Sony Xperia tipo dual (ST21i2) Review

Sony has been missing from the scene in this segment for a while and only recently, announced two budget offerings – the Xperia tipo and tipo dual, the latter being a dual-SIM version.


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The entry-level Android space has only recently become rife with excitement as the newer models are actually something worth considering. When Android first started out, the cheaper variants were nothing but horrid and you wouldn’t want to go anywhere near a handset that was priced under 10K. That’s not the case now. Phones like the HTC Explorer, Samsung Galaxy Pocket and Micromax’s A75 have proved that budget Android handsets need not necessarily mean a crappy experience. Sony has been missing from the scene in this segment for a while and only recently, announced two budget offerings – the Xperia tipo and tipo dual, the latter being a dual-SIM version. Let’s see how it fares against stiff competition.

Video Review


Video review of the Sony Xperia tipo dual

Design and Build
The Xperia tipo dual isn’t winning any design awards but it’s not ugly either. The full plastic body feels sturdy and durable and we didn’t find any creaking parts anywhere. We got the silver variant, which covers the rear, sides and the little chin at the bottom with the ‘Xperia’ insignia on it. Sony uses a mineral glass for the front, which is scratch resistant but is still prone to fingerprints. The 3.2-inch TFT screen is accompanied by a row of three capacitive buttons beneath it.  The sides have the volume rocker and dedicated SIM switching button. The rear holds the 3MP camera and that’s pretty much it.


 Sony Xperia tipo dual (ST21i2) Review

A decent looker


While the tipo dual is fairly light at just 99g, it’s a bit chunky at 13mm. We actually like it this way since if it was light, it would feel like a toy and wouldn’t be that comfortable to hold. The extra width has also given Sony the liberty to pack in a chunkier 1500mAh battery. The phone only accepts regular SIM cards and a microSD card slot that’s placed under the battery, so it’s not hot-swappable. Sony also bundles two micro SIM adapters in case you have one. Overall, the tipo dual is a well-built phone with a sturdy construction and decent looks.

Quite a chunky little fella

Quite a chunky little fella


We’re happy to see Sony using the latest version of Ice Cream Sandwich, 4.0.4, which makes up for the slower 800MHz Qualcomm chipset. The MSM7225A SoC packs in a Adreno 200 GPU, which won’t do 720p video but will easily handle anything up to 480p. The display does not get any of the BRAVIA treatment and is a standard TFT LCD, so the viewing angles are not the best. You’ll notice a lot of colour shift while tilting the phone even slightly. Thankfully, we didn’t notice too much of colour banding in videos and wallpapers, so the display is not terrible. The capacitive screen responds well to touch and there’s two- finger multi-touch as well. There’s no ambient light sensor—something that we sorely miss.

Similar interface

Similar interface


The Xperia tipo dual gets the familiar skinning we’ve seen on other handsets, although this is similar to the lower-end handsets like the Live with Walkman rather than the higher-end Xperia phones. The UI is very smooth and you can quickly swipe between homescreens and apps without any slowdowns. Apart from the standard set of ICS settings and apps, there’s an Xperia setting that lets you set up Facebook for a deeper integration with the system. There aren’t any toggle switches in the notification bar, which would have been nice. For input, you only have the Xperia keyboard by default. This is not too bad actually and I did find typing on it relatively comfortable, although not very fast. You’re better off with Swype for a screen this small.

The loudspeaker is quite powerful for such a tiny phone and puts bigger phones like the Galaxy Nexus to shame. Music via the headphones is also crisp and clear. Though the bass didn’t have the thump that we’d expected, the mids and lows are covered quite well with the headset that comes with the phone. The music player lets you sort songs by Album, Tracks and Artists. You also have the option to create playlists. The music player also has a lockscreen widget that displays controls along with album art.

Good music playback

Good music playback


In terms of enhancements, you get Sony’s xLOUD feature, a few preset equaliser settings and a sound extension tab that allows users to instantly search for lyrics, karaoke videos and song information. FM Radio is also present. Video playback is a little lacklustre as it only supports MP4 format and lacks a video editor or extra options for streaming it via DLNA, through the player itself.

The Xperia tipo dual is a quad-band GSM phone for both SIM slots and also supports 3G for both SIMs. You can configure individual settings like ringtones, wallpapers etc. for each SIM and switch between them at any time by simply pressing the shortcut key on the side. You can’t have both SIMs active at the same time, so if you need that, then you might want to look elsewhere or simply carry two phones with you. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi b/g/n and Bluetooth v2.1. You get 2.5GB of usable onboard storage, which is good enough for the type of apps you’ll be using on this phone.

