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Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo review

 Review: September 2011  

Rating: 4 stars

In a nutshell: The Sony Ericsson Neo is a good Android phone, but not an outstanding one. It looks and feels more like a mid-range device.

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The Sony Ericsson Neo is an Android smartphone with many similarities to the Xperia Arc. However, the Neo lacks the ultraslim curved design of the Arc. It also has a smaller 3.7 inch screen. They cost about the same on pay monthly, so it's hard to see why the Neo is much of an improvement over the Arc.

Design-wise, the Neo looks and feels decidedly mid-range. Which is disappointing for a phone costing this much. It reminds us of the old SE Vivaz. It's smaller than the biggest smartphones, but really quite thick, and comes in a range of coloured plasticky finishes.

The LCD display is better than the body. It's not the biggest, but 3.7 inches isn't a bad size (the same as the HTC Desire S for instance), so if you find larger screens too big, this could be a good alternative. The display is certainly of a very high resolution - 480 x 854 pixels actually exceeds the display of the Samsung Galaxy S2, and Sony's Reality display with Mobile BRAVIA® Engine does an excellent job of rendering images and video.

The user interface of the Neo is very similar to that of the Arc. The phone is built around Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), and Sony Ericsson have done an OK job of customising it. Sony Ericsson's Timescape enhancement seamlessly integrates facebook, twitter, email, calendars and contacts. The touchscreen responds nicely and the fast 1GHz processor enables the device to react almost instantaneously to user input. From this perspective, the Neo truly behaves like the high-end smartphone that it aspires to be.

The camera is the same as on the Arc and is one of the very best cameras available on a mobile phone. It has an 8.1 megapixel resolution, an enhanced CMOS sensor with improved low-lighting sensitivity, touch-operated autofocus, LED flash, plus a host of added extras such as face recognition, smile detection, image stabiliser and red-eye reduction. You'll find that the quality of images is comparable with a good mid-range compact digital camera. You can also record video at HD 720p resolution, with a video light and video stabilisation. And one feature that the Neo has and the Arc doesn't is a front-facing camera for video chat.

The Neo has assisted GPS working in tandem with Google Maps, Google Latitude (share your location with your friends) and Street View. As ever, it's a fantastic combination, and the big screen and fast processor of the Neo make it work flawlessly.

The Sony Ericsson media player is well featured and in particular plays video very smoothly, thanks to the combination of the super-fast processor and Sony's BRAVIA television technology. There's also an FM radio with RDS. Sound quality through the stereo speakers is good and a 3.5mm audio jack lets you plug in your own choice of headphones.

We enjoyed the internet experience on the Neo. The WebKit browser renders pages quickly and accurately. The screen is large enough to view most web pages comfortably, especially with a little panning and zooming on the touchscreen. Data arrives quickly, whether over Wi-Fi or a HSPA network. And of course there's support for youtube and flash video. There are dedicated apps for facebook and twitter too.

The connectivity of the Neo is extensive. As well as WiFi and 3G HSPA (7.2 Mbps download / 5.76 Mbps upload), you'll find Bluetooth, USB and even a HDMI port for connecting to a HD-Ready TV. DLNA is supported, and there's even a fancy new technology called ANT+, which lets you connect wirelessly to a variety of health and fitness products.

Battery life isn't the best. The battery life on the Xperia Arc wasn't great, and this doesn't seem to be any better. Heavy users will have to charge every day. Black mark, Sony Ericsson. The onboard memory isn't too bad, with 1GB built in, although only 320MB of this is available for the user. RAM is OK at 512MB. You can also add a microSD card up to 32GB.

All things considered, the Xperia Neo is a good phone, but not a great one. It's like the Xperia Arc, but without the wow factor. The star feature is the brilliant camera, and there are many other good things here too, such as Google Maps, outstanding connectivity, the Android 2.3 OS, and a fine display. But for a phone this expensive, we frankly want more. The build quality and some of the features are decidedly mid-range, and the battery life is poor. We'll watch this one and maybe revise our rating upward if the price falls significantly. But for now, 4 stars is all the Neo gets.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo features include:

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Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo user reviews

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Average rating from 24 reviews:

