Sony Xperia U Review

The Sony Xperia U begs to be noticed with its removable bottom caps in different colors and boxy design, clearly aiming for the younger crowd, but its capable hardware and affordable price actually make it suitable for everybody.

We have a dual-core processor, the new NXT design line of Sony with the transparent strip in the bottom, a screen with good pixel density, and fast camera capable of HD video. On paper the only thing to hold the Xperia U back is its Android Gingerbread software, but do all these nice features work in sync in the latest Xperia phone for the mass market? Read on our review to find out...

In the box:

  • Travel charger
  • microUSB cable
  • Spare bottom cap
  • Warranty and information leaflets


Boxy like an old Volvo, the 12mm-thick Sony Xperia U is a shrunk copy of the Xperia S, complete with the curved back and the illuminated transparent strip at the bottom that lights up when you press the three capacitive “dots” above it. Here it can light up in different colors - white, blue, green, red, purple or yellow, depending on the theme and song you play, and this is pretty eye-catching. It also serves a double purpose by housing the antenna, thus allowing easy signal access for improved reception.

You can compare the Sony Xperia U with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The navigational dots here are more responsive than on the Xperia S for some reason, the lock/power key is placed right underneath your thumb, and the volume rocker below it is comfortably long and wide, very easy to press, with good feedback.

The curved back and sides made with soft touch plastic feel nice, and, since we are dealing with a fairly small 3.5” display, the phone is a breeze to hold and operate with one hand. One expected advantage of a thicker phone is that it is easier to grab it lying flat and go, instead of prying some anorexic slab off the table, as is the case with so many sub-10mm handsets these days.

In order to spice things up for the target market, Sony has made the bottom section of the phone removable and replaceable with a cap of different color to suit your mood, clothes, or just because you can. There is an extra cap provided in the box, and a variety of other colors if you don’t like the particular combo supplied.

Pulling the cap out to replace with another color requires just a firm grip and pull-down, but you won’t find any slots underneath, it’s just for appearance purposes. To insert a SIM card you’d have to push the back cover, and slide it upwards, easy-peasy. Thankfully the phone sports a regular SIM slot and a removable battery, so about the only vice in that department is the lack of microSD card slot for expansion of the 4GB internal memory.


No complaints about the 3.5” Reality LCD on the Sony Xperia U - it is sufficiently bright for outside visibility, with saturated colors and good viewing angles - better than on the Xperia S flagship actually, where contrast and brightness fade significantly from the sides. Here we only get a slightly yellowish cast when tilting on the right, and that’s about the only deviation.

Thanks to the smallish 3.5” size coupled with Sony’s typical 480x854 pixels of resolution we also have a very good pixel density of 280ppi, making text and small interface elements appear crisp and smooth. About the only gripe we have here is the lack of oleophobic coating on the display, so finger grease accumulates and gets smudged quickly and you have to wipe it pretty often.

Sony Xperia U 360-degrees View:



1. kartik4u98

Posts: 511; Member since: May 19, 2012

only 4 gb memory with no expansion is a big no-no for me...:( Waiting for ace 2...

3. CharlieAtInfinity

Posts: 253; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

That's so true :D the ONLY drawback of this phone... darn you Sony, you lost so many customers because of this decision!! lol otherwise its a great phone...

11. Sarath

Posts: 19; Member since: Jan 17, 2012

I have this phone and having usb on the go,you can connect it to any pen drive. So it does really make up.

32. mobilefuture

Posts: 224; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

does it really have 4gb storage or is it 8gb?? every other website states it has 8GB. please confirm!!!

36. CombatantDrip19

Posts: 3; Member since: Jun 30, 2012

4gb is user available(for music,vids etc),2gb for games nd 2gb fr OS.the latter two are not directly available to u

39. mrRicardo14

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 27, 2012

does the pre-installed apps included in the 2gb free for games and apps? does this mean you kinda get 6gb of memory?

46. saif713

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 10, 2013

Internal memory is 8GB, Some of its (4GB) consumed by the OS (Android). You can use 2 gb of its for storing apps. then remaining of it is yours. so u will get 2+4=6 GB. for many people 6 GB is well enough on phone.

2. XiphiasGladius

Posts: 813; Member since: Aug 21, 2011

The F is with the 4gb int. memory? for a smartphone, really? they could've at least loaded it with 8gb.

7. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Or 32gb. They're just being cheapskates.

12. LoonyLynx

Posts: 13; Member since: May 03, 2012

Cheapskates ? Really ? The NAND memory is the most costliest part of a smartphone. This phone has an 8 GB internal memory, of which 2 GB can be used for applications and 4 GB is user accessible, meaning for songs n videos n pics n stuff. I agree that they should have thrown in a micro sd card slot. But they're in no way making cheap phones ! Apart from this, this phone doesnt have a single flaw !

