[deleted post]That all depends on where you are. In the UK you can get it for £165 including a £15 PAYG SIM from Three, or £160 from Phones4U with an existing PAYG SIM to qualify for the upgrade price on any network but Three.
Thanks to all who have posted helpful comments here. Some have been very useful, while others rather subjective and opinionated. This review is rather long, but as it is not a random question or pointless opinion, I hope this objective review from an eXperia U owner is helpful and reveals its true colours. Speaking of colours, I won't be commenting on the (pointless and often incorrectly lit) glowing bar or the (downright ugly) optional colours to clip on the base. Much has also been said about the lack of SD card slot, limited memory and RAM, so again I won't give a subjective opinion on this. Nor the screen quality, size or ease of use. This a functional review from experience, offering insight into the problems, issues, errors, bugs I found. While I may be a noob to Android phones, this shouldn't taint your view of my view - something either works reliably or it doesn't.
According to reviews and opinions here and elsewhere, the Sony Xperia U certainly appeared to be the best set of specs in its price range, and having loved (Sony) Ericsson phones in the past, I guess I was a bit bias towards upgrading to their latest offering that wasn't too big or expensive. So, I took the plunge.
Initially I loved the phone, but then I repeatedly had problems...
Wifi hotspot tethering: As I currently don't have fixed broadband, it was necessary to tether to this phone for net access on my laptop. While I have since learned from the Three UK network that tethering is actually allowed on only one of their contract tariffs, it is possible on any, and if you have the data, why not use it? Problem is that when they think you are tethering, they cut your data. Simply disabling and re-enabling your hotspot seems to overcome this temporary setback though. What doesn't make sense are the other issues I had trying to tether. At times I would suddenly lose signal strength on my laptop and I would no longer be able to surf. Even though the Xperia had web access and was right next to the laptop, I would get a generic 1 bar of signal strength and be unable to connect any longer (http://www.archlives.eclipse.co.uk/xperiau/WiFiFail.jpg). It wasn't always as simple as re-enabling tethering on the Xperia U though, at times this wasn't possible as even when showing as active, I couldn't deactivate the hotspot (http://www.archlives.eclipse.co.uk/xperiau/HotspotFail.jpg) and I had to reboot the phone!
Bluetooth: Despite Google's thoughts that everything is run by Google and you could never want/require another service, I don't use them for my calendar (they reschedule and duplicate my appointments) or my contacts (they duplicate these too). I use bluetooth to sync my phone to Outlook using MPE (http://www.fjsoft.at/en/). But here I had issues too. At first I could not even get the phone found as it appeared it didn't have the serial port BT profile present. Eventually I did connect after much trouble (can't even offer advice as can't recall what finally worked), but when trying to sync it would randomly just disconnect and give me OBEX errors. So, I took a look at the phone since I never had such issues with other handsets on this laptop... At times I could not enable BT, it would say "Turning on...", but just hang and a phone reboot would be required (http://www.archlives.eclipse.co.uk/xperiau/BTEnableFail.jpg). At other times no data transfer would be occuring, yet the BT icon would show active data transfer (http://www.archlives.eclipse.co.uk/xperiau/BTActiveFail.jpg) and I couldn't deactivate BT. The Xperia U is also advertised as having numerous BT profiles, yet a search would only reveal serial port (after some difficulty) and Object Push (http://www.archlives.eclipse.co.uk/xperiau/BTProfileFail.jpg). While the white pages clearly state that the address book is accessible, I couldn't connect to it (http://www.archlives.eclipse.co.uk/xperiau/BTPhonebookFail.jpg).
Network: On one occassion I turned on my phone and it simply wouldn't connect to the network. I had to remove the battery and sim and reboot to get it working again (http://www.archlives.eclipse.co.uk/xperiau/NetworkFail.jpg).
Data: Even when I disabled data, the phone still showed it was connected on HSDPA (http://www.archlives.eclipse.co.uk/xperiau/DataDisableFail.jpg).
So that's four methods of wireless connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth, general Network and Data, and all four have failed :(
Charging: The USB charging cable shipped with the phone is stiff and rediculously short. This means use of the phone while charging (which is frequent) is awkward both from a handling and physical location perspective. Furthermore, sony say the supplied rapid charger must be used with the supplied USB cable to work, yet if my old phone's 950mAh battery takes about 1h30 to charge and this battery, being approx 1/3 larger at 1,320mAh, takes a 1/3 longer to charge at around 2hrs, where is the speed benefit from the rapid charger? Far worse than any of this though is the battery's reliability. Some say charging a partially charged battery makes no difference to the latest batteries, and improved performance is seen after a few charges. Well, due to this battery/phone combination, the battery had ample chance to improve its performance after many many charges in only a few days. My first real shock though came when I left home, barely used the phone, and it was off by the time I returned 5h30 later (http://www.archlives.eclipse.co.uk/xperiau/BatteryFail1.jpg). I only got 5h23m out of it, and you can see from the "Screen on" that it was barely used. The battery seemed to drain in seconds when it didn't have signal (I travelled by tube) - hardly something you want to put up with in London - and the last 15% went in no time at all and for no reason. Next test was the next day where it performed even worse. I again left home and didn't even travel underground, yet the phone was barely used and lasted a mere 4h10m, thanks to the last 85% (!!!) of the battery life draining for no apparent reason (I'd just taken 3 photos) and in no time (http://www.archlives.eclipse.co.uk/xperiau/BatteryFail2.jpg). Oh yes, and one quick phone call used far more power than one would think: a 4min call took 6% of the battery (http://www.archlives.eclipse.co.uk/xperiau/CallDrain.jpg), a rate that would only give about 1hr of calltime, yet it is advertised as having up to 5h36m. The last straw was when it died in my hands with 60% remaining and as usual wouldn't turn on without plugging it in when I'd already given it a top-up charge due to the steadily declining power (http://www.archlives.eclipse.co.uk/xperiau/BatteryFail3.jpg). This is not just poor battery performance, it is unreliable and unusable - worse than my first huge brick of a phone by Motorola back in the mid '90's!