Reviewed by Wasim from Indian on 26th Apr 2012
sony xperia launched neo as sony xperia pro ( MKi16 ) i wanted to make a review about the phone .. i have been using the phone since day one it has launched in India and there no fault what so ever in the phone .. actually i have never seen a phone like it and it should go on top of the list on uk reviwe ..in mid range phone beats samsung phone for good .. In short review... sony phone camera is the best 8.1 mp works too good even in low light the clarity is too high .. android 2.3.4 unlock works too well and i love the feel of the software ... the slider keypad is too good and there is lots of spacing ... 3 things you can not say no about 1. xloud enhancement technology 2 .mobile bravia engine 3. enhanced battery life i have seen lots review about problem with wifi , physical key pad , battery , screen lock , and so on .. nothing i have been using it from 2 months now not and nothing what so ever problem .. things which you can think about before buying this phone .. as there as lots of improved processors in market snap dragon is slightly slow from other processors and ram is 512kb and u have only 349kb to use yes its true if you have hard core gamer and need lots of application freak i dnt recommend this phone ... the phone do not have over heating problem does not get struck and its a very good phone for business user

Reviewed by Jim from UK on 28th Mar 2012
Reviewed this back on 24th Sept when I'd just got it. Still using it and if anything love it even more now. consistently reliable and wonderful to use this is so much better than my galaxy s was. I have no crashes at all and only need to restart the phone every two or three days just to keep the os running smoothly. Most of the new phones are just too big for me but this is a lovely size for one handed use and six months on continues to get lots of comments from friends because of its distinctive lovely looks. would gladly recommend it to anyone. Just one question- why has it been taken off the main review page when it's still a very current product being sold all across the UK?

Reply by Mobile Phones UK from UK on 29th Mar 2012
I think it temporarily went out of stock on the retailers we track. It's back again now!

Reviewed by christinamonk monk from scotland on 10th Feb 2012
I love the sony neon, I can't fault it

Reviewed by Nick from UK on 30th Jan 2012
This is my first Smartphone after having a Samsung GT-S5560 for almost 2 years. Impressions after the first week: overall, very pleased! Slightly thicker and heavier than most of its contemporaries but sits nicely in the hand. Great screen and smooth scrolling. Internet access and camera excellent. Video is good but not quite as good as I was led to believe. Great call quality and clear sound. Battery last about 2 days with medium usage. Still to discover all its functions but no problems so far, hope it continues!

Reviewed by Simon from UK on 24th Nov 2011
I guess it depends how much one pays, I got a good deal and the phone is far better than either I expected or could get on any other device It does everything as well as I could have hoped

Reviewed by Christian from Sweden on 16th Nov 2011
We got the roll out of the update on the software here in the Nordic region today (16th November). Running smoother and better than ever before. Can not say enough good things about this phone! :) Paul. The keyboard supplied with the phone is adaptive and learns how you type in English. At first it will not show the apostrophes unless you bring them in from the symbols menu but it learns to do these fast and is better than the market keyboards once trained.

Reviewed by mark p. from uk on 13th Nov 2011
ive had this baby now for two weeks, after reading loads of reviews on sites like this, went for this over samsung 2/ arc/ iphone/ ect, and glad i did, in my view this mobi ticks all the boxs for me, OUTSTANDING, love it

Reviewed by Paul from UK on 13th Nov 2011
This is a well designed phone which fits comfortably in the pocket. It offers very good reception and call quality, at last a smart phone that can do basic duties well. Texting is poor with standard keypad as it won't do apostrophies but download an alternative from the market (there's several, my favourite being smart keyboard pro) and its pretty easy to type a message. Music player works well and spotify app is brilliant on here. The speaker on phone is a little bass light and tinny but much better than HTC desire. Perfectly adequate for watching videos and quiet music. For a phone the speaker is good. Comes with android 2.3 which works very quickly and reliably. The GPS is very useful and sony's wisepilot app is brilliant. It finds everything in the area. Battery life ranges from 1.5-3 days depending on usage. Thats considerably better than HTC desire I had before. The only negative is the camera. Its supposed to be really good but I find it lacking in detail. There is numerous threads about over compression in this camera and also the flagship arc and I can see this in the photos. The desire captured more detail! I've had it replaced as I thought it was faulty but alas no. The replacement is identical. Overall though I like the phone.

Reviewed by George from UK on 11th Nov 2011
I had shortlisted my choice to the Samsung Galaxy S2 and the iPhone 4s and I am so glad I saw this phone. I found the Samsung too big and the iPhone I was being told by most dealers had an awful battery. I have had this phone for a week, I have never had to restart it. It looks elegant and does everything I want it to. The screen is bright, fast and responsive. If you take size, performance, looks, weight, reliability and features into account, this has currently got to be the best phone on the market. Maybe the next model will have a 1080p video camera, but the 720p works very well. Outstanding Phone!

Reviewed by Snow Mouse from England on 2nd Nov 2011
Have had the neo for two months now and am constantly impressed by what a stable and wonderful phone it is. I'm a bit of a phone nerd and currently have a Nokia n8, Samsung Galaxy S and an LG Optimus. Of all these phones this is by far the best all round performer and the phone I use for my day to day needs. Fundamentally it's incredibly reliable, never crashes (unlike the Samsung and Nokia which will crash at least once a day) and holds an excellent signal with the best voice quality of all three. Battery life is pretty normal for a high end android and better than the LG and the Samsung. Highly recommended!

