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Gift FoneGuide: Sony Xperia U

Gift FoneGuide: Sony Xperia U
The latest edition of FoneGuide for holiday gifts focuses on the colourful character of the Sony Xperia U.

Gift FoneGuide: Sony Xperia U
 
Hello and welcome! With what little time is now left until celebrations, the Gift FoneGuide continues with another notable guest from the world of smartphones. As an entry-level phone, the Xperia U probably doesn't command the same level of attention that its more technologically accomplished peers do. So, why dedicate the second edition of Gift FoneGuide to this humble contender? The answer is rather straightforward: excellent value for money.
 
Fonehouse: Xperia U
 
Pros:

•    Great build quality and unique design
•    Sharp screen with class-leading colours and contrasts
•    Given the price - decent performance

Cons:

•    3.5 inch screen might be too small for some users
•    Only around 4 GB of built-in storage is usable
•    No memory card expansion slot

The Sony Xperia U earns points in our books straight away. The classic looking, rectangular features of this phone flow nicely together with the more subtle curves on the backside. A distinctive, transparent strip below screen further underlines the desire of this handset to stand out.
 
Sony Xperia U
 
As we noted in our extensive 2-part review, the light band is surprisingly unobtrusive - a mere mood lighting that will match the primary colour of your currently set theme. And, in terms of build quality, the Xperia U actually feels expensive in hands, something that we can't always say about other smartphones in a similar price range.

It's not just the unique appearance that makes the Xperia U such an irresistible offering. Under its hood roars a fairly competent 1 GHz Cortex A9 dual-core processor that, coupled with 512 MB of RAM, produces enough output to graciously handle most of the daily tasks in Android OS.
 
Xperia U - homescreens
 
Also surprising for its price, the Xperia U packs a Bravia LCD panel that is known to deliver expressive colours and amazing contrasts. And, while technically it's just 480 x 854 pixels, the resulting sharpness of the 3.5 inch screen gives you the illusion that the Xperia U wields a far higher-resolution display than it actually has.

While the remaining specs doesn't impress nearly as much, you'll be nevertheless glad to know that the Sony Xperia U has all the essentials to get you going. On board the Xperia U you'll find support for HSDPA and quad-band 3G networks, Wi-Fi with DLNA and hotspot capabilities, A-GPS, and, of course, Bluetooth (v2.1).
 
Sony Xperia U - camera detail
 
We are also big fans of Sony's approach with the built-in camera on the Xperia U. Since on most entry-level phones the camera is merely an afterthought, we were also expecting a similar line of work in Sony's offering. But the Xperia U surprised us again: the 5 Mpix pictures turned out very usable, coming along with manageable noise levels and a decent amount of detail. It's not the best performing mobile camera - not by a long shot - but it does produce enjoyable results that you won't be embarrassed to show off to your friends.

Conclusion

The shortcomings of the Sony Xperia U will wholly depend on the way you use the handset. If you're a heavy multimedia user, the lack of a microSD card expansion slot in combination with the limited 4 GB of built-in memory might be a real deal breaker. Likewise, the Xperia U is not the type of mobile that will run all the latest blockbuster games from Google's Play store. If you’re an avid gamer and multi-tasker, there are plenty of other smartphones to consider, however, those imply a more substantial monetary investment.

For the rest of the users, who are looking for an affordable and balanced Android handset, the Xperia U remains a very solid choice. Even more so, it comes complete with a unique looking design that radiates personality and character, something that is not very common these days.
 
 
 


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