This is part three of my brother's report on the 2012 Sony Xperia NXT smartphone line launch held last week.

The most affordable member of this year's Sony Xperia Android smartphone family - Sony Xperia U - is by no means a push-over.

sony xperia u

A True Music Phone

Despite having a smaller display and just 512 MB of RAM, Sony's budget smartphone nonetheless features Sony's very own xLoud sound enhancement technology which should give users crisp and loud sound experience. Likewise, the phone can stream music to wireless speakers with one touch using DLNA.

sony xperia u

sony xperia u

2D and 3D Sweep Panorama

This is probably the feature that makes Sony Xperia U a stand-out among recent pocket-friendly Android releases. The handset comes with a 5 MegaPixel camera that's capable of taking 2D and 3D sweep panaroma images. While Xperia U isn't the first and only smartphone that can come up with such shots, I still think that it's nice that Sony had decided to bring this feature to the borderline budget handset category.

sony xperia u

sony xperia u

Swappable Caps

Design-wise, Sony Xperia U flaunts a polycarbonate unibody enclosure with a couple of unique design elements: A transparent band near the rear, illuminating to match the color of the album art of music tracks currently playing or the color of photos being viewed in the gallery, and swappable bottom caps which come in youthful hues, namely Yellow, Pink, White and Black.

sony xperia u

Watch this quick demo video of Sony Xperia U's user interface and design that my brother, Val Marvin of BallersPinas, recorded for us during the phone's media launch;



So what are his initial impressions of the handset?

1. Sony Xperia U looks like a shrunk version of Sony Xperia S, replete with some of the key design elements of the more expensive release. Both phones have a unibody shell, concave back, a hardware camera button and even that set of touch-sensitive control keys below the display. Sony Xperia S looks expensive and feels durable and the same can be said about Sony Xperia U.

2. The fact that the affordable Sony Xperia U already comes with a dual core processor merely shows that the features of last year's flagship smartphones have become the specs of today's borderline entry level releases. Val says that it's truly amazing how fast technology moves forward.

3. According to him, overall, Sony Xperia U is one of the stronger budget Android releases. He was impressed not just by its cute design, smooth UI and powerful sound and music playback capabilities but also by the crisp images he got using the phone's 5 MegaPixel autofocus camera. However, he wishes that the phone had a microSD card slot for expanding the measly 4GB user-available internal storage. Likewise, he's not sure if the phone's 1320 mAh battery is enough to give a whole day of uptime with regular use.

Sony Xperia U will be available nationwide via Sony Mobile Stores and authorized retail outlets by mid-May this year. The smartphone will have an official suggested retail price (SRP) of only Php 13,990.

To wrap this up in true TechPinas fashion, allow me to present the complete technical specifications of Sony Xperia U;

TechPinas Smartphone Technical Specs Table (TSTST)
Name Sony Xperia U
Type Slate Form Factor (Full Touchscreen)
Price Category Lower Midrange, Borderline Entry-Level
Dimensions112 x 54 x 12 mm
Weight 110 grams
Available Colors Black, White with swappable bottom caps in White, Black, Yellow and Pink
Operating System Android 2.3 Gingerbread, eventually upgradeable to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Display 3.5 inches (~280 ppi pixel density), 480 x 854 pixels, LED-backlit LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Processor Dual Core 1 GHz DB8500 GPU Snapdragon S2 STE U8500 chipset
RAM/ROM 512MB RAM
Camera 5 MegaPixels, 2592 x 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, VGA front camera
Video Capture 720p 30 frames per second
Audio and Video Playback MP4/H.263/H.264/WMV/MP3/eAAC+/WMA/WAV player
Ports microUSB v2.0, USB On-The-Go support, 3.5 mm audio jack
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot, DLNA, Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP, EDR, 3G HSDPA 14.4 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
Network 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, 3G Network HSDPA 900 / 2100 - ST25i / HSDPA 850 / 1900 / 2100 - ST25a
Internal Storage 4 GB
Sensors Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity
Battery Li-Ion 1320 mAh
Uptime Stand-by of up 472 hours on 2G and up to 260 hours on 2G / Talk Time of up to 6 hours 36 minutes on 2G and up to 5 hours 36 minutes on 3G
Value-Added Features 3D sweep panorama image capture, xLoud Sound Enhancement, SNS integration, Google Services Suite
Announcement Globally: February 2012
Availability Q2 2012
Philippines: Mid-May 2012
Price TP Guesstimate: Php 15,000 - Php 16,000
Official SRP: Php 13,990