Sony Xperia neo L review: Blast from the past

GSMArena team, 11 August 2012.

Introduction

The Sony Xperia neo L is trying to break into an already well-populated market of affordable smartphones that give you a loud bang for your buck. It's a hotly contested game, but the neo L doesn't come unprepared. It has Sony's screen and camera know-how behind its back.

The Sony Xperia neo L is the second revision of the neo design. The biggest change is the screen, which grew to 4 inches, and the OS - the L model launches with Android 4.0 ICS out of the box.

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Sony Xperia neo L official pictures

There are some other changes visible on the outside - Sony decided to drop the HDMI port, there are now four hardware buttons under the screen and the hardware shutter key is missing, but that's about it.

On the inside, things are more familiar - the Sony Xperia neo L is based on the same platform as quite a few Sony Ericsson phones - the previous two neos, the Xperia arc, mini, ray, PLAY and so on.

In Froyo times these were flagship specs and when Gingerbread came out, they were relocated to midrange territory. Today, they are even lower than that but the neo L has a couple of aces up its sleeve.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM /GPRS/EDGE support
  • 3G with 7.2 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
  • 4" 16M-color capacitive LED-backlit LCD touchscreen of WVGA resolution (480 x 800 pixels)
  • Android OS v4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 1 GHz Scorpion CPU, Adreno 205 GPU, 512 MB RAM, Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 chipset
  • 5 MP autofocus camera, LED flash, geo-tagging, 3D Sweep Panorama
  • 720p video @ 30fps with continuous autofocus and stereo sound
  • Front facing VGA camera, video chat (Google, Skype)
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n and DLNA
  • GPS with A-GPS
  • microSD slot (32GB supported, 2GB card included)
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v2.1
  • Voice dialing
  • Adobe Flash 11 support
  • Deep Xperia Facebook integration

Main disadvantages

  • Display has poor viewing angles
  • Very limited video codec support
  • No HDMI port as on the older neo models
  • No FM radio as on the older neo models
  • No hardware camera shutter key as on the older neo models
  • Memory card slot under the battery

The lack of a dual-core processor might put some people off, but it's really the HDMI port that we miss. It's a real rarity, especially since manufacturers started using MHL instead, but that requires an adapter and it's usually only the higher-end devices that get it.

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Sony Xperia neo L live pictures

So, there have been a few omissions, but the Xperia neo L still has quality components like that Reality display and Android Ice Cream Sandwich (a lot of former high-enders and even current models are still - and might remain forever - on Gingerbread).

Jump to the next page where we start to find out just how much Sony heart went into what looks like a Sony Ericsson body.

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