Sony Xperia U Review
Introduction:

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

Design:

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.

Display:

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:



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