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Samsung ATIV S Neo Review

Samsung ATIV S Neo

Posted: , by Brian K.


Samsung ATIV S Neo Review


Not content to dominate the Android market only, Samsung has ported over the basic of their winning formula to the Windows Phone platform in the form of the ATIV S Neo. The ATIV S Neo, now available on Sprint, borrows heavily from the Galaxy design with a large HD display, physical Home key and the overall aesthetics. With Windows Phone software not offering much in the way of manufacturer customization, can Samsung’s relatively muted design stand out in the brightly colored world of Nokia and HTC? Read on to find out!


At a passing glance one can be forgiven for confusing the ATIV S Neo for the Galaxy S III. The two share similar colors, design principles and materials. That means the ATIV S Neo uses the same plastic components that the Galaxy S series has been knocked for in the past. It feels very similar in the hands, if not a bit heftier due to the increased thickness and weight. The plastic bits are indeed not up to snuff with high end devices from competitors, but it is no surprise as this is clearly a design decision Samsung is committed to.

The Samsung ATIV S Neo is put together well - Samsung ATIV S Neo Review
The Samsung ATIV S Neo is put together well - Samsung ATIV S Neo Review
The Samsung ATIV S Neo is put together well - Samsung ATIV S Neo Review

The Samsung ATIV S Neo is put together well

Samsung ATIV S Neo
5.33 x 2.72 x 0.36 inches
135 x 69 x 9 mm
5.08 oz (144 g)

Samsung ATIV S Neo

5.2 x 2.6 x 0.39 inches
132 x 66 x 10 mm
4.94 oz (140 g)


Nokia Lumia 1020
5.13 x 2.81 x 0.41 inches
130.4 x 71.4 x 10.4 mm
5.57 oz (158 g)

Nokia Lumia 1020

Samsung Galaxy S III
5.38 x 2.78 x 0.34 inches
136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm
4.69 oz (133 g)

Samsung Galaxy S III

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.

The overall feel isn’t bad though, and the phone is put together well without any gaps or creaks. The usual buttons are around the sides, and like all Windows Phone devices the ATIV S Neo has a physical camera key. Like recent Samsung devices the power key is on the right side, although it is placed further down, closer to the middle which takes a bit to get used to. Around back the 8MP camera is flanked by an LED flash and a small speaker.

The sides of the Samsung ATIV S Neo - Samsung ATIV S Neo Review
Windows buttons - The sides of the Samsung ATIV S Neo - Samsung ATIV S Neo Review
The sides of the Samsung ATIV S Neo - Samsung ATIV S Neo Review

Windows buttons

Back - The sides of the Samsung ATIV S Neo - Samsung ATIV S Neo Review
Rear camera - The sides of the Samsung ATIV S Neo - Samsung ATIV S Neo Review
Rear cover removed - The sides of the Samsung ATIV S Neo - Samsung ATIV S Neo Review


Rear camera

Rear cover removed

The sides of the Samsung ATIV S Neo


Once again, Samsung is trying to differentiate itself with their display. At 4.8”, it is the largest Windows Phone display available, slightly edging out the Nokia 625’s 4.7” panel (the international ATIV S is also 4.8”.) While the 0.1” realistically makes no difference, the Nokia only has a meager 480x800 resolution whereas the ATIV S Neo features a 720x1280 pixel display, resulting in pixel density of 306ppi.

Samsung has changed from the AMOLED display on the ATIV S to a TFT LCD panel for the ATIV S Neo. The display is very good, with excellent colors, brightness and viewing angles. We didn’t have any trouble reading it even in direct sunlight.

Samsung ATIV S Neo 360-Degrees View:

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posted on 29 Aug 2013, 06:35 1

1. sriuslywtf (Posts: 297; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)

WP + GS3 = Samsung ATIV S

Nice formula Samsung!

In near future there would be:

WP + GNote2 = Samsung ATIV "put any letter here"

posted on 29 Aug 2013, 07:19 2

2. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 3718; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)

Samsung ATIV N...

posted on 29 Aug 2013, 07:19 3

3. Edmund (Posts: 656; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)

Seriously guys, how about reviewing a smartphone based on how well it performs instead of your own ridiculous bias against an operating system ???
PA rated this phone a 6.5, which leaves me bewildered if you consider that it's the same score awarded to the galaxy pocket neo - a feature phone with a 3" qvga (320x240; 133 ppi ; 256K colour) , 832mhz single core processor , 2mp rear camera (no ffc), no lte etc..

posted on 29 Aug 2013, 07:42 2

6. Shatter (Posts: 2036; Member since: 29 May 2013)

Specs are not the only thing that go into a review. Another huge factory is the price.

