Sony Xperia U smartphonIf you’re looking for a relatively cheap smart phone that looks good and performs quite well, you can’t go wrong with the Xperia U.

Way back in 2012 Sony released their much-awaited Xperia U, and it was yet another model that Sony enthusiasts were keen to get their hands on. The smooth design and clean finish is what you would expect from a Sony mobile, but has it lived up to expectations or was it just a ploy by Sony to get more cash from their admirers while they worked on their ‘Next big phone’?

The Sony Xperia U is a small Android phone that is more powerful than it looks. The 1 GHz STE Dual Core processor makes for fast operation and the colorful end caps enable you to change the phone’s appearance quickly and easily should you wish.

But that’s not all this Android (Gingerbread, which can be upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich) phone has to offer, as it also happens to be a very light handset, weighing in at only 110 grams (3.9 ounces). This is good news for those of you who are fed up with those huge and heavy phones that seem to be dominating the market these days. If you like to have a reasonably small phone because you simply see no need for a massive one, then you may be pleased to know the dimensions of this little beauty are 4.4 x 2.1 x 0.5 inches (112 x 54 x 12 mm), which happens to be particularly small by today’s standards.

A Budget Phone?

Some have labeled this elegant-looking handset to be somewhat of a ‘Budget phone’ due to its small size and relatively inexpensive price (Approximately £200). With its 3.3 inch screen and 4 Gb memory system, you may not be getting the best handset on the market right now, but if you want a touchscreen phone that takes pictures with a 5 mega pixel camera, can send emails play videos and hook up to Wi-Fi, then this may just be the one for you.

A Splash of Color

One of this phone’s rather unique features is the changeable end caps that let you adjust the colour to suit your mood. Ok so not everyone will be a fan of this feature, but it certainly is something different. If you want to stick with one colour at each end of your phone, you can do just that, many people do, but many people also love to switch them around to suit their outfits or just to brighten up their day.

Screen Size

The size of the screen on the Sony Xperia U works out to be the same diagonally as it is on the iPhone 4S, but when it comes to the width it’s a lot narrower, which could make using it slightly difficult if you’re used to big screens. The screen resolution is 480×854 pixels which works out to be about 280 pixels per inch of screen, which isn’t bad at all when this phone is considered to be a budget one.  The only difficulty you may have with this screen is if you press it too hard as it will tend to flex, displaying discolored pixels that could affect your viewing. This isn’t a huge issue and it won’t cause a great deal of problems, but it is pretty much typical of cheap phone screens.

Sony Xperia U

The Strip

Remember the changeable cap ends? That’s not the only colour related feature this phone has. The transparent strip which can be found near the base of the phone will pulse with different colours depending on which screen you happen to be looking at. The colours will reflect the colours displayed in photos found in the picture gallery and even the type of music that you’re listening to. If you’re one who loves a bit of color in your life, this is a bit of genius on Sony’s behalf, and although it may just be a gimmick, it can also look pretty good too.


When it comes to memory, the 8GB internal memory may seem quite sufficient, but unfortunately, only 4GB of it can be used for your photos and your apps. If you’re thinking about expanding the amount of memory you have, you may be a little bit stuck as there is no micro SD slot, so you may want to upload your pictures/music to another device before you run out of room.

The Camera

The Xperia U’s camera comes with 5 mega pixels, which is about average for a handset in this price range. The rear camera can be a bit grainy unless you happen to be taking shots in really bright light. The front-facing camera is ideal if you want to make video calls, and it also comes with an LED flash which is quite nice.

When it comes to shooting a video, you can expect to enjoy using the 720p HD video, but don’t expect to get anything too clear.

Gingerbread Operating System

The Sony Xperia U comes with the Android Gingerbread operating system, which is not Google’s latest OS, the Ice Cream Sandwich. You can however expect to be able to upgrade the OS should you wish to. If you do not wish to upgrade the OS, you will still be able to enjoy the many free apps that are available on Google’s Play Store, and the wide range of music and videos that Sony have on offer too.


With up to 6.5 hours of talk time available when your new phone is fully charged, the Xperia U may prove to be quite handy if you like to talk. You should also be able to enjoy approximately 45 minutes of music on a single charge too, but whatever you use it for, at the end of the day the battery is likely to still need charging.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a relatively cheap smart phone that looks good and performs quite well, you can’t go wrong with the Xperia U. Sure it does lack a little when it comes to the camera and the quality of the screen, but if you’re not intending to use it that often and you don’t expect too much from it, you should enjoy having this smart looking handset at your disposal.

Article WritingPhil Turner did not know a lot about the Sony Experia U before viewing this page on the uSwitch website