Xperia U hands-on: Mammoth roundup [Video]

by XB on 9th March 2012

in Hands On, Videos, Xperia U

Xperia UFollowing on from our Sony Xperia P hands-on MWC roundup, we now have the snippets and videos for the baby of the Xperia NXT family, the Xperia U. The handset is overall well-received with an understanding that it is a low-end Android phone.

Most sites couldn’t bemoan the handset for having a lack of personality given its mood-changing bar and interchangeable caps. Other consistent positive comments surround the Xperia U’s build quality and zippy performance. Click through for the full roundup.

Xperia U hands-on roundup

Android Central “Followers of high-end Android hardware might turn up their noses at WVGA on any device, but on a 3.5-incher, photos, videos and the UI still look crisp, and color quality is among the best out there.”


Cnet “The stand-out design feature of the Xperia U is its transparent strip near the base, which pulses with different coloured lights, depending on what you’re looking at. There are also swappable caps that add a coloured plastic strip to the bottom of the handset, making it look as if it’s wearing a really mini skirt. All this surface jazz might be too much for some people but you certainly can’t say the Xperia U lacks personality. Like its big brother the Xperia S, the U is sheathed in plastic so it’s very lightweight. Its blunt-edged slab shape helps it feel classy rather than plasticky though. And while it’s not the thinnest phone around, it doesn’t feel or look too chunky — it’s a perfect 10. For Android lovers looking for a budget handset that doesn’t compromise where it counts, on power and performance, the Xperia U could be a serious contender.”

Electronista “The 3.5-inch, 480×854 display doesn’t have the WhiteMagic brightness of the Xperia P, but at least in event lighting conditions, it was still fairly color-accurate and bright enough. What surprised us was how effective the on-screen keyboard could be. Despite a very narrow-feeling design — although it’s the same diagonal as an iPhone, it’s taller — we could still type reasonably quickly with Sony’s supplied on-screen keyboard. Believe it or not, we actually prefer the performance of the Xperia U to its larger counterpart. Possibly out of having fewer pixels to draw. if you want a ‘tiny’ Android phone, this is a definite candidate.”

Engadget “With a 3.5-inch Reality display complementing its palm-friendly size and solid build, there’s not much initially impressive about the phone — in truth, it’s rather ho humm. In step with whatever image is being displayed, that transparent element first introduced with the S changes here to a variety of complementary hues. It’s a surprising value-add, though truth be told.”

IntoMobile “When you pick up the Xperia U, you’ll notice the size of the handset right away. After handling 4.5-inch phones all day, the U looks and feels small. On the surface, the U has a solid, but overwhelmingly plastic build that makes it feel cheap. Its 3.5-inch Reality Display is pleasing to the eye, but it didn’t have the brightness or viewing angles of the Xperia P’s WhiteMagic display. Overall, the Xperia U is a solid, entry-level phone that’ll appeal to the first-time buyer. It’ll also do nicely in emerging market where smartphone penetration is low and cost is a factor. It doesn’t scream like a quad-core phone, but most of its target audience won’t notice the difference. As long as you know that you are buying a low-end phone, I think you will be happy with the choice.”

Phandroid “All in all, we were underwhelmed by Sony’s offering. While they’re cool for who they’re aimed at, we expected Sony to do a bit more than just a slight bump in specs and a couple of novelty features here and there. We recognize that Sony’s focusing more on the content and entertainment side now, though, and those services should prove to be great.”


PhoneArena “As a whole, we can say that the Xperia U is pretty nice little handset – it’s made of plastic, but Sony has come up with a pleasing design, featuring the characteristic transparent line near the touch-sensitive navigation buttons and a changeable bottom part.”


PocketNow “As with the Xperia P, the Xperia U has great build quality and Sony is really taking its new design signature forward with its line-up.”


Recombu “We’re quite fancying Sony’s new ‘low-range’ smartphone. Handsome like its bigger brothers, the Sony Xperia S and P, the Xperia U is the fun sibling, colourful, bright and customisable, in stark contrast to, say, the Samsung Galaxy Ace we’ve just previewed which is somewhat lacking in personality.”


Slashgear “(The Xperia U is) also not the most inspiring designs, but it feels solid and reasonably responsive with its dual-core processor.”

TechCrunch “It is a tad thicker than its bigger brothers, the Xperia S and P, however it still feels like part of the same family of phones, due to the nice feel of the custom Android shell it runs. It’s thicker yes… but not too thick. It felt solid and not “toy-like” which unfortunately is the case with so many Android phones these days. Regardless, it felt good in my hands for the brief period of time I was able to handle it. One “feature” that I am not so sure I find necessary, is the colourful and removable bottom plates. They are there for “self expression”. Clearly, I am not the target segment for this phone, as I find that unnecessary. But for a 16-year-old kid, this could make total sense.”

TechRadar “The Sony Xperia U is a phone that will compete with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 and Nokia Lumia 800 in the market, and it’s certainly given us enough reason to think it’s got a strong chance of succeeding. We’re still fans of the Sony Xperia S’ power, but when you consider we’re looking at a budget-friendly handset with a dual core 1GHz processor, we’re very impressed with the operation and slick nature of the Xperia U.”

TrustedReviews “The Xperia U seems a fun and capable handset. It’s smaller and lighter than most modern Android handsets yet still packs the essential performance prowess. One to keep an eye out for if you’re on a budget or fancy something a little smaller than the norm.”

Unwired View “And the last issue I have with the Xperia P and Xperia U is that they run Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was announced in October. HTC is launching devices running ICS in April. So why can’t Sony do that too? The new Xperia’s will ship in “mid-Q2?, so presumably in May. But they’ll ship with Gingerbread. Sure, an update to ICS is promised, but didn’t Sony learn anything from the Xperia X10 debacle of yesteryear? Or maybe that was Sony Ericsson that learnt that, and Sony still hasn’t. We’ll see.”


The Verge “At first glance, the screen is very prone to slimy fingerprints — some of the fault lies in the crowd, but it also doesn’t bode well for prolonged use, either. The home button on the transparent bar was a little finicky, but the color changing looked great, especially as we went through a gallery of pictures and themes (including amethyst, gold, and sapphire). We were also pleasantly surprised by the bottom cap’s firmness: it will come off when you want to swap caps, but it takes enough work to do so that we don’t think it’ll really ever randomly pop off in your pocket or bag. Performance seems decent enough — no obvious lagging in the time we had.”

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