Sony Xperia U User Review


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May 29, 2012
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After being content with a "basic" Nokia X-2 for almost 2 years,I got the itch to get back on the touchscreen scene after the loss of my Samsung i8910.
Was using my trusty N95 for a month till I arranged for the funds,just for some nostalgia.
One thing I loved about the X2 and decided a must have was the slim(breadth and thickness) profile.I hated the way a friend's SGS2 stuck out in my pocket.
And a huge display is no use without good PPI.

So i was on the market for a phone with the requirements of:
Android OS
Slim Profile
Decent Camera
Most bang-for-the-buck

and Narrowed down to the Xperia Ray and Xperia U.

I've said before that I am in love with(was?) the Xperia Ray,but what made me choose the Xperia U was the dual core processor.Better to be prepared if Jelly Bean is Dual Core only.
It was easy for me to overlook the loss of the microSD slot because I use my Clip+ for music always(except during power cuts) and I dont watch movies on mobile,so 4GB must be more than enough for a few tracks.
I do take a lot of pictures but I always transfer them to a PC at the end of the day for PP,so im guessing it'll be impossible to fill 4gb with pics alone in one day.About HD video,I have little experience about how much space a clip would occupy,Will test this later.
Another reason to pass on the Ray was the over compressed images from the camera.In comparison the U's pics seems better to me,comparatively.

In the box


Main Unit(Black color)
Extra bottom cap(white color) [Sales rep said he hasnt got the white body model till now,so choice was between Black+Pink or Black+White,got the Black+White]
Battery [In the box,so obviously its removable]
USB wall charger with microUSB cable(1 meter)
Headphones [bud type,not interested in testing]
Screen Guard
2 microSIM to SIM adaptors




Physical styling is the same as the rest of the NXT line from Sony with the magical Transparent element just below the softkeys.
Center is the call speaker.Pretty loud and clear in a call.
On the left is an ambient light sensor and on the Right is the front facing camera.[Standard grainy affair]
Next to the front camera is the Battery Charging indicator.Its not a light,just a reflective indicator which is Red while charging and Green when fully charged.

3.5mm Audio Jack[No issues detecting PL-11 or UE.ti.10][You can customise which app to launch when you plug in an Accessory,pretty handy]
2nd Mic

microUSB slot.[NOT covered,might get dirt lodged over time,USB charging is supported]

Right: from top to bottom


On/Off/Screen Lock Key.
Volume rocker[Very long and dipped in the middle so very ergonomic]
2 Stage camera key[2nd stage seems very recessed,Needs getting used to]

Call Mic
Lanyard Hook[Very fiddly,need to pass the loop thru the removable cover and then loop it on the hook UNDER the removable cap]



Camera[Has a metal ring around it for added protection]
Speaker[Not very loud,pretty low volume with some Youtube videos,need to place your hand against the speaker to boost it a bit]
The back cover is rubberized[Gives a very reassuring grip to the phone and with the small size I dont think there will be any slips,but concerns about the rubberization to wear off along the edges in time?]


Apply a scratch guard ASAP,the anti shatter coating on the screen is a MAGNET for everything!
A small size of 3.5 inches and a resolution of 480 x 854 pixels and 280PPI makes the screen amazingly crisp.
Text is readable without having to zoom in too much in the Browser and are very little Jaggys in the Animated Sony wallpaper.Everything looks Anti-Alised almost.
Viewing angles are good till about 45* horizontally and very good Vertically.
There does seem to be a metal rim around the actual screen glass,so any bumps to the edges shudnt damage the screen.
Below the screen are the 3 Android Softbuttons.They are not backlit but have kind of a silvery paint(similar to the Sony logo on the top) under them,so they reflect light in almost all lighting situations except total darkness.These buttons take some getting used to since the logos of the buttons are actually printed in the transperant strip but arnt touch sensitive.I found touching over the Dot and the Logo on the strip to work the best.
I do miss the popping colors and contrast of AMOLED but with the BRAVIA setting turned on takes it a step closer to AMOLED.