The pocket Neo is $130 unlocked on Amazon.
The Galaxy Ativ S Neo will be somewhere between $400-$500 most likely.

Completely different classes of phones in range and price.

posted on 29 Aug 2013, 08:07

8. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3814; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)

Yeah, dude. Shatter is right. You can't compare "entry-level" phones to flagships & mid-rangers. If they were all lumped together in the same category, all "entry-level" phones would deserve ratings in the 1-3 range.

posted on 29 Aug 2013, 07:23 3

4. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)

6.5 is too harsh... 7.5 seems about right. Samsung uses the same design language and it's a con? Every OEM does it now.

posted on 29 Aug 2013, 07:47 5

7. Shatter (Posts: 2036; Member since: 29 May 2013)

Yup they all do and only Samsung and Apple get hate for it.

Sony(worse than Samsung):http://www.phonearena.com/phones#/phones/manufacturer/Sony

posted on 29 Aug 2013, 08:08 1

9. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3814; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)

So true. +1000

posted on 30 Aug 2013, 22:23

16. gigaraga (Posts: 1454; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)

With Sony looking especially ugly. Ugh~ their design is played out ..and it looks more like a clone army compared to Samsungs.

posted on 29 Aug 2013, 07:39 2

5. aco96 (Posts: 242; Member since: 12 Oct 2012)

My ATIV S is much better than this piece of junk. Stupid Samsung ruined ATIV S' beautiful design >_

posted on 29 Aug 2013, 08:52

10. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 2226; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)

Hope they'll make flagships running WP, some time.

posted on 29 Aug 2013, 10:54 1

11. iluvsonynokia (Posts: 151; Member since: 27 Aug 2013)

more win os phone by samsung means, Nokia gonna release better phones
I think this phone deserve 7/10

posted on 29 Aug 2013, 17:33 1

14. lsutigers (Posts: 821; Member since: 08 Mar 2009)

Agreed, it does have the largest screen on any Windows Phone to date and it has the highest resolution available on WP today, 720p.

As far as processor goes, you don't need more than a dual core to run WP smoothly, similar to iOS and unlike Android.

posted on 29 Aug 2013, 15:14 2

12. quentin (Posts: 1; Member since: 29 Aug 2013)

I have to disagree with parts of this review. I own this phone and have had none of the lag/performance issues that the reviewer did, nor was my call quality poor at all. I asked people I called, and they all unanimously said that my call quality was great, better than my older phone for sure.
Sure, it may not have the out there and flashy design that other Windows Phones have, but that's not Samsung's modus operandi. They don't make flashy phones. They, as the reviewer mentioned, make phones with more of a standard, business-like look to them. I feel like too many points were docked on this phone for the physical aesthetics alone.
Spec-wise, it's extremely close to any of the Lumia 92X devices, and performs just as well.
I don't know why they recommend the HTC over this for Sprint customers - the screen on the HTC compared to this is lower res, and has half of the amount of internal storage.

This device has a removable battery and a micro SD slot, both major wins for any Windows Phones. No Nokia Lumia has those features.

From my week+ using the phone, I'd honestly give it an 8... nothing that will blow your socks off, but certainly not bad in any respect. It's the best Windows Phone device you can get on Sprint. This 6.5 is certainly too low.

posted on 30 Aug 2013, 03:19 1

15. apocalypsebc (Posts: 148; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)

I totally agree! I give the Samsung Ativ S Neo an 8. This is a big upgrade from the HTC Arrive. I don't really care about the beats audio but I do like the HD LCD Display on the 4.8" screen and 16 Gigs of internal memory. I laughed at the part about the lag on the phone because I haven't had any problems or lag on my phone. That's not to say that there isn't any lag on any phone. They all will eventually lag or have a glitch here and there but Windows Phone is known for their smooth as butter OS. The call quality has been great on both ends as well. Overall, this phone is well appreciated on Sprint. Sprint has always been late when it comes to Windows Phone. I don't really see any Android, Apple, or Windows Phone users using Scout. Nokia's "HERE DRIVE" GPS Navigations is Superior to Scout. You can even download the maps to navigate without cellular data. The 6.5 score is a little bit low for this device. In my opinion, it deserves an 8. I believe the coverage in phonearena's area was terrible and the device was defected or a dev device.

