UPDATE 8/8/12: The LT30p ‘Mint’ has shown no sign of becoming camera shy as following on the white background-laden preview shots taken by the team at mobile-review.com we now see it reappearing out in the wild, again from Bulgarian site, Nixanbal.com who have produced a 35-shot long image gallery. The look and feel of the Mint actually portray a surprisingly HTC style of design, particularly on the back with a more rounded appearance that it first appeared to have.
The leading suspicion now is that the LT30p ‘Mint’ is planning on unveiling itself to the world under the name of the Sony Xperia T. But what can we expect from this new handset?
What features will it have?
We’ve seen the Mint in a number of instances previously, however each of these occurrences has been directed through the phone’s imaging potential. We’ve seen demos of both its 13-megapixel still and HDR video capabilities, but this is the first time we get a real glimpse at the device responsible for creating them.
Despite being a prototype, this iteration of the Mint looks close to final fit and finish ahead of market release, save for a few tweaks to tolerances and hardware/software integration. The Mint uses a 4.3-inch 720p HD display not unlike the one currently employed by the Sony Xperia S, however to better adhere to Google’s recommendations, the Mint does away with physical hardware keys in place of onscreen adaptive buttons. Looking around the devices, there’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack, room for microSD expandability and charging or data transfer via microUSB.
Interestingly the right side now plays host to the lock/power, volume rocker and camera keys, all found on the lower portion of the phone’s side, supposedly to improve usability but as the review team point out, in practice users have grown accustomed to such controls on the upper sides or top of the device, making this layout appear a little cumbersome.
General performance appears to be solid with a new Qualcomm dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM working all the heavy lifting. Although the prototype is running Android Ice Cream Sandwich with Sony’s latest user experience tweaks over the top, the possibility of the Mint launching with the latest Android Jelly Bean shouldn’t be ruled out of the equation.
Where does it sit in Sony’s line up?
The codename doesn’t give away much, but due to the design differentiation over the Sony Xperia S, opting for a more Sony Xperia Miro/ Sony Xperia Tipo-like aesthetic, this looks to be more than the six-month refresh handset, a tactic Sony have used in the past. Instead the Mint looks as if it’s designed to be a true successor to the Xperia S building on the same hardware and improving in every capacity, being faster, thinner, lighter, with greater imaging capability and a new look.
Which phones will it rival?
If we’re right in saying that the Mint looks set to replace the Xperia S, it will also have to tackle its rivals, which presently stack up as the iPhone 4S, the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the HTC One X, all of which offer unique USPs in their own right. The Mint’s best move appears to be its 13-megapixel camera, which based on the prototype hardware, looks to produce competent shots and HDR video to an impressive standard.
When will it be out?
There is of course no official word on the existence of this device from Sony Mobile directly, but its state of readiness in this preview suggest that it may be available in weeks rather than the months. Expect the Mint to force the price of the Xperia S down too, to nab yourself a deal.