29. bvbarmy

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 14, 2012

TRUE FACT: 1 GB of memory only actually costs £00.07 (7p).

19. JayRaj

Posts: 54; Member since: Oct 31, 2010

The actual internal memory is 8 gb of which 4 gb is for user content and the other 4 is for apps and stuff.

4. amaranth

Posts: 4; Member since: May 28, 2012

4Gbs you have got to be kidding? Really? And why are they still selling phones with Gingerbread?

5. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

How is "lack of oleophobic coating" a con? I've never seen it listed as a con on any other phone without an oleophobic coating.

15. Jyakotu

Posts: 867; Member since: Dec 12, 2008

Agreed. I didn't even understand what PA meant when I read that. Like, seriously.?

6. blade

Posts: 32; Member since: May 28, 2012

4gb is really little i agree but it also available at cheap price this is the cheapest dual core phone i would not mind buying it also it sports usb otg so for someone it might not be a serious problem but if this phone comes with 8 gb it dfinetly a win

13. LoonyLynx

Posts: 13; Member since: May 03, 2012

It does has 8 GB. Just the user accessible is 4 GB. 2 GB for applications too.

8. darktranquillity

Posts: 285; Member since: Feb 28, 2012

4gb!. Sony must've been overtaken by some moron's

9. Yummy

Posts: 117; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

The first line under design: "boxy like a Volvo" You have to be old to lol at that XD

10. mooving

Posts: 1; Member since: May 28, 2012

and the the reviewer mention nothing on Xperia Sola in comparison which almost the same price range instead recomend over last year model, ray come on, could this be really phonearena review?

14. LoonyLynx

Posts: 13; Member since: May 03, 2012

Daniel P. : A very nice review indeed. But can you please highlight the fact that this phone actually has a total 8GB of internal storage ! 2GB is for applications and 4GB is user accessible for data n stuff ! Most people here believe that it's just 4Gb ! Please elaborate !

16. Jyakotu

Posts: 867; Member since: Dec 12, 2008

The phone's design looks great and way better than some of the slabs we see from other Android OEMs. Sony, honestly, has some of the better looking hardware for Android. If only Sprint and Sony were good, I would easily buy a Sony Android phone. *sighs* Also, like someone started, this phone has 8GB of storage, 2GB for apps, 4GB for users. And I'm starting to get used to lack of microSD slot. Face it, everything is about to transition to "cloud storage." Looking at the advantages now, I think it's pretty handy to have all your files stored on a website or your computer in case you lose your phone. And also, most of the cloud storage services with apps give you more than enough additional space for music, movies, videos and more.

17. Praesepe

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 11, 2011

This is a really good phone, its only "flaw" is the lack of microsd support. Now PhoneArena, review the Sony P, that's the real deal, I don't know where I've read it photos are even better than the S's.

25. issy_i

Posts: 5; Member since: May 27, 2012

have you been sleeping? Xperia P review is allready out acouple of days ago

18. DawsonLee

Posts: 26; Member since: Apr 03, 2012

The only draw back would be the absence of a micro SD card slot, wished Sony could be a bit wiser on that

20. loken

Posts: 462; Member since: May 09, 2012

sony cud make a phone with 13mpx cammera like on the gx and floating touch on xperia sola and white magic display on xperia u + the customizable colors on the xperia u !!!! this wud be a damn hell of a phone :D + an arc back

21. Zerogates

Posts: 2; Member since: May 29, 2012

its a well known fact that phones tend to slow down once you start filling them up with a lot of apps and some hd games(which are what good android games today all about)......limiting the amount of memory allocation for these can work in greatly improving the phone's efficiency.....and for those of you who need more.....OTG is always there......u just need the cable and a sufficient capacity pendrive.....the features in this phone are simply unbeatable at this price guys....

22. Mittal

Posts: 494; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

I personally find the SOny Ericsson Experia designs much better than the NXT series!

23. AngelDust

Posts: 1; Member since: May 30, 2012

Android newbie here - it is mentioned that it is upgradeable to ICS but how exactly does one go about this upgrade? Thanks in advance.

24. Nick_T

Posts: 187; Member since: May 27, 2011

You will have to wait until Sony releases the software update first. Then eventually, you will get an update notification. It is hard to say exactly when this is going to happen, however, as these updates take time and release dates vary by region.
Xperia U
  • Display 3.5" 480 x 854 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Processor ST Erricson NovaThor U8500, Dual-core, 1000 MHz
  • Storage 8 GB
  • Battery 1320 mAh(5.60h 3G talk time)

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