Sony Ericsson XPERIA Neo Android phone
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Neo review: The XPERIA Neo has a built-in HDMI-out port, an Exmor R camera sensor, and uses Sony's Bravia graphics engine
- Concaved design
- Excellent camera
- HDMI-out port
- Plastic build feels like a cheap toy
- Poor default keyboard
- Thin external buttons
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Neo can't claim the XPERIA Arc's unique design, or the XPERIA Play's dedicated gaming controls, but it offers a similar feature set including an excellent camera and a HDMI-out port.
Sony Ericsson's XPERIA Play and XPERIA Arc Android phones may be the company's flagship models of 2011, but there is another Sony Ericsson offering that has slipped quietly under the radar: XPERIA Neo. Geared towards entertainment, the XPERIA Neo has a built-in HDMI-out port, an Exmor R camera sensor and uses Sony's Bravia graphics engine that promises smoother video playback.
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Neo features a similar design to the disappointing Vivaz smartphone. Its all-plastic casing is described by Sony Ericsson as 'human curvature' — the rear of the XPERIA Neo curves toward the top, bottom and sides. This rounded shape makes it easier to hold, and the glossy plastic finish feels smooth in your hand. Annoyingly, the XPERIA Neo doesn't sit flat on a table or desk due to its curved shape, though its smaller size makes it more comfortable to hold and use than larger alternatives.
We appreciate the design of the XPERIA Neo, but it suffers the same flaws as Sony Ericsson's other XPERIA handsets, the XPERIA Play and the XPERIA Arc. The Neo's build quality could have been improved with the use of higher-quality plastics; the glossy surface is tough to keep free of grubby fingerprints, and the rear battery cover feels flimsy and creaks when pressed. Our review unit also quickly developed light scratches, suggesting the XPERIA Neo will quickly show its age.
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Neo's Android shortcut buttons on the front of the handset (back, home and menu) are thin and lack a backlight. We loved the addition of a camera button, which is raised and easy to press, and the positioning of the volume button in the middle of the right side of the phone makes it easy to access one-handed.
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Neo Android phone has a 3.7in capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 854x480, and includes the same 'Reality display' technology featured on the XPERIA Arc. The XPERIA Neo's screen has excellent viewing angles, is bright and clear and has reasonable sunlight legibility, though the lack of an automatic brightness setting is a downside.
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Neo: Software
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Neo runs the latest 2.3 Gingerbread version of Google's Android platform. Gingerbread offers a revamped keyboard, better copy and paste, improved power management, and a slicker user interface as improvements over previous versions of Android.
The XPERIA Neo may have a smaller display than the Arc and Play, but it is powered by a similar 1GHz processor and a notable 512MB of RAM. This helps to make it slick and fast during day-to-day use. Sony Ericsson's minimalist Android UI overlay — the same seen on both the XPERIA Arc and Play — is also a positive. Although it doesn't offer the same deep customisation of HTC's Sense (seen on the Desire and Desire HD Android phones), the XPERIA Neo has five home screens for live widgets, handy folders that enhance shortcuts and a main menu that can quickly arrange apps in various orders, including most used. Disappointingly, the XPERIA Neo has a small and cramped on-screen keyboard, and there is no option to revert to the more spacious, standard Gingerbread keyboard. Thankfully, this is easily downloadable from the Android Market.
The XPERIA Neo also includes Sony Ericsson's Timescape application, which first appeared on the XPERIA X10 Android phone. Timescape groups social networking and phone communications into a single, graphically-intense interface; each communication event on the phone forms a 3D box that allows you to simply flick your finger up and down the "spine" to scroll through. Thankfully, Sony Ericsson has included Timescape as a regular app rather than integrate it into the XPERIA Neo's UI. This makes it unlikely to suffer the same Android software update delays as the XPERIA X10 did, and it's easily removable should you not wish to use it, which we didn't. We don't think Timescape offers anything compelling besides an attractive look.
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Neo: Other features
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Neo has an 8-megapixel camera that boasts Sony's 'Exmor R' image sensor. The company claims this sensor gives higher sensitivity with less image noise, therefore performing better in dim lighting than traditional mobile phone cameras. While it performed slightly better in low-light conditions than other phone cameras, the XPERIA Neo still won't replace a stand-alone digital camera when it comes to night-time photography. That said, the XPERIA Neo's camera captures photos with excellent levels of detail and good colour reproduction. It also records great quality 720p HD video.
The XPERIA Neo's camera is a little light on settings, but the camera app is intuitively laid out with options on the right, and recently taken photographs on the left. The camera lens is perfectly positioned toward the centre of the phone, so it's easy to frame an image using the screen. We also like the camera shutter button, which although small, can be slightly pressed to focus, and then pressed further to capture an image.
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Neo comes with an HDMI-out port, meaning you can connect it directly to a high-definition television. Along with DLNA connectivity for wirelessly-sharing media content, the XPERIA Neo is well equipped for multimedia sharing. The XPERIA Neo has a microSD card slot, but Sony Ericsson has only included a paltry 320MB of internal storage. An 8GB microSD card is included in the sales package.
Unfortunately, the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc has below-average battery life. Most users will get around 24 hours of life out of the XPERIA Arc's 1500mAh battery before it needs a recharge.
Telstra has confirmed it will exclusively launch the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Neo Android phone in Australia in the "first half of 2011". Pricing has yet to be announced. The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Neo can also be purchased outright and unlocked from online store MobiCity.
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 2 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 3 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 4 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 5 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Google wants to solve the Android update problem once and for all with Project Treble
- Intel concerned about name of John McAfee’s privacy phone
- Low-cost Android phones to get iPhone features with new Qualcomm chips
- Qualcomm's Quick Charge 4 is coming in phones midyear
- Apple's next iPhones may cut corners on memory due to price squeeze
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Asus launches laptops to start Computex 2017
- Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- FTLead Software DeveloperWA
- TPICT Customer Support OfficerNSW
- CCPHP DeveloperNSW
- FTClient Onboarding ManagerNSW
- CCInfrastructure Business AnalystNSW
- CCData Migration Lead | Recruitment Focus | DocklandsVIC
- CCSolution ArchitectQLD
- CCTechnical Business AnalystNSW
- FTDigital Developer | LAMP Stack | Digital AgencyNSW
- FTSenior Software Engineer - JavaQLD
- FTSenior Business Analyst l GROUP LIFE INSURANCE l SydneyVIC
- FTDigital Marketing Executive / Content ProducerNSW
- FTProject Coordinator - Digital Applications (IT)NSW
- FTAccount Manager - Technology SolutionsNSW
- FTProject Manager - Accountin Finance and AssetWA
- FTApplication System EngineerACT
- CCPMO CoordinatorNSW
- CCProject Delivery LeadQLD
- FTSenior Digital Developer - SitecoreQLD
- FTSolution Architect - DatacentreVIC
- CCSenior Project Manger - Global MarketsVIC
- FTSystem Engineer - VMWare, UCS, NetAppVIC
- CCTesting Manager - Energy sectorVIC
- CCSQL Server Database Specialist l Bathurst LocationNSW