Sony Xperia U

Feature set summary for Sony Xperia U review
The five-megapixel snapper produces clear, colour pictures and offers some nice features including panorama mode.
Sony Xperia U

Style and handling summary for Sony Xperia U review
The Sony Xperia U seems really small to hold, even though it is quite chunky. We’re fond of the see-through glowing bar and the interchangeable coloured lips.

Battery power summary for Sony Xperia U review
The battery is battered by the dual-core chip, so apps fans won’t see it last more than 24 hours.

Performance summary for Sony Xperia U review
It may be small, but the Xperia U has a dual-core processor that can cope with pretty much any game or app. It’s futureproof.

User friendliness summary for Sony Xperia U review
The small screen may put off some, but we found it fine for texting, emailing, running apps and surfing the net – it’s helped by the responsive touch screen and decent resolution. The snapper key can be rather stiff though.

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.