The Sony Xperia Tipo is the most affordable Xperia Android phone model for this year and is available in single SIM card ST21i and dual card ST21i2 variants. Sporting a 3.2-inch 320×480 capacitive display, an 800MHz Cortex-A5 processor, 512MB of RAM, and an a rear-facing 3.15MP camera, the Tipo ST21i / ST21i2 doesn’t try to compete on the market using its specs, but rather with dual-SIM functionality, small dimensions and low price tag of about 140 Euros for dual and slightly less for single-card version, which are all missing on many available higher-end Android phones.
What’s good on the Tipo when compared to the cheap Android handsets present on the market is the relatively new Android 4.0.4 ICS OS version (with Sony’s Timescape UI on top of it). It’s not the latest Android Jelly Bean, but on the other side the majority of mobiles in this budget category still ship with 2-point-something Android.
On the design side, it has to be said that the Tipo ST21i / ST21i2 is fairly thick, measuring 13 millimeters in profile, but its height and width are only 103mm and 57mm thanks to the small screen. The phone feels solid and is easy to hold thanks to the slightly rounded body. The chassis is made of plastics, but matte back surface is real refreshment on the market full of glossy devices. The display appears to be covered with some sort of glass, not plastics.
The display panel has good brightness, while individual pixels are noticeable if you get really close to the display due to mediocre pixel density. The display has only acceptable viewing angles, as you can see from the images.
Performance wise, after one hour of use on the Sony’s booth at 2012 IFA, I got an impression of fairly snappy speed when you scroll through the menus and home screens. Lag when opening apps is really small, so if you don’t plan to use the phone for some demanding tasks, you won’t be irritated with its basic 800MHz CPU.
Overall, the main selling points of the Sony Xperia Tipo ST21i and ST21i2 have been already mentioned: cheap price, dual-SIM option, and small dimensions. If you need that rather than a big screen and fast CPU, the Tipo appears to be among the best choices.