The Xperia U is supposed to be Sony’s low-end offering from its high-end smartphone range. But while its display and some innards may seem like downgrades from those of its bigger and pricier siblings, there is practically nothing with its design and performance that is remotely low-cost or cheap.
The phone can hold its own. And based on the several days I spent with the Sony smartphone, the Xperia U definitely can and does.
Features and Specs
Announced at the 2012 Mobile World Congress, this smartphone comes with an impressive although not trailblazing list of features, including a 1GHz dual-core processor. It has 512MB of RAM and carries a 5-megapixel camera, as well as a VGA front-facing camera for videocalling.
It ships with Android 2.3, but an upgrade to Android 4.0 is forthcoming, Sony was quick to add.
Sony claims this 110-gram, 112 x 54 x 12mm (4.4 x 2.1 x 0.5 inches) smartphone offers up to six hours and 36 minutes of talk time and 260 hours stand-by time when on GSM mode or five hours and 36 minutes of talk time and 472 hours of stand-by time when on 3G.
The Xperia U comes with 8GB of built-in storage; however, users can access only up to 4GB, with the rest being commandeered by the phone’s software and systems.
Also, it comes with a 3.5-inch TFT touchscreen display, and owners will be tickled pink to know that their smartphone comes with Sony’s Mobile BRAVIA Engine technology. The screen is protected by a scratch-resistant, anti-reflective coating on mineral glass.
Sony will always be known as one of the world’s top-notch audio technology companies. Since the 1980s, its radios, audio players, and music players have been some of the most capable and best-designed music-playing gadgets and devices.
The Walkman, for example, is one of the world’s bestselling portable music players ever.
That audio-technology heritage is quite evident in the Xperia U. Although playing the role of the company’s most affordable smartphone, the lowly Xperia U does not disappoint audio wise. Aside from coming equipped with Sony’s superior audio technologies, such as the TrackID music recognition system and xLOUD Experience filtering technology, the Xperia U plays back music files with sound quality that other mobile gadgets might be hard pressed to approximate.
It can play music files in MP3, 3GPP, MP4, SMF, WAV, OTA, and Ogg vorbis formats. It records sound in 3GPP, MP4, and AMR formats.
Most importantly, however, it comes with a standard 3.5mm audio jack. All of your standard headphones are welcome to get paired with the Xperia U.
Worth the Money
Sony’s Xperia U comes with a suggested retail price of Php 13,999, which is significantly higher than the prices of several other entry-level Android and non-Android smartphones currently in the market today.
The Nokia Lumia 610, for example, comes at barely over Php 10,000; while other devices from HTC and local vendors MyPhone and Cherry Mobile come with SRPs even lower than that.
While its features and functions might be barely sufficient to create enough buzz in a highly competitive segment, there are factors that some smartphone users, especially fans of Sony, will find reasons enough to warm up to the Xperia U.
For example, it comes with a design and flavor uniquely its own, and is strongly built like most other Sony devices. It is not the iPhone, of course, but it sure is good at doing what it is supposed to do — being a wallet-friendly and highly capable phone.
By ALLAN D. FRANCISCO