Reviewed by Paul from Finland on 31st Oct 2011
I like the phone except that it breaks the car bluetooth connection every ~10 minutes. It seems that the bluetooth connection is lost when the phone is making a handover to next base station. This is maybe an Android problem or can it be hardware issue. I have updated the Android to the latest available version for the SE Xperia Neo I have not had any similar issues on Symbian phones that I have used (SE Vivaz & Nokia C7)

Reviewed by S Khan from India on 28th Oct 2011
Most of the things I buy now are based on the informative reviews left behind by actual users of that product ( not the professional reviewers ). Thus I am writng this review to contribute to this community of people on the internet who buy products and then take time out to meticulously review all the merits and demerits of that product for other people. I really encourage everyone to do the same ( write Honest and informative Reviews ) This review of for Neo V ( it has 5 MP camera instead of 8 MP of Neo). I have also ordered a 32 GB Transcend Micro SD card to go with it. Pros of this phone : 1) first thing that stikes you in this phone is its elegant design ( I have a white beauty with chrome sides ). Screen is vivid and crystal clear. Since it does not have a ruberised back thus at times this phone feel slipery like an eel in your hands :) 2) Nice packing. Has all the cables ( including HDMI and USB ) What was missing was a 'detailed' user Manual (though they have included a detailed e-manual on the 2 GB memory card ) 3) Special thanks for sony guys for making the trasitioning of phone Contacts so easy ( it is a big hassle otherwise ). There is an included software called PC-companion which very efficiently takes you step-by-step to copy all your contacts from your old phone ( mine was Nokia 5800 ) to this new phone. Being android ( google os ) it also backs up or syncs all your contacts to your gmail account (very useful if God forbid your phone is ever lost ) 4) My Vodafone 3g connection of Internet works much faster on this phone than it worked on my Nokia 5800. Though the calling signal strength keeps on undulating from time to time ( Nokia always gave full signal in my home ). But no instance of any call dropping yet. Now its Cons : 1) The primary camera is really sharp !! Though I was mighty disapointed at first because it took forever to click a photo ( 10 clicks or more ). After you hit the click button the phone kept on doing adjustments and focusing. Heart Breaking ( as otherwise the lens is really sharp ). I updated the Firmware ( when PC-companion prompted me ) and that has greatly reduced the click time ( still takes 2-5 seconds though ). Even in low light (indoors ) this phone clicks well illuminated photos. I think this may be due to high quality of its cmos sensor (though it has just one led flash unlike nokia 5800 which has 2 led flash ) 2) Sound of the phone (during calls) is very clear , though even at the highest volume is normal ( low end nokia phones have louder sound output) . Sony guys should allow users to increase the sound level to atleast 2 more notches if needed. Sound output through Speaker is great (both of Calls and Music ). However this phone has its speaker (single) in the middle of its back side ( side placement of speaker would have been better. Like Nokia Express music has 2 speakers on the side and thus more powerful sound ). Though the sound quality of Neo V is very rich but still not as loud as the volume of the laptop speakers as some other reviewer has mentioned ( turning on or off the xLoud feature has little noticeable impact on the sound loudness. You have to place your hand in the cusp manner - parabola behind the speaker to boost its volume ) 3) Battery is 1500 maH (which is powerful), but would max last 2 days ( unless you reduce the brightness level of the screen ). The Nokia 5800 with 1300 maH comfortably lasts for 3 and half days. But this phone (Neo V) has bigger and brighter screen thus understandably would consume more juice. Samsung Galaxy S2 does not even last for one full day with its 4.3 inch giant screen. I saw on Sony Ericson website an external USB charger with an extra battery. You can buy one if you are on the road mostly ( travelling all the time ) 4) So far the most annoying thing I have noticed on this phone is the onscreen Qwerty keyboard. It has a mind of its own and seldom types the word you have entered. Do not get me wrong ( there is no software issue here ) it is just that the screen being so sensitive ends up entering the neighbouring letter than what you have pressed ( never faced any such issue with the Nokia 5800 full screen qwerty ). May be it would take more Practice to get used to. In all a great looking phone with great features. No deal breaker so far ( other than the slow camera issue which is fixed now to a great extent ) Hope you found the information useful. S Khan

Reviewed by alex from chelmsford on 25th Oct 2011
seriously wud be lost without this. my fave mobile ever. the size is perfect. battery life gud if you use the data wiget. replacement for my galaxy s. fast, good camera + v stylish. love it

Reviewed by Sean from The United Kingdom on 24th Oct 2011
God I love this phone. Slick easy to use probably the best phone I have ever had. The camera is excellent. The only downside is the battery life it is short...but I can live with that because overall the phone is superb!

