Samsung ATIV S Neo Review

Introduction


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!


Design


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.


Samsung ATIV S Neo

Samsung ATIV S Neo

Dimensions

5.33 x 2.72 x 0.36 inches

135 x 69 x 9 mm

Weight

5.08 oz (144 g)

HTC 8XT

HTC 8XT

Dimensions

5.2 x 2.6 x 0.39 inches

132 x 66 x 10 mm

Weight

4.94 oz (140 g)

Nokia Lumia 1020

Nokia Lumia 1020

Dimensions

5.13 x 2.81 x 0.41 inches

130.4 x 71.4 x 10.4 mm

Weight

5.57 oz (158 g)

Samsung Galaxy S III

Samsung Galaxy S III

Dimensions

5.38 x 2.78 x 0.34 inches

136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm

Weight

4.69 oz (133 g)

Samsung ATIV S Neo

Samsung ATIV S Neo

Dimensions

5.33 x 2.72 x 0.36 inches

135 x 69 x 9 mm

Weight

5.08 oz (144 g)

HTC 8XT

HTC 8XT

Dimensions

5.2 x 2.6 x 0.39 inches

132 x 66 x 10 mm

Weight

4.94 oz (140 g)

Nokia Lumia 1020

Nokia Lumia 1020

Dimensions

5.13 x 2.81 x 0.41 inches

130.4 x 71.4 x 10.4 mm

Weight

5.57 oz (158 g)

Samsung Galaxy S III

Samsung Galaxy S III

Dimensions

5.38 x 2.78 x 0.34 inches

136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm

Weight

4.69 oz (133 g)

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.




Display


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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22 Comments

1. sriuslywtf

Posts: 297; Member since: Jul 09, 2013

WP + GS3 = Samsung ATIV S Nice formula Samsung! In near future there would be: WP + GNote2 = Samsung ATIV "put any letter here"

2. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Samsung ATIV N... LOL...

3. Edmund

Posts: 656; Member since: Jul 13, 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..

6. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 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.

8. g2a5b0e unregistered

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.

4. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 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.

7. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

9. g2a5b0e unregistered

So true. +1000

16. gigaraga

Posts: 1454; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

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

5. aco96

Posts: 244; Member since: Oct 12, 2012

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

10. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2277; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

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

11. iluvsonynokia

Posts: 161; Member since: Aug 27, 2013

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

14. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 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.

12. quentin

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 29, 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.

15. apocalypsebc

Posts: 148; Member since: Dec 07, 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.

17. dexterity

Posts: 2; Member since: Sep 01, 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 cheers

13. mahmood74

Posts: 18; Member since: Jul 24, 2013

nokia nember 1 windows phone

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.

19. dexterity

Posts: 2; Member since: Sep 01, 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 cheers

20. 2muchSNO

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 16, 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.

21. NeverAgain23

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 11, 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. I WILL NEVER AGAIN TRUST ANOTHER WINDOWS PHONE AND WILL NEVER AGAIN WASTE MY MONEY ON A WINDOWS 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. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY!!!

22. Landmarkcm

Posts: 507; Member since: Aug 11, 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..
ATIV S Neo
  • Display 4.8" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, Dual-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2000 mAh(15h talk time)

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