It's small but I wouldn't call it boring. It's very much a university city; students dominate large portions so there are plenty of bars/clubs, and young people are everywhere. Similar to Brighton in that way, without the toffs and vegan shops. But there's no denying it's an ugly place and has no culture, same as Reading.
The uni is an excllent RG and has become very highly ranked. It beats York, Durham, St Andrews, Nottingham, Leeds, Exeter, etc. in both The Times UK rankings and the QS global rankings. The only southern university (below London) ranked higher is Bristol, which is also a nicer place (but expensive).
Other good points: on the coast, good weather, cheap rent, campus uni. I live in Highfield and it's a 5 min walk to the campus.