A glance of the expert's eye might miss that the Sony Xperia Tipo is an Android Ice Cream Sandwich handset, but it seems that Google's most recently released mobile OS version is everywhere these days - even in a handset preparing to hit the shelves at under £100.
The idea from Sony is a fairly simple one. There are plenty of budget Android phones out there but few from the likes of the trusted hardware manufactures such as HTC, Samsung, Nokia and its good self. So, customers looking in that price bracket might then be swayed by the Xperia name as well as the promise of ICS.
Fortunately, the Sony Xperia Tipo does have a little more to offer than that. It's fitted with an 800MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM7225AA processor and 3.2-inch touchscreen while, camera-wise, we’re looking at a 3.2-megapixel snapper with 4x digital zoom, though there’s no flash of any description. There's no doubt once in the hand that it's not an expensive piece of kit. It's very light at just 99.4g and the plastic finish is a giveaway even if its mass is not.
All the same, it does have a familiar Xperia UI with some of the features from bigger and better handsets including access to the Sony Music Unlimited subscription streaming service and a rather interesting app which helps you keep a visual track of how much data you're using.
All in all, it seems an Android offering that's hard to ignore for someone looking to get in at entry level. The only slight downer is that the Tipo won't be coming to the UK in dual-SIM version. So, if you wanted to take advantage of switching networks, packages and plans at the flick of your finger, then you might have to get one from abroad.
The Sony Xperia Tipo is coming to Carphone Warehouse in early August and will be available in black, white, blue and red.