Sony has been making a lot of phones that look like a reduced or enlarged copy of their other phones. I was looking for a phone under 15K and someone told me “Sony makes a dual core phone for that price”.At first look the Sony Xperia U looks like a scaled down version of the slightly bigger and costlier Xperia P. With a transparent bar below the screen and then a coloured stripe below it. The phone we tried was running the Ice Cream Sandwich, modded with Sony skin as you would expect.
The phone has rectangular design with a transparent stripe below the screen. The phone looks cute, and the size has a great role in it. The display is just 3.5 inches which makes it really easy to hold and operate the device with one hand. The opinion about the phone design wasn’t exactly the same with everyone. Some did like the boxy design with that mood lightning on the transparent bar while some said “that is too flashy”. We are among the people who loved the design. The transparent strip has got the indications for back, home and menu but they aren’t exactly the buttons. They just indicate the function of the region above them and that becomes misleading at times.
The build is a bit plasticky but then what else you expect in a low end phone. The micro USB port sits on top left and the headphone jack on top of the phone. The power and volume keys are on right of the device and there is a camera key too which would bring up the camera app if held for a few seconds. The stripe recognizes the most prominent colour while viewing photos and lights up in that colour only. You can replace the plastic piece below the stripe with any other colour if you are bored of black.
The phone has got a 3.5 inch display showing 480*854 pixels. There are a lot of phone which run this resolution on a 4 inch display or even bigger. But this phone has got just a 3.5 inch display so the pixel density is sweet. The content looks too small at times but it is very crisp. However a problem pops up as soon as you open the keyboard. As the resolution is widescreen, the width of the phone is less as compared to other 3.5 inch devices. Thus the keyboard is cramped and if you have got large hands, people will know from your texts.
The colors replication and contrasts are good for what you would expect at this price and the viewing angles are okay too.
The user interface is what you seen on all the Sony Xperia smartphones. The home is usual 5 screen interface with no option to add or remove any screens. There are two shortcuts on each side of launcher key which can be customized. You can pinch on the screen to have all the widgets and shortcuts floating on the screen. I don’t see much use for it but they actually look nice.
This phone has got the social bug. You get a home screen with Facebook and twitter widgets already present to keep you updated. You can hold and dumb them in the bin if you are not a social media addict. Rest is exactly the same interface you get on most Sony devices.
The phone runs a Dual core 1GHz Cortex A9 on a NovaThor U8500 chipset. The graphics are handled by a Mali-400 GPU. There is 512 MB of RAM which is a bit less for what the processor can handle but still copes up somehow. The hardware runs the phone pretty smooth are there are not many moments of swearing as it doesn’t lag much. It isn’t exactly a performance monster but the usual tasks can be handled with ease. The benchmark scores were satisfactory if not very good for a device priced this well.
The biggest problem however is that there is no option to add a memory card for extra storage. And the internal storage as I was told was 8GB but turns out only 4GB is available to user. I copied some music to the phone and installed a decent game and I was out of memory already.
The applications like web browser or the music player load up quickly and perform well, thanks to the dual core processor. There are not much lags during web browsing on the stock browser but the display size doesn’t help when you are trying to open the full version of some website.
The battery on this device is a 1320 mAh unit and the company claims a talk time of six and a half hour. The battery despite being small in capacity performs well due to the small screen size. It can easily last a day with some web browsing and few hours of music playback. Sony has included many battery management apps that control the resources and help in extending battery life.
The camera on the device is a 5mpx with auto focus and LED flash. The camera interface is nice like on most Sony devices and you can launch the camera using the camera key. As you keep clicking the photographs, you will get previews on lower right of the screen.
Photos shot at the full resolution replicated the colors well and were sharp. The camera can do the job of serving as a Facebook snapper very well but don’t expect it to do anything more than that.
The videos are 720p but they aren’t impressive at all. It feels like the phone has been forced to record a 720p video when it was not willing to.
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Call and network
The calls on this phone are very clear and there were not many fluctuations in reception. The call volume was good, and the voices were sounding natural. The dial-er integrates the call log as well and like most android phones, when you start dialing numbers, it searches among numbers as well as names.
This is a great phone if are looking for better performance for single core money. Yes there are flaws like low RAM and no expandable storage but if you don’t want to flaunt a music or video collection on your phone and are just going to use it to run some apps then this phone is good for you. Just make sure you don’t buy this if you have got huge hands. Believe us you won’t be able to use it.