Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo Android smartphone
Ticks a lot of boxes
Review Sony Ericsson’s top of the range Xperia Arc was a bold move, cramming a feast of the company’s very latest technology into a case seemingly not a whole lot thicker than a credit card. The Xperia Neo winds things down a notch, not least the price, and the style, but this Android mid-ranger still manages to pack a serious punch.
Human touch? Sony Ericsson's Xperia Neo
The Neo is decidedly chunkier than the Arc, at 116 x 57 x 13mm and 126g, though it retains an echo of the ‘human curvature’ design we’ve seen on recent SE handsets. Beneath the screen is Sony Ericsson’s by now familiar approach to the Android control buttons, with slivery hard back, home and menu buttons, but no search à la the Arc, though the Xperia Play had it.
The sides feature a slim volume rocker, power/sleep button and camera shutter, with micro USB and mini HDMI ports covered by plastic grommets on top, along with a 3.5mm headphone jack. On the back is the camera lens and LED flash, surrounded by a thin plastic cover with a graduated colour scheme – jet black at the top, classily segueing into a midnight blue at the bottom.
The 3.7in screen is a little smaller than the Arc’s 4.2in but in terms of image quality it looks similar, no doubt due to it having the same Mobile Bravia Engine picture processing technology. It looks extremely sharp and vibrant, whether you’re browsing the web or viewing films.
Smaller screen than the Arc, but still makes for entertaining viewing
The Neo runs on the latest Android 2.3 Gingerbread version of the OS, so it supports video calling as well as SIP VoIP calling and NFC (Near Field Communication) for phone-based payments, both of which should be coming into their own in the near future.
Next page: In the picture
"The Neo’s single core processor means you’re limited to 720p HD video recording rather than going the whole 1080p"
Actually, modern smartphones are built using SoCs (System-on-chip) that incorporate multiple specialised chips for things like audio/image/video encode/decode. The ARM application processor (the single core you're referring too) will rarely be called upon to do 720p or 1080p encode, however many cores it has, as in most cases it's not possible and in any case it would drain your battery in no time.
When giving the specs for smartphone chips, publications usually (over)simplify things and just spout the frequency and number of ARM cores, but that is only a very small part of the performance story.
Saying it won't do 1080p video because it's rubbish is far more accurate.
Who cares anyway, the video may be high res but the quality will still be pretty poor.
Screen and Camera Issues
I have had the Neo for around 10 days and the photo quality is not as it's cracked up to be. There are some very noticeable artifacting due to overzealous compression on the phone which cannot be disabled. There is also a very noticeable flickering of the screen in poor light due to an over sensitive auto-brightness sensor directly above the screen. How that was missed is anyone's guess.
The reviewer has missed one of the main features of the Neo - it's one of only four handsets that officially support Skype video calling. Would have been nice to see that being tested.
...a review for a phone, right? Strange really, because I distinctly don't recall reading anything about its primary purpose, i.e. being a phone!
I'm cancelling my subscription, etc.