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Sony Xperia ST21i Tapioca gets hands-on treatment, still not officially confirmed

May 12, 2012

While most of us are eagerly waiting to see Sony’s upcoming super phone, the LT29i “Hayabusa”, in action, another, more modest handheld from the Japanese company has enjoyed a first hands-on treatment.

The ST21i “Tapioca” hasn’t been officially confirmed by anyone at Sony, but we knew for a while (a couple of weeks, to be more exact) that it was coming. With just an 800 MHz single-core processor under the hood, but with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on top of the box, the Tapioca has left a pretty good impression to the guys at Eldar Murtazin’s Mobile-review, the first people to ever get their hands on a pre-release version of the phone.

In terms of design, the Sony Xperia ST21i is set to differentiate itself from the company’s current line of Xperia phones (the S, P and U), while keeping things simple. The phone is light, but doesn’t feel cheap, and the overall look is surprisingly elegant. On the other hand, the screen is made out of plastic and that feels a bit cheap and shallow, said  Mobile-review.

As far as performance goes, the guys at haven’t had the chance to take the phone for more than a spin, but it was enough for them to conclude that this is “a weak device designed just to be able to run Android ICS acceptably”. The 800 MHz ARM 11 CPU is doubled by an Adreno 200 GPU, and the 512 MB of RAM is pretty much what you would expect from an entry-level phone these days.

The rest of the features are themselves decent, but not impressive. The Tapioca sports an HVGA screen with a 320 x 480 pixels resolution and “acceptable color reproduction”, the 3-megapixel rear-facing camera lacks focus and is “rather mediocre”, while the 3 GB internal storage space can be expanded with the help of a microSD memory card.

In terms of connectivity, the upcoming Sony low-end handheld will come with Bluetooth 2.1, WiFi 802.11 b/g and a microUSB 2.0 port. As far as autonomy goes, the 1450 mAh battery should go for around two days between charges based on average use, but that’s just a guess right now, as the phone is still in its development.

The handheld’s biggest ace up its sleeve, Android ICS, is reported to be “acceptable” as well. In fact, if we were to sum up mobile-review’s preview of the Sony Xperia Tapioca in only one word, that would probably be “acceptable”. Most basic applications run smoothly on the ST21i, at least by low-end standards, but it’s still difficult to talk about the software as a whole with months to the release of the  device.

We have no idea when will Sony actually unveil the ST21i, when it will be released, and how will it be priced. But rumors from a while back talked about a possible July launch and a $200 (or €200 in Asia and Europe) price tag.

Before we learn anything official about the phone, tell us what you think of the Tapioca after looking at the first pics and reading the preview (for the full hands-on click the source link below). Would you be tempted by Sony’s future low-end phone if it will be priced decently?