Sony Ericsson Xperia neo Review
Sony Ericsson seems to have drawn conclusions from its constant struggle with software updates and the Xperia neo ships with the latest version of Android – 2.3 Gingerbread. But it's the performance that truly counts and responsible for that is a 2nd generation single-core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 chipset clocked at 1GHz with Adreno 205 graphics. RAM memory stands at the healthy 512MB. We ran the Quadrant Standard Edition benchmarking app and results hovered around a rather average 1600, placing the Xperia neo well below the dual-core crowd. But the score itself doesn't speak much about how the interface actually runs. It seems that Sony Ericsson has finally nailed it when it comes to speed – even though you could still notice a slight stutter in rare occasions, navigation in the menus is fluid.
The handset is skinned in the Sony Ericsson way, which basically comes down to a couple of changes including the lockscreen, the home screen which allows you to pinch to zoom out and get an overview of all the active widgets, neatly arranged to fit the screen, and a transparent main menu panel supporting easy app rearrangement in an alphabetical, most used or recently installed order. The whole UI is spiced up with very smooth animations, which you can opt to turn off from the settings menu.
The basic calling/messaging functionality on the Xperia neo is your typical Android experience with indefinite space for contacts and information about them. The on-screen QWERTY keyboard is relatively comfortable to use, but we still prefer the stock Android one as we subjectively found it a tad bit more precise and with clearer visual aids.
Internet and Connectivity:
The stock Android browser supports Adobe Flash and runs fairly smoothly. Pinch-to-zoom and double taps all work flawlessly. The browser also supports text wrapping, so you get a better view of the text when you zoom in.
In terms of connectivity, the Xperia neo offers pretty much everything except for 4G – it comes with HSPA, supporting down speeds of up to 10.2Mbps, Wi-Fi b/g/n, hotspot functionality, DLNA , GPS, Bluetooth 2.1 and a microSD slot supporting cards of up to 32GB. It's a global, quad-band GSM device, so you can use it without a problem when you travel abroad.
Camera and Multimedia:
The 8.1-megapixel camera with LED flash is one of the main selling points of the Xperia neo. What's so special about it? Sony claims that the EXMOR R sensor improves significantly low-light performance. In our view, though, it ranked rather average as colors looked slightly washed out, while most of the images we took looked undersharpened and weren't as rich in detail as we would expect from an 8-megapixel camera. The camera managed to handle well contrasting objects, but we could notice that sometimes it picked up side light and overexposed pictures. Surprisingly enough, low-lit scenes - where we expected to see the handset outshine competition - lacked sharpness, especially when we used the flash, and noise was also prevalent.
In terms of manual settings you have plenty of choice including focusing and scene settings with only effects like black and white shots and sepia missing. The rich and well-optimized interface didn't help much with image quality, though. Considering the not-so-stellar price tag of the Xperia neo, we wouldn't want to be overly critical, but for what it's worth the camera is a far cry from the best ones out there.
When it comes to video recording, you have 720p HD capture at 30 frames per second. You can also use the LED flash to illuminate nightly scenes. We weren't all that happy to see the same issue with undersharpened footage and disappointing overall quality. One feature we wish we had is manual focus in video, but save for that Sony Ericsson seems to have put a lot of effort into crafting a rich and comfortable interface, just like in the stills department. Unfortunately, that doesn't solve the issues of SE's camera sensor. The Xperia neo also comes with a basic video editor allowing you to trim your footage.
Sony Ericsson Xperia neo Sample Video:
Sony Ericsson Xperia neo Indoor Sample Video:
The 3.7-inch wide screen with punchy colors delivered by the Mobile Bravia engine is a valuable asset when you turn to video playback, but the handset doesn't support DivX/Xvid codecs out of the box. Luckily, a quick free download of a player like the RockPlayer solves that problem. The 1GHz processor runs videos encoded at up to 720p without a hitch – you just have to get an HDMI cable to stream that content seamlessly to your HD TV.
Needless to say, the phone comes with the standard Android music app and supports FM radio. Sony Ericsson audio is traditionally top-notch and we weren't surprised to hear clean, deep and loud sound from the speakers of the Xperia neo.
In terms of software, most notable is the inclusion of the Timescape app, which integrates your messaging and social networking updates all into one place. We only wish it supported hyperlinks so you could get redirected instantly! When it comes to other applications, the Google suite including Maps/Gmail/YouTube and Talk covers the basics in a brilliant way.
