With a name like Neo, Sony Ericsson has given this phone rather a high pedestal to climb up to. Can this mid-range Android smartphnoe make the arduous journey or will it fall at the first hurdle? Read on to find out.
What immediately struck us about this phone is how much it looks like an Xperia Play, without the slideout game controls of course. It has the same glossy plastic body, chrome highlights, and curved form, which is simultaneously a good and bad thing. The general design is smart enough and the curve of the back makes it very comfortable in the hand but all those shiny surfaces really loose their lustre when covered in fingerprints, dust and scratches.
One area where it doesn't take after its gaming centric cousin is in bulk. Without the game controls, it's only 13mm thick (though in fairness the Play is only 16mm) and thanks to a smaller 3.7in screen it's a more manageable device that sits comfortably in the hand, with the full expanse of the screen falling easily within reach.
For a relatively budget phone the Neo is rather well equipped. As well as the usual headphone jack and microUSB on the top edge, there's a microHDMI for connecting your phone to a TV (unsurprisingly a cable isn't included). We're not a fan of the plastic flaps covering these ports though – they just get in the way. You also get a proper button for the camera that sits on the right edge along with the volume control, power / screen lock button and notification/charging LED indicator. Add in a front facing camera along with the rear 8 megapixel unit and you've got a phone that ticks all the boxes.
The controls all feel nice to use as well with a good discernable action and convenient placement. From a purely practical stand point, Sony Ericsson really has aced the Neo – it's just that styling that holds it back.
Sony Ericsson has been equipping its high-end phones with good quality high resolution displays for a while now and this trend continues with the Neo. Rather than the typical 480 x 800 pixel resolution, it comes with a 480 x 854 panel. Okay, so it's only another 54 rows of pixels but that's a total of an extra 25,920 pixels! The upshot is that the screen is sharp and packs in loads of detail, with no sign of blockiness. The quality of the panel isn't the best with colours being a little off and viewing angles being a notch behind the best out there but overall it's very nice to look at with vibrant, punchy colours and good contrast.