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Sony Xperia Tipo review

Niall Magennis



Our Score


User Score


  • Long battery life
  • Runs Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Dinky dimensions


  • Price is relatively high for the specification
  • Tiny and low resolution screen
  • Slightly iffy call quality

Review Price £110.00

Key Features: 3.2inch touchscreen; 3.2 megapixel camera; 2.9GB of memory; 800Mhz processor

Manufacturer: Sony


The Sony Xperia Tipo is Sony's latest Android phone that has a small price to match its dinky dimensions. However, unlike a lot of other budget handsets we've seen lately, it doesn’t rely on the older 2.3 version of Android, but instead comes loaded with the relatively recent Ice Cream Sandwich version of Google's mobile OS.

Sony Xperia Tipo Design

The Sony Xperia Tipo really is tiny, as it stands a mere 103mm tall and is 57mm wide. It's relatively thick at 13mm, but because it weighs just under 100g, you hardly notice it when it's tucked away in your pocket.

The design is pretty non-descript, but not exactly unpleasant. It's decked out almost completely in black with just the silver effect used on the logos and touch buttons to break up the dark, moody exterior. The front has a slick glossy finish and there's a sloping cutaway just under the screen that looks quite stylish.

On the back the curved battery cover, which has a grippy rubberised finish, helps it to fit snugly in the hand and the phone feels solidly built, even if the chassis is quite plasticy.

Sony Xperia Tipo ST21i

Along with the three standard Android touch buttons beneath the screen there are also hard buttons for the volume and power/lock controls. The latter is a tad too small and too recessed for our liking and as a result sometimes makes it fiddlier than it should be to take the phone out of standby.

Sony has thankfully placed the Tipo's standard headphone jack at the top of the handset, but unfortunately the microSD card slot has been sited underneath the battery, making it a bit of a pain to get at.

Sony Xperia Tipo Screen

Probably the most irritating aspect of the Sony Xperia Tipo is its screen. It measures just 3.2-inches across the diagonal and has a low resolution of 320x480 pixels. It feels very cramped to use, colours tend to look a bit muddy and there's a good deal of motion blur when you're scrolling through menus or up and down on webpages.

The small display also makes the onscreen keyboard a bit tricky to use, especially in portrait mode. This is simply because the keys are very closely packed together with the result that it's easy to hit adjacent letters to the one you were aiming for. Using the predictive text entry engine in Android helps alleviate some of this as the phone will automatically correct mistakes, but typing messages or emails is still a lot slower on this phone than on Android mobiles with larger displays.

Sony Xperia Tipo Camera

The handset only has as single camera on the rear, so you can’t use it for video calling in apps like Skype. The camera is a fairly basic 3.2-megapixel snapper with a fixed focus lens and a lack of integrated flash too. Picture quality is relatively poor mainly because it struggles to capture finer detail. Leaves on trees tend to look painted on, for example, as all the detail on the leaves gets smudged. It also tends to overexpose brighter areas of the image. On the plus side, colours are generally pretty accurate. On the whole, though, while the camera is fine for taking quick snaps to upload to Facebook, you won't want to rely on it for much more than that.

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November 8, 2012, 3:07 pm

You need to be bolder in your criticism. This is a big-brand smartphone hiding obsolete technology. It is not a good medium-term investment and seems designed to trap people into being so dissatisfied that they upgrade after a year or two.

A weak, out-of-date idea of what 'budget' means and another symptom of the problem some handset vendors have grasping that Android is moving away from this model.

Adam Mark Steven James

December 30, 2012, 7:24 am

Sony Xperia Tipo are the best all time smartphones, GPS & others

David Griffin

January 2, 2013, 12:41 pm

You didn't mention the possibility of this being a teenager's phone.
It's an affordable way to get your small typing fingered youngster a smart phone without breaking the bank. And not everyone judges everything against the best kit on the market.
So far my daughter is thrilled with her Tipo and I'm not unimpressed myself.


January 17, 2013, 9:56 am

htc wildfire s and sony tipo which one better???


