The Path of Neo

The release history of the Neo has been interesting. It first had a hands-on review back in early February with TechRadar and they said reasonably nice things.

The handset was due for release at the same time as the Arc and Play, though sadly the terrible disaster in Japan affected supply of crucial components and delayed the release until July. Techradar reviewed the handset properly at the end of June, here, and gave it 3.5 stars out of 5. Their main dislike? Some sort of problem with headphones – I don’t feel this is a good enough reason to mark a phone down, especially when I’ve had no problems using headphones with the phone or with Bluetooth attachments.

Electric Pig did something similar when reviewing the Neo, here, they marked it down claiming the handset didn’t know where it should sit.

My opinion of these reviews are that certain publications are only too happy to give Sony Ericsson and their handsets a good kicking at every opportunity. Granted, SE may well give these publications a reason from time to time, but most of the time it’s a pity this bashing occurs…

A real pity, as after almost a  week of using the Neo I’ve come to the conclusion it’s the balls. It’s my preferred handset. The Arc may well be slick and sexy, and while the Neo may well be it’s cheaper, stubbier cousin, it rocks harder than the Arc.

Sporting a metallic blue finish and some considerable heft in the hand, the Neo feels better – sturdier – straightaway. It also packs in ALL the features of the Arc into a smaller, less cumbersome housing; features including: 

  • 1GHz processor, 
  • 8.1MP Exmor R camera, 
  • HDMI-out
  • Mobile Bravia Engine 

And still manages to produce a fabulous wild-card; a front-facing camera. Testing out Skype-to-Skype video calling the other night (from PC to phone) was very interesting and rewarding – this is something that should’ve been on the Arc and the Play as it’s brilliant! Other advantages over the Arc:

  • Less cumbersome size of the phone
  • Headphone socket on top of the phone, not on the side. Fits in the pocket better.
  • All other sockets on the top of the phone
  • Camera more centrally located on the body, less chance of covering the lens with a finger.
Dislikes:
  • Message notification light is STILL on the side of the phone – WHY?! The Arc has a proximity sensor on the front plate, the Neo has TWO? Whatever for? One of these could’ve been ditched for a proper notification light which could be viewed from pretty much any angle.
  • Earpiece is a little small, could’ve done with being at least twice the size.


That’s it! Two gripes, neither of which were picked up on by major publications. I don’t know why Electric Pig slated the handset as much as they did in their biased review – well, I do – they are iPhone fanboys after all – it does everything the Arc did and more; personally I think, had fate not dealt it’s awful blow in Japan, the Neo should’ve been released with the Play and the Arc kept as a luxury upgrade if people wanted it.

In short – you need the Neo in your life. It’s awesome.


I recommend one of these cases, they’re the business too.

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