Sony Xperia U review

Sony's small Android smartphone offers a dual-core processor and plenty of charm

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Sony Xperia U review

The music player is one area where the Sony Xperia U's Android 2.3.7 software is much better than the stock Android options or the user interface Sony put on last year's range of Android handsets.

Opening up the music player pulls up a very simple front end for your music - whether they're MP3, SMF, WAV, or Ogg vorbis files - which is much more accessible and prettier than Sony's previous version.

Plus, you get a stylish little home screen widget, for quick access to play/pause and track skipping.

Playlist support is straightforward when creating and editing (a long-press on a track title does the job), plus there are plenty of automatically generated playlists that chart your recent additions, tracks you've made favourites by adding a little star to or pulling out ones you've not yet bothered listening to.

Sony Xperia U review

Music is loud and clear when using the external speaker, thanks in part to Sony's xLOUD technology.

You also get a graphic equaliser that really does have an effect on the quality and feel of the output. It'd make a nice little kitchen radio, this one.

There's Gracenote integration for automatically downloading artist information and album art, plus there's the Sony Infinite button that we've seen on plenty of its phones over the last couple of years, which enables you to instantly search YouTube and Wikipedia for the currently playing artist, or buy tracks through Sony's PlayNow shop.

Prices are a bit steep, at £1.50 per track (paid for by a premium rate text message), but it's nice to see a well-stocked official channel for buying tunes direct on the phone.

However, the rather tatty PayForIt window that pops up when you try to make a purchase doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the vendor.

Onboard memory is a mixed bag. It's very welcome having 2GB to store apps, but the 4GB usable partition that works as the Sony Xperia U's built-in SD card isn't really enough for a phone these days. It really could do with an SD card slot.

Sony Xperia U review

In terms of your own video playback, the Sony Xperia U supports MP4 files and 3GPP only.

You won't get any joy with AVIs or anything too exotic here, although supported movies and photos can use Sony's DLNA service, which adds the Play On option to sharing menu screens, enabling you to beam media to any other DLNA device on your home network.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in Memory8 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA, HSUPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyXperia U
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack, White
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSony Mobile
Battery Talk Time6.60 Hour
Product ModelST25a
Screen Size8.9 cm (3.5")
Screen Resolution480 x 854
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)110 g
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerST Ericsson
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.3 Gingerbread
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density280 ppi
Height112 mm
Width54 mm
Depth12 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time472 Hour
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product NameXperia U ST25a Smartphone
Processor Speed1 GHz
Product LineXperia U
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part Number1261-4174
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Experience fantasy. In great quality on-screen.

Watch every moment from every movie or video in razor sharp clarity.

See every smile from last year's party in a true detail. Sheer video magic on your Android mobile's 3.5" Reality Display powered by the Mobile BRAVIA® Engine. And you can easily find the latest Hollywood blockbusters on the pre-loaded Video Unlimited application from Sony Entertainment Network.

Experience beat. In 3D surround sound.

Blast out the music through the speaker with xLoud loudness enhancement.

Fancy some movie "me time"? Get it with 3D surround sound. Plug in your earphones and sit back and listen as the deep bass and high treble shoot around your head.

Want more sounds? Enjoy a global catalogue of millions and millions of songs easily accessible through the preloaded Music Unlimited application from Sony Entertainment Network.