Over all the build quality is very good.The keys are located very ergonomically,Back of the phone is contoured to fit well in the palm,and the Metal Rim around the screen gives a Solid feel and along with the ruberized back,a good grip.
And as for my main concern,it slips into my Pant pocket and actually disappears! Which makes me wonder how well the Ray can disappear in a pocket...


Everyone's main concern with Sony's midend seems to be the 1300mah battery.
On my first charge cycle which took 1.5hrs:
3 hrs of wifi(initial setup of Timescape/IM apps)
5 hrs of EDGE
15 mins of GPS
and the continuous digging of a new mobile at full screen brightness.
After all that i was left with 30 percent of charge and had to charge the phone to 55 percent to let PC companion download a phone update(which I have no idea what it was)
Idling till 8AM
An hour of wifi for downloading Apps
An hour of Music
got the phone to 15 percent...and after idling for 2 hrs was left with 11 percent charge.

11 percent to full charge took about 2 hours.


There is 2GB alloted for the phone memory.The other is the Internal Memory which is exactly 4GB.[Where is the other 2GB?]
The phone does come with a lot of Bloatware/trial/useless apps but they can be easily removed.After removing about 10 apps I've occupied 300MB and have 1.7GB free.


The camera interface is very clean and minimalistic.On the left edge you have 4 icons:
Photo Type:Normal,Front Camera,3D Sweep pan,Sweep Multi Angle and Sweep Pano.
Scenes: Portrait,Landscape,Night Scene,Night Portrait,Beach and Snow,Sports,Party and Document.
Exposure Compensation: +2 to -2 at 0.3 Steps
Flash:Auto,Fill Flash,Red Eye Reduction and Off.

On the Right edge you have 2 icons(3 if you select Capture Mode: On screen Button):
Photo/Video toggle
Recent Captures.[This is presented as a stack of last 5 images which you can open up with a swipe,very cool]

In the Settings menu you have:
Resolution Selection:5MP 4:3,3MP 16:9,2MP 4:3 and 2MP 16:9
Self Timer:10sec,2sec
Smile Detection:Big Smile,Average Smile,Small Smile[umm do these work]
Focus Modes:Single Auto Focus,Multi Auto Focus,Face Detection,Infinity,Touch Focus
Exposure Compensation(again)
ISO Settings:Auto,100,200,400,800
Metering:Centre,Average,Spot[Surprised to see this in a mobile]
Capturing Method: On Screen Button,Touch Capture,Shutter Key.
[You get touch to focus+capture ONLY if you select Capuring Method:Touch Capture + Focus Mode:Touch Focus.Time for such a capture takes less than one second.]

Camera Quick Launch:
Pressing the shutter button while the screen is locked launches the instant capture feature.Only Photo Type and Flash Control is available in this mode and you have 2 behavious options:
Launch and Capture
Launch Only
This takes a pic in about 1 second directly from the locked screen.[Very Useful]

ISO Test:
Very impressed till ISO 400
Full res at ImageShack Album - 5 images

ISO100 with Flash

ISO200 with Flash

ISO400 with Flash

ISO800 with Flash

ISO800 without Flash

Phone Performance

Quadrant Standard:

For Comparison Sola gets 2294
For Comparison One V gets 1994


For Comparison Sola gets 5415

Single Thread:
Norm Res:5.68

Multi Thread:
Norm Res:3.24

For Comparison One V gets 34.4

User Observations
Manual connection on/off [A specific application doesnt turn on/off the WiFi or Data Connection,need to do it from the Widget]
Transparent bar not used for notification [Instead you get a Blue color on the Battery Charge indicator which is very easily missed]
Phone gets hot on GPRS usage[no such issues with WiFi usage]
No Mass storage without Sony PC Companion running on the Comp[or am i missing a setting?]
  • Like
Reactions: KrisC123


Active member
Dec 28, 2011
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oh a quick question, are there any annoy things about this phone? my brother is not very good with technology and i'd just like to know if there are any things that would really get him frustrated so i can inform him before he buys it.