The Sony Xperia U's 3.5-inch display runs at a decent resolution of 480 x 854, meaning text and icons appear nice and sharp here - much like they did on the similarly sized and extremely loveable Sony Xperia Ray.
The dual-core processor does a great job of loading, displaying and scrolling through websites, plus there's Flash support in here for straightforward playback of embedded videos and all the associated animated advertising that tends to accompany them around the edges of pages.
Double-tapping on a chunk of text automatically zooms in the view for easy reading, and although scrolling can get a little crunchy if you try moving pages around too much while they're loading, the Sony Xperia U is certainly good enough for use as a pocket browser 99% of the time.
Embedded Flash content works pretty well, for the most part, although we found a few clips would see their audio and video lose sync quite badly.
Text selection is pretty useful, though. Long-pressing any chunk of text pulls up these movable little tabs, which enable you to select a start and end point - then press the highlighted area to copy the text to the Sony Xperia U's clipboard.
Behind the scenes, the browser's pretty bland and lacking in any Sony polish. Bookmarks and favourites are found through the Menu button or brought up by holding the Back key, and you get a rather outdated white-on-black text system that definitely errs on the functional side of things.
You get plenty more to play with through the browser's menu, where you can search the page, share a link to a web page through the usual Android share menu, manage your open tabs and more.
Sadly, it's nothing like as sophisticated as the enhanced Android web browsers we see from the likes of HTC and LG these days, but hopefully the imminent Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update, which should hit the Sony Xperia U some time in the summer of 2012, will add a bit more in the way of thrills to the phone's web use.