I’ve had the Xperia Tipo for a few weeks now and I’m really quite impressed with it. We covered the basics of the Tipo with our initial impressions here and now we’ll have a more in depth look at it.
The Tipo is in that range of devices where design of the device is normally not really in keeping with the rest of the range. Compared the other Xperia devices the Tipo looks totally different. It has a nice soft grip back panel that houses the battery compartment, sim slot & sd slot. Round the front the Tipo has three capacitive buttons, the sides have the usual volume and power buttons. Nothing revolutionary here so far. The only slight bit of interest in the design is the bit of plastic beneath the buttons, it’s tapered inwards for some reason. Another slight annoyance is the power button which is on the top right edge, quite hard for left handed people like me to reach. That’s it really for the design of the Tipo.
Here are a few shots of the Tipo and a few other devices I had lying around, so you can get a feel for the size.
Spec wise the Tipo seems like it will be an under performer. The spec is much the same as many sub £100 devices. With a single core processor and only 512MB of ram you’d expect the Tipo to be a bit slow.
Here is the spec for the Tipo:
- Dimensions – 103 x 57 x 13 mm
- Weight – 99.4 g
- Display – 320 x 480 pixels, 3.2 inches (180 ppi pixel density) – Scratch-resistant glass
- Memory – micro SD, up to 32 GB
- Internal – 2.9 GB storage (2.5 GB user available), 512 MB RAM
- WLAN – Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
- Bluetooth – Yes, v2.1 with A2DP
- Camera – 3.15 MP
- Video Recording – VGA
- OS – Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich
- Qualcomm MSM7225AA
- CPU – 800 MHz Cortex-A5
- GPU – Adreno 200
- Colors – Classic Black, Classic White, Deep Red, Navy Blue
- Battery – Li-Ion 1500 mAh
The one thing that Sony have got right here is the internal storage. For the market this is aimed at they will probably be installing a range of games and apps trying out Android for the first time, the last thing they want is the dreaded internal storage low message all the time. Also having an micro sd card slot is nice to see in a world shunning them. Quite often people wonder how the speaker on the device is, I’m guessing this is so they can plus music loudly on the back of the bus. The speaker on the Tipo is……
Often budget devices are ruined by old versions of Android or awful skins over the top that sap every last bit of power in the phone. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that the Tipo was running Ice Cream Sandwich. Yes it is still one version of Android behind, but how devices actually run it natively? Another thing is that the Sony Xperia skin is barely noticeable, just a few tweaks here and there and a few special icons.
The Xperia launcher in days gone by was a bit unpleasant, awash with intrusive Social Media integration. The newer versions are a lot more pleasant to use, offering media player widgets, social media widgets, clocks, weather and the updated Gmail and browser widgets from ICS. The one big surprise here was the lack of lag, moving from screen to screen or into the app drawer is done fluidly and without a delay. The days of awful budget devices are gone (short term).
With any device I get I like to see how it responds to normal usage and how long before I get really annoyed with it. To test this out I am going to look at normal daily usage and report back to you. To do this I’ll try out phone calls, sms, email, web browsing, listening to music, watch videos like YouTube or iPlayer and lastly I’ll have a look at the camera.
The Xperia dialler is nice and usable and includes shortcuts to your contacts and your favourites. So far no major problems.
Next up I went to send an sms, up pops the software keyboard and you’re left with a tiny portion of screen left. The keyboard also is a little awkward to use, mainly because of the size of the screen. Installing the Swiftkey alleviated a lot of my keyboard traumas, as the advanced correction sorted out my mis-typing. Email as expected was initially as traumatic as messaging, again changing the keyboard fixed that.
Web browsing is a bit hit and miss, it all depends what corner of the web you are frequenting. If you chosen site has a mobile version then you’re good. If not you’re in for a bit of zooming and scrolling. A good thing about the Tipo having ICS is you can install Chrome browser, meaning you can access all of your synced favourites, personally I love this feature of Chrome. Although the Chrome browser is a bit of a resource hog and the stock browser also syncs your bookmarks.
Listening to music on a Sony device has always felt like it is going to be special. I have owned a range of Sony Walkman MP3 players over the years and the quality is amazing, trying the Tipo out with music I was expecting good things. Sony have skinned the music app which adds a little extra functionality, quality wise the Tipo is above average (using some better quality headphones of course) and the speaker on the back is strangely loud.
Watching videos with YouTube has always been easy, over wifi even easier. The Tipo plays YouTube videos with no problems, sometimes larger hd videos need swapping out of hd mode to speed things up.
The camera is only a low spec 3mp camera with no flash, so don’t get any ideas above yourself here. If you are outdoors with a lot of light then you won’t be too disappointed, semi darkness or indoors then prepare for the inevitable.
Running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich the Tipo has access to various little benefits that the newer software offers, my favourite of these is the Data usage section in the settings. If you are on a contract with limited data or on pay as you go with limited data then this is really useful. Also you can create nice folders on your homescreen by just dropping one app onto another.
Sony have added a few little extra things like the nice wallpapers and the themes to allow you to really make the phone feel like it’s yours.
Here are some screenshots showing the variety of screens, apps and widgets available.
Overall the Tipo is a bargain for what you get and what it can do. Running Ice Cream Sandwich is a huge plus point for the Tipo. Not many budget devices come out with virtually the most current version out of the box. Yes there are devices out there like the Huawei Ascend G300 that offer similar spec and price but are a little larger, but if you want a small device that isn’t going to need hacking then this would be an ideal phone.
Suitable uses for this would be, as a second phone for taking out running, as it would be ideal for Endomondo tracking and music playback. A cheaper phone on payg for a member of your family who doesn’t want the latest and greatest device. Or just a device that does the job with little fuss and can be easily replaced if damaged.
At the moment the phone is available on the following networks:
from about £7 per month on contract with T-Mobile
or from £99.99 on payg with T-Mobile
You can even get it Sim Free from about £129.99