Reviewed by shehab from Egypt on 23rd Oct 2011
Best phone i got, best camera, best video recording, best touch screen, fast processor, extra ordinary resolution in movies playback, good speakers, better than galaxy S for less price.

Reviewed by John from Ohio on 19th Oct 2011
Utterly love this cell. not available in the stores over here at all and the best android I've ever had. much more reliable and well built than my last two samsungs (intercept and galaxy s) I can't begin to understand how this is such a hidden product in the face of endless disappointing motorolas, lgs and Sammys!

Reviewed by Hamxa mahmud from Pakistan on 13th Oct 2011
Best phone i have ever used ... It iz awesome wid superb touch and camera

Reviewed by joel from uk on 11th Oct 2011
i ahve the the experia neo fore two days and i thinkit is better than any othre experia ist stylish slim and gose blue in sun light the sound and picture quality is fantastic

Reviewed by Tamie from Some were else on 7th Oct 2011
Neo nasty, Very slugish screen not no good in son light, htc phones is beter then this fing

Reviewed by Suze from Kent on 2nd Oct 2011
I have been using a Neo as a replacement for my SE X10 since July and am loving it. The camera app is far better than the X10, you can take shots more quickly and they are great visually - the compression issue is not huge for me as I only view on my phone or my laptop. The HD Video is brilliant too (beat Iphone 3gs hands down). I am still waiting for the newest update but Android 2.3.3 is a great and I have obtained the Panorama camera app which is awesome. In my smaller lady hands it felt far more comfortable than the larger Arc. Beautiful screen and great for watching videos/youtube/bbciplayer etc. Sound quality is amazing also in comparison to X10, in fact I have had to turn off the Xloud component. I loved my X10 but I am loving its replacement soooo much more.

Reviewed by Lynn from Sverige! on 27th Sep 2011
Oh my god. Love this phone sooooooooo much :) so good looking and small and nice and just got the new Android update and now I can zoom with the camera and the screen's brighter and the photos are better and it's just great!!!!! Fixed everything. Goodbye to my iPhone 4, hello to my new true love :) :) :) :)

Reviewed by Jim from UK on 24th Sep 2011
Got this to replace my Galaxy S and very impressed. The neo is probably the least known of the xperia phones. The Galaxy S was too big for me... wanted something much more hand and pocket friendly. This has a huge wide screen for a very compact device. Compared to the Galaxy S the Neo is much more stable and reliable. The screen isn't as good as the Galaxy, but is still very good. (It isn't as bright and you can't override the autobrightness to boost the backlighting to max power.) The camera is much better and has a very bright led flash and a dedicated camera button (which is so much better than the Samsung.) There is currently an issue with the camera. the hardware is really good but the image processing over compresses image files so the detail of the stored images is not as good as it could be and the results aren't as good as the old c905 or w995. Hopefully this will be fixed in a firmware update. The Neo is better in use as a phone and much easier to text with due to i ts better size and shape for two handed use! Battery life is better than the S and helped by an excellent data on/off widget that actually works (as opposed to Samsung's which is unreliable and stops picture messages working) Music is handled much better on the Neo and the onboard speaker is ten times better than the Galaxy S. For me this is the perfect android phone. Top end devices like the S2 etc are too big and bulky. Feature wise they're amazing but in day to day life they are less practical. The Neo just works really well as a phone and as an android device and is probably the best choice for anyone wanting a compact Android.

Reviewed by Scott from England on 13th Sep 2011
I love the xperia neo best phone ive ever had but i do have to charge it everyday ( i do use it alot tho) 5 Stars from me *****

Reviewed by steve from england on 12th Sep 2011
i disagree with the review of this phone- it doesn't look or feel like a mid-range phone, more like a high-end one! & it IS an improvement over the arc- the arc lacks a front facing camera, & in such an expensive phone, i expect one, even if i ever use it. the neo is an ace phone, & it's one of the best phones i've owned. the battery could be better, though- my samsung wave 2, which is similar in some ways to the neo, has a battery that lasts 14 days on standby (i tested it), but the neo's battery lasts half that time- even with juice defender downloaded. but the battery is its only real weak spot. the only other niggle i have, is the back cover having to be pulled off by hand- a phone of this quality should have a release catch- again, like the samsung wave 2. nevertheless, i love this phone- loud tones, a good music player, a clear, bright screen & a very sensitive touchscreen make this one of the best.

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