The Sony Xperia U has just been announced at MWC 2012 following an array of leaked images and a hands-on video from Three outed just minutes before. With its dual-core 1GHz processor, it's no budget-phone with respectable power behind its mid-range-self. The Xperia U is also the smallest handset in the new Sony line measuring in at a dainty 3.5-inches.

Despite being relatively compact, the Sony Xperia U's design still adopts Sony's masculine angles and geometric curvaceous matte backing as found on the Sony Xperia S. In addition to its design being bold and sturdy, swappable base components allow you to get a bit of personality across in your Xperia U with coloured portions that can be swapped out depending on your mood.

As well as the accents created by the base, the Sony Xperia U also enables custom lighting from its clear plastic portion. This can be personalised by the user and can even take on the prominent colour in a photo being viewed as demonstrated by Sedge from Three in the video below.

The Xperia U also packs a 5-megapixel camera as well as a 3.5-inch WVGA Reality Display. Having already been confirmed on Three, we can expect this to be the cheapest of the Sony bunch. When coupled with Three's competitive prices therefore, the Sony Xperia U should make for an affordable handset for the masses with an iPhone matching screen-size, dual-core power and personalisation to boot - we can't wait to try it out.