posted on 01 Sep 2013, 14:52

17. dexterity (Posts: 2; Member since: 01 Sep 2013)

This device has a removable battery and a micro SD slot, both major wins for any Windows Phones. No Nokia Lumia has those features. ???

for your information:

Nokia Lumia 520, 620 and 820 , removable back and battery, Micro SD card slot
Nokia Lumia 625 removable back, not the battery but Micro SD slot


posted on 29 Aug 2013, 17:21 1

13. mahmood74 (Posts: 18; Member since: 24 Jul 2013)

nokia nember 1 windows phone

posted on 03 Sep 2013, 20:37 1

18. theo14461 (unregistered)

I've owned almost all the top shelf Windows Phones. Focus, Focus S, Nokia 920, HTC 8X. I currently have been using this ATIV NEO S since launch date on Sprint, and it is NO worse than any other WP8 device out there!! NO performance issues, NO call quality issues!! I rate this device at least an 8.

posted on 04 Sep 2013, 06:57

19. dexterity (Posts: 2; Member since: 01 Sep 2013)

good review here

youtube.com/watch?v=zX6Ufp1e8EY ( cannot put the entire link as i am new to phone arena)
just add the three w with a dot


posted on 16 Dec 2013, 14:04 1

20. 2muchSNO (Posts: 1; Member since: 16 Dec 2013)

Got this phone 2 weeks ago. I had WP 7.X and was hooked. I am average user and needed a balance of camera, storage, size, battery, speed, aesthetics. WP 8.1 is doing just fine for APP availability. You could spend all day comparing this APP that APP. How many do you really need?

Outlook & skydrive are seemless. Live tiles work great.

We have Iphone and Android in the house with the kids but they really picked their phones because the girls had Iphones and the guys had Android. Not saying that they are wrong, but they wouldn't even look at the WP. Too bad. its a great option in this really nice phone. 8/10.

posted on 11 Feb 2014, 20:31

21. NeverAgain23 (Posts: 1; Member since: 11 Feb 2014)

BUYER BEWARE!!! This phone looks nice but there are a few flaws that make this phone just a piece of crap.

1. The voicemail message indication system is anything but a message indication and I sometimes find that I have voicemail messages days old that I never even knew were left.

2. Unlike all previous phones I've had, voicemail messages are automatically deleted after about 10 days after retrieving whether you like it or not.

3. Initially in the first three months of having the phone, it charged beautifully in about 3 hours (top to bottom fully charged i.e. 0-100%). Now after just just 3 months my phone takes more time to charge than an elephant in labor after and purchasing a new battery for no reason other than that being the advice of the service provider I have the same probelm charging my phone.

What used to take 3 hours now takes days to fully or even 50% charge, I put my phone to charge from a 35% battery life on Sunday, February 9th, 2014 @ 11:15AM and it is now Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 9:18PM and the phone is still not charged fully, in fact, it is now only at 91%. Now mind you I left the phone at home all thesse days and used my son's phone through this ordeal. What CRAP is this?

4. Forget about the MS office applications I have yet to get them to actually work properly and this feature was my reason for buying this phone.


If you want to be stress out waiting for your phone to charge, BUY THIS PHONE

If immediate voicemail messages from your boss, clients, spouse, children, parents, and colleagues especially in emergency situations are unimportant to you, BUY THIS PHONE

If you have no need to open documents from work, your children's school etc. BUY THIS PHONE.


posted on 21 Jul 2014, 21:49

22. Landmarkcm (Posts: 506; Member since: 11 Aug 2009)

Way off on this review! The poor call quality & bit of lag had to be attributed to Sprint! I snagged the Neo from Ebay in mint condition just under 140.00 & am running it on At&t's Cricket Wireless network just fine. Plus the update to the 8.1 preview I just did to it. (which was surprisingly easy) makes it so much better. WP 8.1 really is great! Anyway this is a great device. HTC I have read at least with the 8X doesn't use the flash to help focus shots on the camera either. Which can result in more blur. This Samsung with the right tweaks in the settings too takes better photos then said here. Laggier Androids have gotten better scorres then this. That's one thing I don't like about PA is your scores really are not accurate sometimes..

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Samsung ATIV S Neo

Samsung ATIV S Neo

OS: Windows Phone 8
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
Display4.8 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (308 ppi) TFT
Camera8 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, Dual-core, 1400 MHz, Krait 300 processor
Size5.33 x 2.72 x 0.36 inches
(135 x 69 x 9 mm)
5.08 oz  (144 g)
Battery2000 mAh, 15 hours talk time

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