Sony Ericsson Xperia neo Preview

Interface and Functionality:

Sony Ericsson has been particularly keen on modifying the vanilla Android experience we love so much, but it seems that with the passing of time, the company has taken a more easy-going approach, stripping off some of the elements like Mediascape. We've already taken a detailed look at SE's User eXperience (UX) skin on top of the Gingerbread interface on the Xperia arc and almost nothing has changed on the Xperia neo, so we suggest you take a quick look here for the latest of UX skinning.

The 1GHz Snapdragon processor does well with most of the tasks we fiercely threw at it. But if you want even speedier performance you can sacrifice the visual candy of animations from the Settings menu.

When it comes to connectivity, the Xperia neo has pretty much everything covered except for 4G – HSPA runs at 10.2 Mbps on the downlink and the not-so-fast 2 Mbps for uploads; Wi-Fi b/g/n, HDMI, Bluetooth, A-GPS, FM Radio with RDS and DLNA support for your media streaming needs are all on board.

The main menu has also received a slight facelift with a transparent background. Icons in the menu can also be sorted to your heart's content using predefined settings putting the most used ones first or arranging everything in alphabetical order.

Sony Ericsson Xperia neo Preview - Interface and Functionality:

Internet, Connectivity and Software:

The stock Android browser is a capable tool, especially given in the hands of the second-gen Snapdragon processor. It manages Flash content quite well and you'll love the desktop-like experience if you switch from another platform like iOS. The power of an Adreno 205 graphical core is definitely felt here as the GPU supports hardware-accelerated Flash and promises to be up to 4 times faster than the previous Adreno 200.

Web pages with no heavy Flash content were loaded even faster and we found scrolling around as smooth as butter. Double-tapping was the only thing that stumbled with jittery framerates, but hopefully this will get fixed in the final unit. Unlike previous handsets by Sony Ericsson, the latest members of the Xperia family have no problem with multitouch – you can pinch to zoom and pan around without any delay from the browser. Well done, SE (finally)!

There is no denying that surfing the web is as fast as your connectivity is. The Xperia neo has the basics for its price point covered – HSPA 3G radio capable of up to 10.2 Mbps on the downlink and up to 2 Mbps on the uplink. The inclusion of an HDMI-out port means easy transfers to larger TV screens and Sony has also thrown in basic integration with its line of HD TVs, which recognize when the phone is connected and automatically start up appropriate content like the gallery. You can even navigate content on your phone by using the TV remote. Pretty convenient, right?

On the software side, we're happy to see less of the heavy load of Sony Ericsson skinning and more of vanilla Android Gingerbread. Your standard Google suite of apps is nicely represented with a state-of-the-art Gmail and YouTube client. Unfortunately, just like on the Xperia arc, we didn't have the latest version of Google Maps (5.0). Hopefully, this will get fixed in the final unit as we love the two-finger rotations and 3D tilting you can do along with caching the maps so you can use them offline on the latest Google Maps.

Sony Ericsson Xperia neo Preview - Browser, Connectivity and Software:

Camera and Multimedia:

Camera is one department where Sony Ericsson excels and the Xperia neo comes to challenge the best. Its 8.1 megapixel auto-focus camera equipped with LED-flash produces shots of great quality and detail. It still fails to the reigning leader in the face of the Nokia N8's 12 megapixel snapper, but for a handset more affordable than the current SE flagship it has a lot to offer. But let's not forget that we had a prototype unit and SE might improve on the camera in the final one. The Exmor R sensor is what's behind the superior low-light performance and to illustrate our point, see it in action for yourselves here.

We took the Xperia neo for a ride on a cloudy day, but despite the weather, it captured good looking images with plenty of detail. Colors were reproduced accurately with good sharpness, but we noticed that the dynamic range was poor in the default scene mode. With some adjustments from the settings this could easily be fixed. The camera shoots images with a maximum aperture of f/2.4 (the bigger the value the more light can reach the sensor which results in better low light performance). In addition, the Exmor R CMOS sensor is the same one that Sony uses on its Cyber-Shot line of digital cameras. It performs well, but a yellow hue appeared in our indoor samples – something we hope to see fixed in the final unit. One thing we wished for is a Xenon flash, but the LED does a decent job illuminating objects in the proximity of nearly ten feet.

Video recording at 720p is as detailed and accurately colored as the stills produced by the Xperia neo. But while 30 frames per seconds sounds good on paper, on our prototype unit we had a slight issue with skipped frames disturbing the smoothness of the video. The tap to focus option, present for stills, was absent when recording video which is a pity. Again, we'll attribute these flaws to the early build.

Sony Ericsson Xperia neo Sample Video:

The Mobile BRAVIA Engine is the perfect addition for watching videos and still pictures during those long hours of commute and we have to say that with it, colors become nothing short of impressive. We managed to play MPEG-4 and H.264 files at a resolution as high as 720 x 1280. But DivX/XviD playback is easily solved with a quick download of a basic player like the RockPlayer Lite from the Android Market.

Sony Ericsson Xperia neo Preview - Camera and Multimedia:


We'll abstain from final conclusions as what we have is a prototype unit, but our expectations for the device are high, especially if Sony Ericsson manages to get the pricing right. For the time being, it is certain that the handset will be cheaper than the company's Xperia arc flagship. But what you get is a similarly great set of features – a snappy second-generation Snapdragon CPU, Mobile BRAVIA Engine, the Exmor R sensor on the 8.1-megapixel camera and HDMI all in an appealing package. The Xperia neo is expected to hit shelves as soon as the end of March/beginning of April at a price of slightly more than $500 off contract. It has all the potential to continue Sony Ericsson's comeback in smartphones, so stay tuned for our full review of the handset.

Sony Ericsson Xperia neo Preview - Expectations:



1. Bojan unregistered

How is the battery life?

2. gregory unregistered

very slow system in this se!!! i prefer symbian 3-much faster and needs less resources :)

3. jhoravi unregistered

hi PhoneArena, You forgot to checdk the size of RAM and Internal Storage. thanks
Xperia neo
  • Display 3.7" 480 x 854 pixels
  • Camera 8.1 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S2, Single core, 1000 MHz
  • Storage 1 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 1500 mAh(7.00h 3G talk time)

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