February 8, 2013, 5:30 pm

whut's wrong with tipo? the camera is still nice and i don't find anything bad about it, it's just small. it's good as 2nd phone

Adam Lavery

March 8, 2013, 2:52 am

After having my Sony Xperia tipo for only three weeks, I can say that I was thoroughly satisfied with all of the phone's abilities and features until the screen stopped working as it was meant to. I can't use the keyboard in either landscape or portrait mode without having to shift one to the other in order to use all the keys, while some keys (to switch OFF the keyboard, for instance) won't work in either mode. It's even getting to the point where the slide to activate the phone in either phone or camera mode takes seven or eight swipes to have it register. Don't ask me about it starting and quitting apps without me pressing anything, either.
I'd love this phone... if it worked the way it did out of the box... for more than, say, a year, instead of two and a half weeks.


April 1, 2013, 10:38 am

You do have warranty, don't you? If so, why won't you RMA it? It comes with a 24-months warranty (at least in Poland).

Hannah moore

April 14, 2013, 10:34 pm

its good for the price :)


July 3, 2013, 6:55 am

i think according to cost in india tipo is best......

Rhema Rosy Anil

July 21, 2013, 12:37 pm

It's worthless. I bought this phone in december and it worked completely fine for a month. Then it's touch started getting very bad and now texting and what's apping has become such a big headache and it takes forever because of the really slow touch.


August 23, 2013, 4:52 pm

Some days ago my wife was given a new, Sony Xperia Tipo, by a working colleague. she has an iphone 5 and I have Galaxy S III. Before I got the Tipo up and running, I checked out Google and came across the Trusted Reviews, well, review. The TR review didn't have a lot of praise for the Tipo.

I've been using the S III for quite some time. Although it's one of the best smart phones out there and performs very well, I've always found it awkward to hold and didn't care for its flimsy design. I was always in fear of dropping it. To me its size and design made it impractical. Quite frankly I wish I had never bought it.

After getting the Tipo set up, I wasn't expecting much, but since using it for the last few days, I've been surprisingly pleased. The "low" screen resolution is quite adequate and pleasing. The Koi live wallpaper fish are happily swimming around and are quite vivid. I have all of the same aps that I had on the Galaxy and they all respond well. I have made and received phone calls and the sound hasn't been "iffy", but quite good. The sound emanating from the Tipo while watching Live Station or hearing the ring tone, is in my opinion, better than the Galaxy III.

I found the camera to be quite adequate and of far better picture quality than those shown in the TR review. Neither have I noticed any of the "blur" mentioned in the review. Messaging in the first place sucks on any phone and more so on the Tipo, because of the tiny keyboard. So, I use one of those rubber tipped pens used on tablets.

All in all a nifty little phone phone that is responsive and practical, at least for me. Some may call it a teenager's phone, but I'm 66 years old and like it. I don't need to impress others with my phone. As for the Galaxy III, my wife has taken it over, as she's always had her eye on it and is quite a bit younger than I am.

Mike Mu

October 12, 2013, 8:32 pm

For me, the touch screen is too sensitive. It doesn't respond when I touch and does respond when I don't think I touched any bottom. I will probably return this phone.


October 22, 2013, 8:41 am

i am going to buy sony tipo r else nokia lumia 520 which is good


December 25, 2013, 7:23 pm

I am a couple of years older than you. I also have a Galaxy S4 and an Xperia Tipo. I agree on all you say, and I can add that the sound on Tipo is even better that on the S4. Furthermore, the S4 is a battery hog, no matter what the specifications say and very bad in week signal areas; not so with Tipo, the battery lasts and it even works better than most other phones on that week signal areas (same carrier).

Mike Mu

February 27, 2014, 2:56 am

After installing patch to fix the problem, the touch screen got normal! Now I found that it works with google voice input, I am completely satisfied with the small light-weighted phone. it works with bluetooth headphone, too.


April 22, 2014, 6:48 am

sony xpiria tipo water proof or not ?

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