Post a separation from Ericsson, Sony seems to be eyeing the smartphone
market with a new vigour and enthusiasm. Sony has recently launched
three mid-range Android devices in the Indian market - Sony Xperia P,
Sony Xperia Sola and Sony Xperia U. Price at Rs. 17,399, Sony Xperia U
may be the cheapest of the three handsets but when compared to other
similarly priced smartphones, will it be able to make a mark or fizzle
out? We will find in this review.
In terms of
the design, Sony Xperia U looks quite similar to Sony Xperia P and Sony
Xperia S but draws more resemblance to the latter. It sports a 3.5-inch
screen with 854x480p resolution. Just below the screen are the three
standard Android touch buttons for back, home and menu.
stands out in terms of the design of Sony Xperia U is that there is the
illuminated transparent strip at the bottom. This strip can light up in
various colours such white, blue, green, red, purple or yellow,
depending on the theme that you choose. The colours in this strip also
change automatically when you are browsing pictures or listening to
music in accordance with the mood. Additionally, Sony Xperia U also
comes with interchangeable bottom caps that can be set in black, pink,
or yellow colours.
The smartphone looks sturdy despite being made
up of plastic. It also features rubberised finish on the back. Coming to
the specifics, the Micro-USB cum charging port is on the right panel,
while the left panel houses the power button, which also doubles as the
screen lock/unlock button, the volume rocker and the two-stage camera
button. The 3.5mm audio jack is placed at the top panel while the back
panel houses the 5MP camera.
The colourful bottom caps do add a
dash of freshness in the overall design of the handset but they aren't
much of an eye-catcher.
Sony Xperia U sports a
3.5-inch Reality Display with Mobile Bravia Engine, which is quite
bright, even outdoors. It also provides good viewing angles. Display has
a resolution of 480x854 pixels and offers a decent pixel density of
280ppi. Another plus for the screen is that it is scratch-resistant.
only disappointment is the width of the display and we would have
preferred a slightly wider one to avoid the cramped keyboard in portrait
mode or the hardly visible text on webpages in zoomed-out view.
smartphone comes packed with a 5MP auto-focus camera with LED flash.
Pictures taken in broad daylight were quite sharp but the shots were
grainy and washed out in low light.
The camera comes with a
dedicated camera button, which is placed on the right panel. However,
taking photographs with the help of this button needs some getting used
to as it comes with a two-stage shutter button. Also zooming in and out
on pictures via the volume rocker was a bit jerky.
In nutshell, this is not one of the best 5 MP camera that we have seen on a smartphone.
There is also a VGA front camera that works decently and will help in video chats.
Xperia U is capable of recording 720p videos with 30fps, and the
quality of videos captured is substandard, leaving a lot to be desired.
has not been able to roll out Ice Cream Sandwich on any of its 2012
models as of now and the same is also true for Sony Xperia U. It runs on
Android 2.3 and is expected to get an update in the coming months.
Sony has also added its own UI atop Gingerbread in the smartphone, which is quite light and is easy to use.
terms of the pre-installed apps, Sony had some interesting additions
such as Timescape, TrackID, Wisepilot, Liveware Manager, PlayNow, Neo
Reader and Office Suite.
Timescape app stacks up email messages,
Twitter and Facebook updates in one place and is certainly an
interesting addition to the smartphone. TrackID is just like Shazam or
SoundHound, an app that identifies the track being played.
Sony also has its own app store - PlayNow on board, which houses some interesting games, music and apps.
Performance/ Battery Life
1GHz dual-core NovaThor U8500 chipset powering this smartphone, Xperia
U, is very snappy and responsive. Even while multi-tasking the handset
does not cringe.
The browsing experience on this handset was good.
The pages did open up quickly and the good display (small width aside)
of this smartphone further enhanced the browsing experience.
biggest drawback of Sony Xperia U is that does not have an expandable
memory slot. This handset comes with an internal memory of 8GB, of which
only 4GB is user accessible. Though, Sony is promising 50GB of cloud
space with this handset but that is not really compensation for not
having a microSD slot.
Like most phones from Sony, the audio
quality for both voice calls and audio playback was quite good. Too bad
you can't stock up your music collection on the Xperia U, thanks to the
absence of the microSD slot
Sony Xperia U comes with a 1320 mAh
battery and it gives a great battery performance. A moderate user can
easily get a day/ day and half with a single charge.
wrap things off, Sony Xperia U is an interesting handset especially at
Rs. 17, 399. If you can live with 8GB of memory with no expansion, this
is a good Android smartphone to look out for. However, the competition
around is quite tough and you might want to consider HTC One V for ICS
goodness before you actually zero in on Xperia U.
For more pictures of the Sony Xperia U, please see our gallery.
- Good display
- Snappy and responsive
- Limited storage
- Not one of the best 5 MP cameras
Price: Rs. 17,399
Ratings (out of 5)
Battery Life: 4
Value for Money: 3.5