Sony’s Xperia U joins the line up of smartphones the company announced under their NXT series. Along with the U, Sony now has the Xperia S, P, Sola, Go, Acro S and Miro in the market, which gives customers quite a handful of options to choose from. What’s unique about the Xperia U is that it’s one of the few phones at this price range that comes with a dual core processor. But, the phone also has certain tradeoffs, the most notable one being the lack of an expansion slot.
The Xperia U
The Neo V was one of the recommended phones to buy in the 17k price slot before it was dethroned by the recently launched and anagrammatic sounding One V. Does the Xperia U have enough substance to reclaim the throne? Let’s find out.
Design and Build quality
The Xperia U follows a similar pattern in terms of design with the other phones in the NXT series. In fact it looked like the miniature version of the Xperia S we reviewed earlier. The phone comes in an all black casing with a matte finish at the back. Other notable design factors include a silver ring around the camera and the transparent chin with the Xperia branding underneath. The design in particular isn’t too conspicuous but that lit up chin is definitely an eye grabber. It has changeable covers too so if something more bright is your style then you won’t be disappointed. Let’s have a quick tour of the device.
A 3.5-inch screen
The front sports a 3.5-inch scratch resistant TFT display with a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels along with three capacitive ‘dots’ underneath. Like in the Xperia S, the dots weren’t as responsive as we’d expected them to be, but that could just be a problem with our handset. The ambient light sensor and the VGA front camera are located above the screen and the 3.5 mm headphone jack is located up top. The micro USB charging slot is placed on the upper left, hence not coming in the way of you using your phone while charging. The right includes the power button, the volume rocker and a rather hard to press camera shutter button. The 5 megapixel camera, LED flash and speaker grill is located at the back.
Novelty factor wears off soon
At a depth of 12mm, the Xperia U is not the thinnest of phones and comes in a lot thicker than the One V which has a depth of 9.2mm. Also, the extra bezel at the bottom adds to the length of the phone, of which we’re not really big fans. Once the novelty factor of the lit up chin wears off, you’ll be wondering if that extra space could have been put to better use, or eliminated altogether. At 110 grams, the U’s got just about the right weight to give you a reassuring feeling that you’re holding a phone in your hand.
Sony have managed to pull off a defining style with their NXT series but it comes with its own share of limitations. A phone needs to have the right blend of aesthetics and ergonomics and the U scores high on the former but not the latter, due to the extra chin and length at the bottom. If it were to function as a cool notification LED we’d have been happier.
Hard to press camera button
Chin or no chin, the Xperia U still is a major step up from the plasticy phones in the market at this price point. On a comparative basis though, it’s still second best to the HTC One V, which is slimmer, compact and packs in a larger 3.7-inch screen.
Updated 19 May, 2013, 10:43 am IST
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