Sony Xperia S, Xperia P or Xperia U – which one should I buy?
Sony’s Xperia range is made up of three phones: the 4.3-inch Xperia S, the four-inch Xperia P and the 3.5-inch Xperia U. They may look identical in photos, but there’s plenty of difference – so which one is perfect for you?
(Don't forget you can also use our fantastic phone specs comparison tool to see each phone's specs side-by-side)
Sony Xperia U (top), P (middle) and S (bottom)
Xperia S – With its 4.3-inch screen, the Xperia S is the biggest of the bunch, so those with tiny pockets need not apply. It’s also the heaviest at 144g. Build quality is solid, although the soft-touch rear does scuff easily.
Xperia P – The Xperia P sits square in the middle with a four-inch screen, and weighs just 120g. We like the faux metallic design, which is resistant to scrapes and scratches – perfect if you’re a little clumsy like us.
Xperia U – Packing a compact 3.5-inch screen, the Xperia U is the dinkiest of the three phones, but also the chunkiest. Still, it weighs just 110g and has a unique removable lip, which can be replaced with other colours.
Xperia S – If you’re a pocket gamer, the Xperia S should be your tool of choice. A 1.5GHz dual-core processor keeps even intensive 3D titles running with silky smooth frame rates, and will do for some time to come.
Xperia P – The Xperia P downgrades from a 1.5GHz processor to a 1GHz CPU, but it’s still dual-core and can handle the latest games and apps – for now at least. Bear in mind that the Xperia P will be out of date sooner.
Xperia U – Impressively, the Xperia U manages to cram the same 1GHz dual-core processor as the Xperia P into a more compact (albeit chunkier) frame. Games and apps again pose no problem, with fast loading and smooth running.
Xperia S – Again, the Xperia S is the phone of choice for media fans who love to relax with movies or TV shows on lengthy trips. The 4.3-inch screen is the largest here, and beautifully crisp with a 1280x720-pixel resolution.
Xperia P – While the Xperia P’s screen is a little more compact than the Xperia S’, and doesn’t enjoy as sharp visuals (the 960x540 resolution is a noticeable step down), it’s still a fine way to take in videos and music on the move.
Xperia U – It’s perfectly possible to watch full HD films on the Xperia U, but the dinky display isn’t the most comfortable viewing experience ever. At least it’s as sharp as the Xperia P with a 854x480-pixel resolution.
The Sony Xperia P's screen is pleasingly vibrant, although not as crisp as the Xperia S'
Xperia S – When the Xperia S came out three months ago, the 12.1-megapixel camera was one of the best we’d seen. It’s since been superseded by the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III, which pack some impressive features, but the Xperia S still shoots supremely crisp and colourful images, while a 1.3-megapixel front-facing lens can be used for video chats.
Xperia P – The Xperia P is also blessed with an excellent camera, which like the Xperia S takes sharp daylight shots bursting with colour. It’s an eight-megapixel model, a downgrade from the Xperia S’ 12.1-megapixel lens, but the difference is negligible for everyday use – we struggle to tell the difference between Xperia S and Xperia P shots viewed side-by-side on a monitor.
Xperia U – Another step down, the Xperia U packs a five-megapixel camera, but again takes impressively colourful shots that look good when viewed on a monitor or TV. Differences in sharpness are only really apparent when you zoom into shots. Like the Xperia P, you get a VGA front-facing camera for video chats. You can also shoot panoramas.
Photo taken with the Xperia P (left) compared with photo taken with Xperia U (right)
Xperia S – The Xperia S enjoys the longest battery life out of all three phones, giving you well over 24 hours of use even if you regularly play with apps and keep in touch with buddies. Regular roamers should therefore consider the Xperia S over the other Xperias.
Xperia P – We were disappointed by the Xperia P’s lacklustre battery life, which was drained in just under 24 hours with moderate use (texts, emails and the occasional bit of app play). Many modern smartphones unfortunately struggle to last over a day.
Xperia U – Again, the Xperia U’s main failing was its battery life. As with the Xperia P, we found ourselves reaching for the charger within 24 hours, and that’s without constant music or video playback. For longer lasting performance, check out the Xperia S instead.
Xperia S - £360 SIM-free, considerably cheaper than premium rivals such as the HTC One X.
Xperia P - £316 SIM-free, not much cheaper than the Xperia S, which gamers and media fans should opt for.
Xperia U - £199 SIM-free, a massive saving considering you still get a dual-core processor and sharp screen.
If you're still unsure, check out our fantastic phone specs comparison tool, which shows you the specs of each phone side-by-side!