handset – the five-megapixel camera produces sharp, colourful pictures – although the autofocus takes half a second to do its thing. It also has a few neat features, such as 3D panorama mode. There is a physical snapper key, which we like to see, but on this phone it is too narrow and is hard to push down properly. When we managed to do so, we ended up with camera shake.

 

You can also shoot HD video, which proves clear and crisp – except indoors when it suffers from being too grainy. If you just want to watch a film, the display is good enough, even though there’s not a lot of space. HD movies looked sharp, with little in the way of blur, and decent viewing angles. Quality-wise it is up there with the HTC One V and HTC One S, as long as you can manage with a smaller screen.

 

The small body hides a dual-core chip, which means Android Ice Cream runs really well, and 3D games are smooth with fabulous framerate. It will cope with new games and apps for the foreseeable future.

 

 Battery life suffers, though, and you’ll need to recharge before 24 hours is up if you run a lot of apps.

 

Our conclusion

 

The Xperia U is the tiniest of the Xperia series to dates, and manages to fit in most of the range’s great features, such as a very decent snapper, dual-core chip, and colourful, sharp display. Only battery life proves unimpressive. If you want to watch a lot of movies, you might do better choosing the larger Xperia S, but if you’re looking for a neat handset, the Xperia U proves a good choice.

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Sony Xperia U Review Scoring

  • Style and Handling
  • User Friendliness
  • Feature set
  • Performance
  • Battery
  • Overall Score

Sony Xperia U Phone Specification

Type of device

Smartphone

Operating System

Android 2.3 Gingerbread

Dimensions

112 x 54 x 12 mm

Weight

110g

Form factor

Touchscreen

Input

Touch Screen

Processor speed

1GHz dual-core

CPU

NovaThor U8500

Graphic chipset

 

Announced

February 2012

Status

Available

DISPLAY

Screen size

3.5 inches

Screen type

TFT

Resolution

854x480

Display type

16 million colours

Memory

RAM

512MB

Internal storage

4GB

Memory card slot

 

Camera

Camera

5 megapixels

Secondary camera

VGA

Special camera features

16x digital zoom, LED flash, auto-focus, face detection, 3D panorama sweep, 720p video recording

Sound

3.5mm Jack

 

Music player

Yes, MP3, 3GPP, MP4, SMF, WAV, OTA, Ogg vorbis

Audio recording

 

Radio

 

FM Radio description

FM Radio with RDS

Video

Video recording

 

Video player

Yes, 3GPP, MP4

Video calling

 

Video streaming

 

Additional Features

Browser

WebKit

Games

Yes, downloadable

Voice control

 

Voice dailing

 

Other

DLNA wireless file transfer, xLOUD audio, Timescape social app, TV launcher, Sony Entertainment Network, PlayStation-certified, screenshot capture

Messaging

SMS

 

MMS

 

Email

 

IM

 

Connectivity

Band

Quad-band

Wi-Fi

 

Bluetooth

 

USB

 

NFC

 

GPS

A-GPS

Network

EDGE

 

GPRS

 

HSDPA

 

4G/LTE

 

Other

Colors (Standard)

Black, White

Handsfree speaker phone

 

Customisable ringtones

 

What's in the box

Phone, charger head, USB cable, headphones

Website

www.sonyericsson.co.uk

Battery

Standby

Up to 472 hours

Talktime

Up to 396 minutes

Battery life multimedia

Up to 45 hours music playback and up to 360 minutes video playback

 


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