After initially being spotted in a leaked shot last month, Sony's ST25i — now believed to be branded as the Xperia U — has made another appearance ahead of its expected Mobile World Congress reveal. A set of new images at ePrice compare the handset with the Xperia S, and apart from some slight modifications near the rear camera, it's fair to call Sony's latest device a "mini" take on the Xperia S, carrying over traits like the transparent bar below the screen and a removable battery.

Specs on the pictured hardware include a 3.5-inch display, a dual-core 1GHz processor, 512MB RAM, and a 5-megapixel rear camera with 1080p video recording functionality. Unfortunately, Sony seems to have dropped HDMI output on the new model, perhaps in a bid to trim those dimensions further. Also, while there's visible Sony Ericsson branding on the device, we'd expect the final hardware to reflect Sony's now wholly-owned mobile business. With Mobile World Congress less than a week away, we should know the full story on the 2012 Xperia lineup soon.