First off, a thank you to Sony for letting us review this device. This is the Sony Xperia U. As part of the Sony NXT range this phone comes in as the budget handset, behind the Xperia P and Xperia S.
The price of the phone varies depending on the store but, upon a search, it seems to vary between £147-£195. As this is a fairly low priced budget handset I wasn’t really expecting much. I used this phone as my main phone for a week and was mildly surprised (baring in mind I’m used to the Samsung Galaxy SII).
In The Box
So here is the in the box section. There is little in the box, just the essentials. There is of course the handset, a micro USB cable, a headset, the usual books and a nifty little micro SIM adaptor in case you happen to have one. The only ting missing that you could probably do with, would be an adaptor for the USB lead.
- Dimensions 112 x 54 x 12 mm.
- Weight 110 g
- Operating System Android Gingerbread 2.3
- CPU Dual core 1 GHz Cortex-A9
- RAM 512 MB.
- Screen 3.5″ LED-backlit LCD (480×854 @ 280 ppi)
- Sound Audio playback, supported formats: MP3, 3GPP, MP4, SMF, WAV, OTA, Ogg vorbis. xLOUD Experience – audio filter technology from Sony. 3.5 mm audio jack for headphones
- Memory No memory card slot, 8GB internal memory
- Battery Li-Ion 1320 mAh, Standby 460h (2G), 472h (3G). Talk time 6h (2G), 5h (3G)
- Camera 5MP with LED flash and digital zoom
- Video 720p @30fps.
Front of device: Screen, front facing camera, back, home and menu touch buttons above the clear strip.
Back of device: Camera, flash and speaker.
Bottom of device: Microphone.
Top of device: 3.5mm jack input.
Right side of device: Lock/power button, volume rocker control and camera button.
Left side of device: Micro USB input.
Look and Feel:
The handset is rather small and because of this seems incredibly chunky, however compared to the other phones in the NXT range, the Xperia U feels a lot more sturdy and less likely to break. It does fit quite comfortably in your hand and the angular shape allows it to sit more comfortably as well. As for the look of the device we see the same clear strip near the bottom of the device which the NXT phones have become known for. On the other phones in the range this strip has capacitive touch buttons for home screen, menu and back. This model however has these buttons above the strip. One nifty little feature of the strip on this device however is that the light on it changes colour to match the theme on the phone. All in all this is a very stylish and sleek looking phone.
The phone is running on a Dual-core 1 GHz Cortex-A9 processor. This is actually a pretty decent processor for a phone in this price range. This enables the phone to handle pretty much anything that you could want to do with it. There is only 512 MB of RAM but it is perfectly adequate for the phone. All in all its a fairly smooth running device. The GPU on this device is Mali-400Mp which is the same as we see in the Xperia P. It allows for a great gaming experience even with such a small phone. I was able to easily run some of my favourite Android games.
The screen is 3.5″ which doesn’t seem too small on paper compared to the Xperia P, yet it makes a huge difference in reality. The screen seems incredibly small. Where the phone is lacking in size however, it makes up in clarity. With 480×854 pixel screen at 280 ppi there is a great level of clarity. The touch screen can be a bit sluggish and slow to respond at times. It can take a several touches to actually get a response out of the phone. Although it is ok most of the time, you would expect more from a phone of this price.
Sadly with this phone we see the same issue that seems to crop up with all Sony phones, that is they come bloated with Sony’s own apps. Before you even begin to install your own apps there are already 5 pages in the menu. This wouldn’t be such an issue if the apps in question were useful to all but when there are apps such as Media Remote, which can only be used if you own a Sony television, then it becomes an issue. These apps should be optional to downloaded later if the user so desires.
As for the home screen, there is fairly simple dock containing short cuts for media, Play Store, menu, messaging and phone. There are 5 screens preloaded with widgets for Sony’s own apps. Yet again it seems that these screens could either have less widgets preloaded or other more useful ones. The only useful widgets really are the clock, weather and Google search bar widgets.
On this device there is a 5MP camera. Everyone can tell straight off that this camera is not going to be great. Pictures are rather blurry with the lack of pixels. Every feature on the camera, such as the auto focus works great, sadly the pictures are poor quality. There is little else worth mentioning here, refer to camera gallery at the end for samples.
The Mali-400Mp handles most games fairly well. Sadly the screen is so small that it’s hard to really get into games. for me personally I felt I had to hold the device rather close to my face to actually be able to interact properly with the game. I wouldn’t recommend this device to anyone serious about Android gaming.
Lastly I will briefly discuss the music player. This is your bog standard music player which functions well. There really isn’t much else to say besides the fact that the device does have a pretty great speaker. I have always admired the speaker quality on the Xperia range, and this phone has not disappointed.
The battery holds it own on this phone. When i used the device as my main phone i found the battery would hole for a day and a half without any charging. If you really push the battery however it will drain a lot quicker, but that is expected anyway.
The phone is held back in a few areas with a poor quality camera, a glitchy touch screen and the screen being overly small. For the price of the phone though, I think it is a fairly good device and a fairly decent budget handset. This phone is great for the first time Android buyer.
Our Rating 3/5: