There’s an oft-used idiom about small packages, which frequently doesn’t apply to the world of technology. That’s to say that a diminished form factor often doesn’t bring the “best things” with it. For example, Sony’s NXT family members, revealed between CES and MWC, gifted consumers with the choice of three new handsets: the Xperia P, S and U. The last one i.e. the Sony Xperia U in that list is by far the smallest, and in congruence with the general trend of mobile technology, the most lightly armored.
However, we’re not ones to make assumptions, and heaven forbid we pre-judge something based on size alone. We’re as willing to be surprised as anyone, and the new baby of the Sony bunch is as likely a candidate as any to throw us a curveball. Our initial impressions in Barcelona were largely positive, so this review — as the firm says on its marketing material for the phone — is all about (the Xperia) U.
We’re not going to belabor the point any more, but it’s true that the Xperia U is the proverbial runt of the latest litter, measuring 12mm thick with a 3.5-inch display, some way off its larger S and P siblings (4.3-and 4-inches respectively). This equates to a deceptively miniature-looking facsimile of its larger brethren, and, it has to be said, an altogether palm-friendly slab of phone. There’s no doubting its heritage though, with the tell-tale geometric design and protruding chin letting you know that this is definitely a Sony.
About that chin. It undoubtedly catches the eye, though we’re not sure if it’s the bold-colored plastic caps (less striking tones are available) or just the illusion of extra length, but it’s certainly a defining characteristic. In fact, along with the distinctive illuminating bar above it, much of the handset’s visual character – like it or not – is derived from that bottom end.
The rest of the jet black face does little more than conceal the front VGA camera, speaker grill and sensors. The rear isn’t exactly a feature-full landscape either, with a matte finish white battery cover and the usual holes for the camera, flash and speaker keeping the Sony Mobile logo company. The right-hand side is where you’ll find all the buttons the Xperia U possesses: power / sleep, volume rocker and camera shutter, leaving the left-hand side bereft of anything bar the micro-USB port. Put this all together, and you get a fairly satisfactory, but not remarkable, slice of phone.
Much like the Xperia S before it -– given that the similarities are many –- the baby U has its fair share of potentially dust-gathering ridges. The angular design is partly responsible, but the LED bar and removable cap serve up multiple channels for the daily dirt buildup to hide in. It’s not terribly problematic, just an unwelcome side effect of the otherwise functional form. The LED bar also poses another tiny problem, at least during your first few days with the phone. Hidden beneath it are the back, home and menu icons that correspond to the touch-sensitive navigation buttons above it. When whipping the handset out of your pocket to quickly do something, you can find yourself mashing the redundant LED strip (i.e. aiming for the icon) instead. Sure, you’ll get used to it soon enough, but it’s counter-intuitive to begin with, and only further highlights the curious use of space.
That is until you see the humble, transparent strip’s party trick. When browsing images, that innocent piece of plastic will adopt a chameleon-like ability to match the dominant color of your photos and album art. The same is true for the prevailing tone of your theme. When the bar lights-up, it’ll be with matching luminosity. Nothing more than a trick, but a cute one nonetheless.
For more details about the Sony Xperia U St25i, please click the link below to view the full review.
Price and availability of the Sony Xperia U St25i in USA
The Sony Xperia U Android Smartphone is priced at 269$ and you can buy it directly from Amazon using this link.
Video Review of the Sony Xperia U Android Smartphone