Sony’s Xperia range is ever expanding, with the Sony Xperia U being one of the latest models. This handset provides the perfect balance of stylish aesthetics along with an impressive package of features which should suit many types of mobile phone user.
The handset is relatively compact, measuring up at 112x 54x 12mm, the front of which houses a 3.5 inch LED backlit LCD screen. This has a resolution of 480x 854 resulting in a pixel density of 280ppi, which allows users to enjoy multimedia like games, photos and web pages with decent levels of display quality. The screen benefits from the Sony BRAVIA Mobile engine which is on hand to provide more fluid graphics and improved display quality over lesser screens.
Arguably the most disappointing feature of this phone is its level of internal storage. At a modest 4GB, one would expect there to be a form of expandable storage such as a microSD slot, however this is not the case. This means that the total of 4 GB internal storage is the maximum available. Although lower than we would like in a new smartphone, users can simply backup their files and data in their computer with micro USB connectivity, in order to free up storage on the phone.
Like the rest of the range, the Sony Xperia U runs Google’s Android OS, in this case version 2.3 of the platform which also goes by the name of Gingerbread. Disappointingly it does not have the new Ice Cream Sandwich (v4.0) version, however it has been confirmed that the handset will support an update when it rolls out to compatible handsets at various points throughout 2012, depending on the phone’s manufacturer. Sony’s TimeScape UI runs over the top of Android, providing Sony’s take on the platform allowing varying degrees of customisation, while the fundamental functionality remains the same as the stock Android interface. This means apps can be downloaded from the Android Market, while many standard apps operate in the same manner, albeit with the different appearance of the TimeScape UI.
Adding to the phone’s credentials is an attractive camera package which, along with the 5 megapixel camera itself is an autofocus feature, image stabilisation, face & smile detection and a function which allows users to capture a panoramic shot of their surroundings. The camera can of course also capture video footage, with 720p being the maximum resolution.
Internet browsing on the Sony Xperia U is about as good as it gets on any smartphone. The TimeScape UI provides the default web browsing app, with others like Mozilla Firefox and Opera Mini available from Android Market. Download and streaming speeds of up to 14.4 Mbps can be achieved over a 3G connection which is suitable for browsing websites, downloading attachments from emails, and streaming data like YouTube videos. Wi-Fi offers the alternative means of connecting to the net whenever access to a wireless network is attained.
Overall, the Sony Xperia U is a very impressive smartphone. Aside from the minor disadvantage of its low storage capacity and its version of Android, it is a solid all rounder with widespread appeal. Bearing in mind that this is by no means Sony’s flagship Android phone, you will not be disappointed with the features of the device.