Sony Ericsson has also added LiveWare – a cool little app allowing you to customize what happens when you plug in a headset or the charger. For example, you could have the music app automatically fired up when you connect your headphones, which is neat. Pre-loaded on the phone are also Track ID, a Shazam-like music recognition service, and Postcard, giving a vintage postcard look to your images.
On the downside, the office app only allows you to view documents, but not edit them, while in our search for a file manager we had to resort to the Market.
1. Jo (unregistered)
For that price, the Neo seems like a great phone :)
2. ryq (unregistered)
geez! i was expecting a better review that this.
3. dara (unregistered)
oh, i second that. This review is a disgrace, the Neo has all that iphone has, and more, for much lower the price!
yet the iphone gets 9 stars. *pukes*
4. aztaxia12295 (Posts: 262; Member since: 22 Nov 2009)
you obviously didn't read the review, or ur a blind android fanboy.
im not an apple fanboy, in fact i like android more than ios, but people like you piss me off.
5. not required (unregistered)
i think, what makes it some what dissappointing is fact that on the phone's preview (not only on this site) they mentioned the good performance of the camera both on still pictures & videos. That is why it was "one" of the most awaited phone of 2011 for some people, including me. Now, after reading the review, I'm thinking of probably getting an i-phone or just get a cheaper andriod smartphone that you cant really expect to do much like the expensive one's.
8. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)
Much agreed. I actually like Windows. But it really irritates me when all these people always troll the iPhone at every chance they get, even when the iPhone isn't being spoke of. They're the ones who bring up the comparisons anyway.
6. Cake (unregistered)
The camera samples in this review are not really good, which is weird since preview pics looked great.
7. Shadders (unregistered)
Can you do a review or post some pics of the xperia arc and xperia neo in the direct sunlight reflexing cause im hesitating to either choose the arc or the neo (my problem is the viewing in direct sunlight)
9. andregabeh87 (unregistered)
I didn't understand why the huge image quality difference between Xperia Arc and Xperia Neo in low-light conditions since both models have the same camera sensor, right?
12. anaheim (unregistered)
yeah, i agree. The arc and neo uses basically the SAME parts, but fused into different "shells" -- the arc has a long, flat, and thin shell, while the neo is chunkier and shorter.
So, logic would tell you, that the arc and neo SHOULD have similar performance, right?? And the EXmor-r sensors are soo good, iphone 5 is rumored to be getting a twin-version of it for itself.
I think its either PhoneArena got a "damaged unit" or it is steeply biased against "cheapies" like Neo... bad bad boy, PhoneArena.
10. MysteryE (unregistered)
...only 3 pages?
I was expecting more in-depth review for this mid-to-high-range Android smartphone from SE, especially in camera quality. Why this phone has a different quality compared to the supposedly same sensor on Arc?
11. a Vivaz owner (unregistered)
Interesting, the Arc and Neo have the same camera sensors but you still say that Arc's camera is good and Neo's - bad. What a paradox, isn't it?
13. rye (unregistered)
i hope there will be a validation with regards to the still photo review, gsmarena also gave a disappointing review with the camera, but ironically gave a good one on their preview.
14. not required (unregistered)
another thing i noticed... when i read the review on the LG Optimus Black particularly on the battery aspect, when they mentioned the battery can last a day on moderate use seems to be a plus on the phone but on Xperia Neo they were disappointed even if can last more than a day but not two days! "We should mention that we used the camera extensively, however, so the average user should be just fine, but two days without a charge seem to be a tough call."
about the camera... both phonearena & gsmarena has disappointing reviews on the camera which makes you think / ask.... did sony ericsson produced a better preview phone of the NEO than its actual retail unit? confusing... ;)
15. pd (unregistered)
maybe the camera is affected by the color of the phone
both phonearena and gsmarena used the black ones for their preview and used silver and red version of the phone for their review.
(think of the white iphone 4. the camera of white iphone 4 was affected by the color of it that cause its almost 1 year of delay and apple redesigned its camera)
what do you think guys?
16. may (unregistered)
how does it costs in Malaysia , can someone reply this ?!
26. lin (unregistered)
13000 but u can get it from 970
17. mayer (Posts: 2; Member since: 31 May 2011)
should i buy neo or arc ? does both of them have same function ? what is the difference between them ? and neo cost how much in Malaysia,when will it release in Malaysia(can someone check for me please , i can't find any information ....)
