Review of the Sony Xperia Tipo ST21i smartphone


This smartphone belongs to a low budget level or initial level, if to speak from a marketing point of view. Nevertheless, it possesses all attributes and smartphone functions. This device has an original design that is uniquely Sony; this design is so unique and may also be evident in Sony’s Xperia Mini. The most important and main plus of this smartphone, is its price. Sony has managed to come up with an affordable price tag, at the time of writing this article the price was about 100-120$ in the market. The second most important plus of this phone is the presence of the 4th android OS and it has a very efficient battery for such small screen. However there are several negative traits that may need to be reiterated. These negative points are often seen when you are already using the phone for real. The device was not is delivered in a pretentious box, unlike the box of the iPhone or at least HTC, the box of the Xperia was only placed in a thin cardboard. A little reference information was on the box along with the image of the phone and the brand. The box and the packaging are simple unlike other brands.


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Let’s take a look inside, here we were greeted by a lot of instructions in the different languages, the printed paper instructions are heavy. Sony company is engaged in squandering and obviously doesn’t watch eco-friendly trends at all. They are still using too much paper just to print out instructions. In addition you will also find earphones inserts and the charger block with a cable by means of which the smartphone may be connected and to a computer.

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Design, ergonomics and battery

To characterize the design in a word, it is a brick, a small brick. But personally the design was pleasant to me, it is better than a piece of soap of the Samsung Galaxy S3 type. The size comparison may not be correct and weight categories different, but purely on design it is quite possible to compare. The smartphone is very thick, but its small dimensions are rather a plus, it sits on your hand solidly and more conveniently compared to other smartphone designs. This design is not the copy of old Sony models and thus pleases originality which is always good. In the lower part there is a deepening, more precisely a bevel at a small angle. Materials of the case are polycarbonate or soft-touch if to observe the terminology. It is very pleasant to the touch, it is used in the majority of leaders of similar devices at the most various brands. In a hand it doesn’t slide, the scratches are not visible should you accidentally scratch the cover, fingerprints don’t remain as well and it doesn’t become soiled long. The covering of the screen is not Gorilla glass which is a drawback for me.


In the lower part of the smartphone there are 3 standard touch buttons: back, home and menu. Here sensors are located; these sensors are invisible to the naked eye and users need not worry about. Now let’s look at the sides of the phone. From above there is an on/off button, this is traditional for android and smartphones at all, however here it is very small and its camber over a smartphone surface which is very small in my opinion. As a result it is very inconvenient to press it. You may not be able to get it the first time but you will eventually as you use it every day. I don’t understand what the problem was to make a front button, like Samsung, they simply copy iPhone and put the on/off button on front part of the screen, because placing it below is very convenient. As from above there is a socket of 3.5 mm for connection of earphones. From below at us anything interesting, only a ledge by means of which it is possible to open the back cover of the phone.

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On the right side is a volume control, it is used just like the on/off button. It is very hard to manipulate this button to adjust the volume initially but you will eventually get used to it just like using the power button. The squared small opening on the same side is intended for belt installation. On the left side is the microUSB port.

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On the back panel there is actually a loudspeaker, a camera and a logo, and a logo convex, the logo will soon lose its appearance after carrying the smartphone in your pocket every day.

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It is important to tell a couple of words about the battery capacity, it’s about 1450 mAh. But the most important thing is how long the battery lasts; for example with the LG 4X HD in the same mode of operation works for 12 hours, then demands charging. The iPhone 4S works for 1 day, but battery of Sony Xperia Tipo ST21i will allow you to work for 3 days, this is amazing time for any smartphone. The battery is one of the most important thing in a smartphone purchase since you need to have a reliable battery. Not all have an access to the socket for each 12 hours to charge phone.

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It certainly not Retina from Apple or SuperAmoled from Samsung or TrueIPS from LG, however for a smartphone for less than 100-120$ I expected much more the worst quality of the image. In those reviews that were all about the Xperia Tipo ST21i on the Internet, reviewers write that the screen gives blue hue and in my opinion anything similar, it less bright, less rich, less….etc. But the quality of the picture is better compared to some competitors for $200 and above. There is no auto-adjust of brightness of the screen and in general anything isn’t present in display settings, but the screen honestly fulfills the 100$. If to look at 90 degrees angle, the picture in general is excellent, juicy, all super if to start looking at a direct angle. From common angles everything is quite worthy, but if you look at an angle from above – that the picture strongly worsens just like the first LCD monitors, simply you can’t see anything. But usually no one looks at their phones at this angle which is why this feature was never added at all. Near at hand for comparison was the LG 4X HD with fine TrueIPS, it is quite comparable with the Xperia. Actually you will see on a photo below what I meant. In the next photos you can see the screen under various corners of the view. Click on pictures for viewing them in a full size. So my opinion that screen is quite good for its price, but of course it worse than any high-end models.