I have therefore returned to phone to Three UK, and knowing I would have some challenges doing this, researched my statutory rights first. In summary, in England you do have the right to return any faulty item within a short time scale for a full refund, regardless of what the store policy is (provide proff such as I did with screenshot that there are indeed problems). The manager I had to deal with was understanding and helpful, yet adamant he could only do a swap or repair. Having lost faith in the product, I wanted a full refund. Only after politely explaining that my consumer rights took preference to Three's policies and a call to head office did he see things my way and issue a refund. If you have problems in England with this or any other product, don't listen to their rubbish policies. Know your rights (http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/consumer_e/consumer_common_problems_with_products_e/consumer_what_you_can_do_about_faulty_goods_e/faulty_goods_-_if_you_want_your_money_back.htm). And by the way, while these rights were relevant to me as I bought the phone outright on a PAYG deal, if you upgrade, your rights are reduced and a refund is unlikely! I was lucky to have bought the phone as I did, which made sense for me since it cost far less for me to buy outright than a 24 month contract that would cost a lot more than my current contract does - always do the maths!
I'd be very interested to know if other people have experienced these or any other issues. I do like the phone, and would buy it again if I knew it was going to work reliably and the battery would last more than a few hours. Is this a Gingerbread issue that could be fixed by the ellusive ICS update, a problem with Three's branded firmware, or an issue with the Sony product itself? Whichever, I wasn't going to forefit my rights to find out and be stuck with it, but I would like to know.
I see no point in carrying very expensive and large computers in my pocket, so I really wish it had worked reliably and I could have kept the phone, cos now I don't know whether to go for Ace2 or One V, or if I had bad luck and Xperia U really is better.
downloading speed is very high on 3g i get upto 15 mbps link speed faster than my broadband :P
Avtar, 19 Jul 2012Go for Samsung Ace, coz its better then Sony... Also U get better resale value when you have t... moreAce is not a better phone than Xperia U. Ace 2 rather may be. But its bit costlier too
which phone is better to buy
1. HTC One v
2. SOny Xperia U
3. Samsung Galaxy Ace 2
PV, 19 Jul 2012Hey can anyone suggest an online store to buy an otg cable for xu in india. plsSee on Ebay
Three repairs in 40 days and each repair takes 10 days.. Worst phone by Sony
Guys dont go for sony phones..I bought Xperia u a month back and within 3 days had problem with the speakers , call quality was poor so I gave it to the service Center . They said it will be replaced but when I got the 2 nd set after 10 days it was a refurbished one which started having the same problem after a week... Now I am repenting for buying it and have given it back again ..please don't go for Xperia u.. Worst handset ever with features that r good only on paper...
PV, 19 Jul 2012Hey can anyone suggest an online store to buy an otg cable for xu in india. plsTry in ebay.com
excellent device at this price range..,everything is quite cool..u may get some problem at the beginning,,,like restart,heating n freezing issues of the device,but all get's well after using for few days...u cannot get device with dual core processor at this price range from any other mobile company....n most important speed of the device is awesome...camera n video quality is also very good...6gb is more than enough to store files...n there is also online storage of 50gb cloud space for the device in drop box apps which u can download from market..n this storage is for lifetime...wat u want more than this at this price range....
i hav tis phone jus few days back...i love this phone bt only prob i m facing is with its memory...
fadhil, 19 Jul 2012can any one say regarding the skype..facility in sony xperia u ..and i jst wanna to confrm tha... moreI have used skype on Xperia U and it runs without any issues. No problems in connection/video/voice at all. fun to use indeed!
Everything is awesome in this phone except no availability of card slot....c'mon guys i don't think a 4gb internal memory is enough with lots of apps available in the market.
Karter, 19 Jul 2012Hi, OTG is fine with xperia u and there is no problem, supports upto 8gb mmc and 8gb pendrive ... moreso otg cable was good with xperia u and how is the battery performancw with that
Kunal, 19 Jul 2012Hey guys plz tel me tht my sony pc companion is showing no updatez but there are many people w... morelucky fellow....
new update .162 is a buggy update that results in loss of signal and make phone unusable therefore it was pulled out after the complaints all over the world...
better to stick with older build...
ANonymous, 19 Jul 2012Can i know is it okay ti buy as i am investing 1month salary in this and if i make the wrong c... moreHey there, I just bought the phone and it works pretty well, quite content with the specifications but there is an issue with battery backup ,needs to be charged frequently. Otherwise it's a very stylish and sophisticated set!