Perhaps one of the surprise hit handsets of the summer is the Sony Xperia U. It's small, it's nifty, it's customizable and boy is it laden with features for a £200 handset. Not only does it have a dual-core 1GHz processor, it also packs in a 5-megapixel autofocus camera, WVGA 3.5-inch screen and the same Sony UI as found on the Xperia S and P. All in all, it's an absolute corker out of the box and you can check out our review to see exactly what we thought. That said, after some time tinkering, here are 5 tips to make your Sony Xperia U even better.
Tip One: Change your theme, change your phone
We're guessing you already know that the transparent strip at the bottom of the Sony Xperia U lights up in different colours when you're looking through your gallery. What you may not know is that changing your theme can change the colour of the transparent strip when you're simply thumbing through the user interface.
What's more, Sony pack a bunch of vibrant themes for you and they are a doddle to access. Just click menu when on the homescreen, then select theme and you'll be able to thumb through them all. Pick your colour of choice and as simple as that, your Xperia U will light up that colour too.
Tip Two: Stack your icons
We may complain that Gingerbread is loaded on the Sony Xperia U instead of Ice Cream Sandwich, however no one can deny that Sony make the UI more usable than stock Android 3.2. One feature that exemplifies this and has been on Sony's Android handsets for generations and has only just made its way onto stock ICS and this is icon stacking.
Long pressing on an application and dropping it on another will create a folder which you can then name. This is a great way of organising your apps and you can even keep folders fixed in your Xperia U's dock.
Tip Three: Share your media
You may not have an HDMI out on the Sony Xperia U as found on the P and S but that won't stop you from downloading an app like Twonky and streaming your content wirelessly across your connected home. How to do this? Simply jump into the Google Play Store, download Twonky and connect to a Wi-Fi network.
This will require some other devices in your house to be DLNA connected. PCs, smart TVs, tablets and other mobiles all fit the bill. Get the devices on the same Wi-Fi network as your Xperia U and movies and music can be shared from your nifty little phone without a wire in site. Twonky also has some handy set up instructions so check out the app here.
Tip 4: Fast capture
Your phone's off. It's in your pocket. You see something you want to take a picture of but by the time you fumble through your pockets, press the power button, unlock the screen, open the camera application, frame your shot and shoot, you've not only missed your moment, but you feel compelled to take a picture of absolutely nothing just to validate the effort. Sound familiar?
Not with the Xperia U. From the phone being locked, just long press the camera button and the Xperia U will turn itself on, focus and fire in no time flat. Simple.
Tip 5: Change your focus
The Sony Xperia U camera doesn't just offer speedy capture, it also boasts an advanced camera user interface. If you prefer using the physical camera button and find the single auto-focus point a little constricting, there's a great alternative. Just jump into your settings, tap focus mode and choose multi auto focus. We found this tended to get us the shots we wanted time after time transforming a cheap and cheerful phone into a competent camera.
Enjoy the video our video tips and tricks below and if you've got anything to add, just fire us a comment.