Sony Xperia tipo review

Reviews Editor 11:50, 24 Aug 2012

We review the Sony Xperia Tipo, a tiny weeny budget Sony Android device

Rating: 
3
Pros: 
Android 4.0, Good music quality, Pocketable
Cons: 
So-so camera, Small fiddly screen
Verdict: 
The Sony Xperia tipo is a small phone with a big operating system. In the middle are some average sized features and capabilities

Android budget handsets are now a well established fact of mobile phone life, and anyone with around £120 to spare can choose between quite a number of SIM free phones. 

How about the Motorola Defy Mini with its water and dust resistant credentials, or the Samsung Galaxy Y, or the rather nice Huawei Ascend G300? HTC's lowest cost handset, the Desire C is closer to £200, but then that's Android 4.0 so what do you expect?

Well, Sony's tipo sports Android 4 and it is currently available SIM free for £126.

Aesthetics and design

The tipo (yep, that's a lower case ‘t' in there), is a tiny phone, designed for small hands. If you're a bit of a monster-digit then you might want to steer clear. The small handset will fit nicely in the pocket though, being 103 x 57 x 13 mm in size and its weight of 99.4g won't weigh you down. 

For all its low cost Sony has thought a bit about the look and feel, and the tapering of the edges inwards is a neat touch and makes a change from blockier designs. The inward curve arguably makes the phone a bit more comfy to hold than straight-sided phones too.

There's also a little lip of bright shiny plastic beneath the three touch-sensitive shortcut buttons under the screen that takes the phone away from being a rectangular monolith.

Build quality isn't bad. Yes the phone flexes slightly if forced, but it feels quite solid for all that. And Sony has mounted the headset slot where it should be on the top edge to keep music lovers happy. So far, then, so good.

Display

A small phone inevitably means a small screen, and this is a bit of a problem especially when it is low resolution too. The screen here measures 3.2 inches and it has 320 x 480 pixels. Reading web pages isn't the most rewarding experience as you have to do a lot of scrolling. Watching video is less enjoyable than it could be too. Tapping at the keyboard is tricky if you've larger hands. 

That's not our only gripe with the screen either. It seemed to be a bit reluctant to respond to taps sometimes. This wasn't so bad as to really irritate, but every now and again a tapped icon failed to react, and we felt irked.

Hardware

A phone that costs £126 isn't going to have earth shatteringly good hardware, but the mix needs to be serviceable. What you get here is an 800MHz Qualcomm processor which is supported by 512MB of RAM. It does OK, but isn't blistering - which is what you'd expect really.

We did find that sometimes apps were a bit slow to load, and some YouTube clips took their time to render and play too. But it is nothing beyond what's to be expected for a handset at this price. 

What did irritate us was a memory expansion issue. With just 2.5GB of built in storage you'll need a microSD card and the slot is under the battery. If you like adding data such as music by swapping cards in and out, then the need to power down first will become a pain.

 

Specifications

Typical Price £130 (available from Clove)
Frequency Quadband
Phone Style Touchscreen
Thickness 13mm
Length 103mm
Width 57mm
Weight 99.4g
Built-in Memory 2.5GB
Additional Memory microSD card slot
High-speed Data HSDPA
Connectivity Wi-Fi,Bluetooth
Screen Size 3.2-inch
Screen Colours 262k
Camera 3.2-megapixel
Zoom Yes
Ringtones Yes
Music Player Yes
Music Formats MP3, 3GPP, MP4, SMF, WAV, OTA, Ogg vorbis
Radio Yes
Speaker Yes
Internet Yes
Browser HTML
Battery Standby 545 hours
Talktime 4.5 hours

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