The Sony Xperia neo L seems destined to drive blockbuster sales numbers (FYI, the Xperia neo line is Sony’s best seller, according to mobile head Patrick Larraga) and page after page of positive press. Reasonably priced at P12,490, Sony Philippines’ first smartphone to have Android Ice Cream Sandwich in tow brings a lot of perks to the mid-end mobile segment.
The design and build quality are top-notch. At first glance, it’s easy to mistake the Xperia neo L for one of the Japanese brand’s flagship products. It looks immaculate in white, with its chrome-styled trim and jet-black navigation buttons adding flair and contrast to an already good-looking mobile.
The profiles are flanked by the usual suspects: a power-slash-lock key, a volume rocker, and a micro-USB slot. The top plate is home to a headphone port that connects to a 3.5mm plug. As with current Xperia smartphones, the Sony Xperia neo L has a dedicated shutter key that’s easy to press.
The 5-megapixel camera round the back sports flash, auto-focus, and built-in user options and a possibly handy panorama mode. It shoots 720p footage, too. This is as good as it gets, unfortunately, as imaging performance is a hit-and-miss affair. Often, the photos and videos we took contained noise and appeared darker than in real life. Ditto for the front VGA snapper.
The Sony Xperia neo L’s screen is generously sized, measuring 4 inches diagonally. This and the revamped Timescape UI keyboard, with its larger keys and better spacing, should translate to fewer typing errors to all but the smallest of hands.
The display quality impressed us a bit. The 480 x 854, LED-backlit panel delivers natural color tones and a decent amount of details to on-screen objects. In particular, Android Ice Cream Sandwich’s Roboto font looks crisp and sharp.
The only caveat up front is the panel’s lower-than-usual brightness levels.
Despite that drawback, we still consider the phone’s screen size one of its biggest assets (pun intended). Considering its price point, it would be hard to argue otherwise.
The Sony Xperia neo L is also aptly spec’d. At the heart of this midrange offering is a 1GHz processor, paired with 512MB of RAM and an Adreno 205 graphics chip. The hardware setup delivers a decent Ice Cream Sandwich experience, full Flash support in Web browsing, and decent framerates in more demanding Android applications like Temple Run. The phone was able to play a few rounds of Fruit Ninja without breaking a sweat as well.
For a more objective analysis, benchmark numbers according to Quadrant Standard, AnTuTu, Vellamo, and NenaMark2 are 1,193, 2,877, 865, and 21.3fps.
The rear-facing loudspeaker’s sound quality earns brownie points. It’s noticeably loud and really capable of kicking out big noise when needed.
Overall, we were generally impressed with the Sony Xperia neo L, at least based on our intimate, albeit fleeting, encounter with it yesterday. As ever, you can draw your own conclusion when it hits authorized retail outlets next week.
Sony Xperia neo L specs
- 1GHz Scorpion CPU
- Adreno 205 GPU
- 512MB RAM, 1GB internal storage with microSD card slot up to 32GB
- 4-inch display (480 x 854 resolution)
- 5-megapixel camera with auto-focus, LED flash, and 720p video recording
- VGA front camera
- 1,500mAh lithium-polymer battery
- Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS (version 4.0)