Display quality of Sony Xperia Tipo ST21i

Display quality of Sony Xperia Tipo ST21i

Comparison displays of Sony Xperia Tipo ST21i and LG 4X HD

Comparison displays of Sony Xperia Tipo ST21i and LG 4X HD

Viewing angles of Sony Xperia Tipo ST21i

Viewing angles of Sony Xperia Tipo ST21i

A couple of words about the sensor, it not the best quality, but also not the worst; it is thus ordinary. All this phone has is a set of compromises. To compare the sensor to an iPhone then you will see its uncomfortable to use, but to compare it with other smartphones (100-200$), you will tell that the sensor is good. The sensor misses very often, but it occurs because the small size of the screen, you can manipulate the menu screen with your thumb but men with large fingers may find it hard to use this device at all. Using the device to send an SMS is also a torture if you have large fingers but to a child this will never be a problem at all. Once again we will return to describing the quality of the image, look at a macro picture of the LG 4X HD and Sony Xperia Tipo ST21i screen, I think it will answer all questions, you will surely be able to draw your conclusions easier.

Sony Xperia Tipo ST21i - macro shot of display quality

Sony Xperia Tipo ST21i - macro shot of display

LG 4X HD - macro shot of display quality

LG 4X HD - macro shot of display

Software and communications

Actually the main thing that makes this smartphone worth buying it is ICS or the 4th android operating system. You almost won’t find such cheap smartphones with 4th generation android. Perhaps there is no sense to describe the advantages of the 4th android in comparison with the 2nd which is installed in the majority of similar price devices, these advantages are obvious. On communications you won’t meet any problems; all that is necessary is present: Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi with opportunity to create Hot Spots and certainly a USB port. All this at the time of tests worked for me normally, glitches isn’t noticed though certainly I used it only for a few weeks. The device has 512 megabytes of the RAM, Qualcomm chipset, the ARM11 processor works at clock frequency in 800 MHz, the graphics is presented by the Adreno 200 card. Yep, it is not for games, you will be able to play simple casual games, the device is designed for using various non-gaming software. But it’s a problem to load heavy sites too, it certainly will make it, but very slow and long. 3 gigabytes of memory of phone is for storage. These are available to the user for software, photos, movies, music, however there is a slot for flash cards of microSD which can expand your storage to 32 gigabytes though to the majority of buyers of this smartphone, additional volume in general is not required.

Camera, sample photos and videos

The camera here does not have an auto focus function. The quality of photos… it is difficult for me to speak about what simply is not present, there is no quality at all. Silhouettes were possible to make out but details were absolutely absent, generally photos are awful, even for social networks it was just too poor for quality. The lack of an auto focus limits you in shooting options even more strongly. Macro is absent as a class, the landscape too is weakest to speak, the quality of photos in different operating modes is lower. I didn’t begin to describe effects of shooting, it is formal as they are, but actually you will not able to use it.

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All photos as is, i didn’t process these photos, resolution of 2048х1536 pixels, it’s a greatest possible mode for this camera. I don’t need comments to tell you how awful these photos are. The video camera records in 640х480 resolution, the example is given below, quality of video is even worse than the photos.


Let’s talk about standard functions for any phone, after all these are very important in any smartphone buyer. The loudness of a sound of loudspeaker good, it is possible to adjust very loudly. In difference from some high-end models of other producers, this phone will be heard by the elderly person. Voice clearness at conversation at acceptable level, but there are several features lacking like advanced noise-lower, sound filters and so many more. Nevertheless the interlocutor will hear you well, and you will normally hear him. Quality of playing of music, it certainly does not beat Beats Audio from HTC, it plays music pretty noisy and low quality, if you a music lover, this phone is contraindicated to you, but for all others such a quality will be enough. Once again about the camera, pictures are suitable only for social networks where special quality isn’t required. The display is too small to use SMS often and in general to work in a touch mode are extremely inconvenient. If you are an adult man with big hands, this phone is contraindicated to you. It will be suitable for tiny female hands and as it will be convenient for children. The sensor works not ideally, it is obvious not the best sort of a sensor, it has a lot of misses though my fingers not thick at all. Games on phone are not possible, unless the simplest casual games. Phone opens sites with great difficulty, especially heavy one. While viewing the phone under the sun it is impossible to make out something on the screen, however it is a problem of all smartphones in general. Now we will talk about the pros, the main feature is presence of the 4th android of ICS, in the budget to 100-120$ it is almost impossible. Secondly screen clearness, I consider that for this money the screen simply excellent, with corners that can be seen in any common situation. I would refer its design to advantages, phone looks stylishly, and the back soft-touch panel creates the pleasant tactile feelings inherent in more expensive devices. One of the main merits it certainly the price, about 100-120$, it is very cheap. Regarding the size, phone may be placed in any pocket, in difference from modern 5 inch leaders. Existence of all standard communications and ports, nothing is cut down. As a whole this smartphone is full of compromises, however its price blocks all compromised features and the main functions of a phone it carries out adequately so I can safely recommend this device for purchase for adults as well as for children as first smartphone.

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Author: Eric
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  1. Fred 11 November 2013 :

    All in all, this smartphone is not perfect, but it has many good points, too. But I wouldn’t buy it at once, I’d better see another models before making my choice.

  2. Ricci 02 December 2013 :

    I’m disappointed with the camera quality. Such a smartphone definitely shouldn’t be so crude.

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