You're better off using Swype

You're better off using Swype


Sony has added their own set of apps like PowerSaver, LiveWare manager, TrackID etc.

Misc. Apps
Extra apps include Office Suite, Astro file manager, WhatsApp, NeoReader as well as some entertainment apps like Bollywood Hungama, Astro, CricBuzz, Cosmic numbers, Desimartini, PVR, Stumped etc.

The 3.2MP camera is devoid of auto-focus, so don’t expect anything great in terms of photography. Landscape shots are still decent, provided there’s good ambient light. However, don’t bother with anything at close quarters as there’s no proper focus. You get standard settings like exposure values, scene modes, geo-tagging etc. There’s no front facing camera, so video calls are out the window.

A standard fare

A standard fare


Video recording maxes out at VGA resolution (640 x 360) and as one would expect, the video quality is strictly average at best.

Not much for close up shots

Not much for close-up shots


Battery Life
The 1500mAh battery will let you power through one full day even with heavy usage. Thanks to the low-res screen, the Xperia tipo dual managed nearly 6 hrs in our video drain test. This is with Wi-Fi ‘off’ and the brightness set to medium. With calls, video, audio and a bit of streaming, you should easily expect a battery life of around 5-5.5 hrs.

Verdict and Price in India
Sony has priced the Xperia tipo dual at Rs.10,500, while the single SIM version retails for a grand less. Looking at just Tier 1 brands, the tipo dual is the best dual-SIM Android option at this price point, although we feel it’s still a bit expensive. It’s very similar to the HTC Explorer in terms of specs, except it’s better thanks to the bigger battery, better display and ICS. If Sony drops the price and manages to place it in the 8K range, it will make a killing.

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Sony Xperia Tipo Dual Specifications

Made to get you started: Buy the phone. Open the box. Switch on. Relax. Simply follow the guide to set up your accounts, such as Google and Facebook, and transfer contacts from your phone. And with two SIM cards and the data usage app, you never have to worry about data costs again. Made for 2 SIM cards: Switch between SIM cards anytime with a simple press on the dedicated hardware key. Perfect when you, for example, want to keep your work and leisure time apart. Or make it happen automatically – set which SIM card to use at specific times of the day. You can also customise each SIM card separately with different ringtones and notifications. Made to make life easy: Enjoy the entertainment. Xperia tipodual is so easy to use. The latest apps and music are just a click away from your home screen. Running on the latest Android platform, the Xperia tipodual makes web browsing quicker and easier too. Made to keep in touch – for longer: Chat on the phone. Or have an all-night gossip using Xperia with Facebook. For longer. With the powerful battery you can charge your phone and then use it for 24 hours without having to charge it again. Long battery life means you’ll never miss that important call – or funny status update again. Made to match your moods: Xperia tipodual is a smartphone. It gives you instant access to the web and online content, and a whole host of apps, like email, Google Maps and Google Search. Make your phone your own with hundreds of thousands of apps to choose from. All apps appear on the home screen, so they’re easy to get to.


Form FactorBar
Screen TypeTFT Capacitive Touchscreen
Screen Size3.2 inches
Screen Resolution320 x 480
Number of Colours262k


Speed800 MHz


Internal Memory2.9GB, 512MB RAM
Extendable MemorymicroSD, up to 32 GB

Camera Features

Sensor Resolution3.15 MP, 2048 x 1536 pixels
Digital Zoom4x
Video RecordingYes

General Features

FM RadioYes
Bluetooth FeaturesYes, v2.1 with A2DP
Dual Sim SupportYes
MessagingSMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, IM, Push Email
GPSYes, with A-GPS support
USB ConnectorYes
Available ColoursSerene black, Classic silver

Carrier Networks

2GGSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3GHSDPA 900 / 2100


WiFi802.11 b/g/n


Dimensions103 x 57 x 13 mm
Weight99.4 g


Media PlayerMusic formats: MP3, 3GPP, MP4, SMF, WAV, OTA, Ogg vorbis|#|Video formats: 3GPP, MP4
Alert ToneVibration, MP3
Audio connector3.5 mm


Talk Time with Standard BatteryUp to 300 (2G) / Up to 360 (3G)
Standby Time with Standard BatteryUp to 350 (2G) / Up to 360 (3G)

After Sales Service

Warranty Period1 Year


Warranty Period1 Year

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