18. mayer (Posts: 2; Member since: 31 May 2011)
* different *
does slim phone such as arc comfortable to used ? Please give some comments ....
19. Clarkovic (Posts: 1; Member since: 02 Jun 2011)
This review does definately stink. I got one and there great...just watched Premier league darts streamed straight to my NEO. All its missing is a stand :)
20. goku (unregistered)
hello! does your neo lag? i just want to know if it is really fluid... and responsive... it would be nice if you could reply.. thanks!!! :D
21. lol (unregistered)
lol this review sucks
22. Raul (unregistered)
Does anyone have issues with the Xperia Neo's gallery? mine just stop showing the folders, I used SEUS in order to fix the problem, but after 2 weeks it happened again. Does anyone have a solution for this issue?? I will appreciate your response!!
24. momoxxen (Posts: 1; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)
wow, this really bad review here. i personally play with this phone extensively at the shop nearby few times (more than an hour), and totally love it. the camera works good and the screen is sharp when viewing photos and watching movies thanks to Bravia engine.
the camera works fine too. makes me wonder why they give such a bad reputation here with this biased review. it even works fine under low light condition.
for the price, it cost around RM1000 here in Malaysia for AP set.
i think u guys should try to hold and use it for a while. quite good and feels great on hand despite being 13mm thick.
25. qReza (unregistered)
please update your review with android 2.3.4 ...
27. sree (unregistered)
wht about its audio quality? Have any equilisers or other settings in it?
28. Kalevro (Posts: 55; Member since: 11 Sep 2011)
Front Facing gamera went up to 1.91 mega pixels which is a quite 2 in pda database getting into the 1600x1200
29. partha (unregistered)
Hey guys.. I got this phone a month back.. in Dubai..
I'm still searching for a pouch to secure the phone.. its not available in indian market.. can anyone help me to find one.. ?
Also, I'm loosing all the media file with in a day .. photos and videos are disapperaring from the gallary .. How to get it saved forever.. ??
30. Smoky (unregistered)
Well i'm soon gonna buy a phone confused b/w LG Optimus Black and NEO..What do u guys recommend? i'm looking For powerful Multimedia..and Big Screen..
31. drshehab (Posts: 1; Member since: 29 Oct 2011)
i don't agree with u about the camera, i think it is fantastic camera and video recorder.
about the battery life, it looks like any other droid heavy use means one day and charge again, light use, u charge every two days and no other droid do more than that.
32. milomyminpin (Posts: 1; Member since: 01 Jan 2012)
i bought this phone a week ago. before that i like to get the samsung galaxy w but i chose this instread coz the price is much lower here in manila.
i realized that this phone is really great! i have some low end android phones just to wet my feet on android experience. this phone is my first 1 ghz midrange phone. and the review here doesn't justify the capability and specifications of xperia neo. first it runs better than my 4th gen ipod touch. the screen resolution quality is pretty much the same. the text on my ebook reader is at par on what i see on my ibook app in my ipod touch. images like photos here are very sharp and nicely presented anf has an edge over the ipod touch. web browsing is pretty fast. i'm using smart network over here.
android market offers so much apps to my heart content. downloaded pulse, huffington post, yahoo mail apps, and among others. my phone handle them without glitz plus the 3.7" screen size is pretty perfect for these apps.
the big plus with xperia neo is it sounds great. it made my ipod touch sounds like a low end mp3 player. i dont put down the ipod. it is great in aesthetics but the inner quality of the products is pretty second rated to sony and samsung. i could tell because i have them before.
the camera is great as well. i purchased the camera zoom fx from android market that completes what i can do with my phone's camera. it produces high quality pics at par with canon point and shoot.
i could say i'm very happy with sony ercisson xperia neo. i wanted to buy the iphone 4s but not anymore even if i have a budget. i rather wait for the next high end phone from sony later this year. for now i'm enjoying my phone pretty much i left my ipod touch at home and carry this with me as my all-around portable device.
34. arifsyed (Posts: 1; Member since: 27 Jul 2012)
is there any software that can play 1280*720 pixels movie if so then pls inform me.....
35. CarloADJ (Posts: 1; Member since: 13 Sep 2012)
does it have a turn by turn voice navigation?