The Neo L made an appearance quite a few months back along with Sony’s Nxt series. This phone is a successor to the Neo V and it sports an identical design, though the major improvements include a larger display and Ice Cream Sandwich. However, at a time where even dual cores are being replaced by quad cores for Androids, does the Neo L warrant a buy with its ‘modest’ specs? Let’s find out.
Sony Xperia Neo L - Video Review
A look at the new Sony Xperia Neo L
Design and Build Quality
The Neo L isn’t going to win any design awards whatsoever. When you first pick up the phone, you will realise that it is fat, with a thickness of 12.2mm. This, when phones are only getting thinner by the day. It’s got a very identical form factor when compared to the popular Neo V handset that was part of Sony’s earlier generation of smartphones. Available in two colours, black and white – we got the black model for review. A silver rim runs around the edges of the phone and the back cover is particularly prone to fingerprints and scratches. The area around the camera in particular, of our review unit got quite a few scratches.
Physical buttons at the bottom
The extended bottom that is part of the Xperia U and the S thankfully isn’t a part of the Neo L as the screen takes up most of the space. Still, the L appears plasticy and it would have been good if Sony made a few design-related improvements to this handset.
Back of the device - plain and simple
Let’s have a quick tour of the device. Up front is a large 4.0-inch display with a resolution of 480 x 854 pixels. The keys at the bottom are slightly cramped and it would have been better had it been restricted to just three instead of four physical buttons. The front camera rests above the screen along with the sensors. Towards the left, there’s a sole charging port while the right consists of the volume rocker and the power button. The 3.5mm headphone jack and notification LED is located on the top. The back houses the speaker grill, a 5 megapixel shooter and an LED flash. Under the hood, you have a 1500 mAh battery, a SIM card slot and a non hot swappable microSD card slot.
An average performer
At a weight of 131 grams, the L doesn’t feel too light to be labelled a dummy piece and though the build is predominantly plastic, it’s not flimsy. Fat yes, but not fragile. Because of the fact that it’s very similar to the Neo V, some may feel that this phone is a step back for Sony in terms of design, and after using both the Nxt series and this phone, we reckon Sony still has ample room for improvement.
Features and Performance
The Neo L is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 processor and has 512MB of RAM with 1GB (300MB user available) of internal storage. The important bit here is that this phone comes shipped with Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0.4) on board. We quite like what ICS brings to the table with this Xperia and it’s definitely a major performance improvement from what Gingerbread had to offer. Inspite of having an 'older' processor, it’s more fine tuned than those running on Gingerbread and that shows when you’re going about your daily tasks. Naturally, with ICS, the look and feel is slightly changed as well, but if you’re a Timescape user you won’t notice a marked difference. Memory intensive apps may slow down the phone, but the task manager lets you free up some memory.
Notifications and phone calling interface
Even though few of the other similar (and cheaper) priced Xperias are dual core ones, they offer little more in the real world than this one. We put the Neo L through a range of synthetic benchmarks and they can be seen below. We’ve compared the phone to the similarly priced HTC One V, the Xperia Sola and the cheaper Neo V. The Neo L doesn’t really have much to boast of out here.
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