Sony's latest addition to the Xperia stable
comes in the form of the neo L. A successor to the Neo V and inheriting
much of its looks, the neo L is competing in the same category as the
HTC One V and the LG Optimus 7. But do the modest specs of this
smartphone guarantee a worthwhile user experience? We find out.
mentioned earlier, the neo L looks very similar to the Neo and Neo V in
terms of design. But this time round, the device has a 4-inch display
that also makes it heavier at 131.5gms. The phone is bulky in its build
but is solid. The device comes in black and white colour options.
smartphone has a glossy finish, which makes the phone a rather slippery
customer. The screen is a fingerprint magnet as well. There's a silver
strip that runs along the edges of the phone separating the front and
The device features 4 physical buttons, that feel a bit
too squeezed and difficult to operate. One wonders if capacitive touch
buttons would have been a better choice.
The power/wake button is
placed on the right along with the volume rocker. The placement of both
these buttons isn't convenient though. If you're holding the device in
one hand, you find stretching your thumb quite a bit before you get to
them, especially if you have small hands.
The 3.5mm headphones
jack finds room on the top while the Micro-USB port for charging and
data transfer is located on the left. The back of the device houses a
5MP shooter with LED flash, adjacent to the grilled speakers.
Beneath the skin, the Xperia neo L features a 1500mAh battery, a SIM card slot and a microSD card slot.
Overall, the neo L does have an attractive design but certain improvements would have been welcome.
Xperia neo L comes with a 4-inch LED-backlit capacitive touch display.
Images look crisp at 480x854 pixels. The viewing angles are good. But at
maximum brightness levels, the phone disappoints. It's hard to view
screen elements in broad daylight.
Images on the HTC One V look
better, thanks to the ImageSense technology. Even under low lighting
conditions images look good. The Optimus L7, on the other hand, features
an IPS-LCD NOVA display and also has better viewing angles displaying
images that are vivid and bright. But again, images under the sun look
dim even with 100% brightness levels.
The Xperia neo L
comes with a 5MP rear camera. Outdoor shots are decent. Images appear
sharp with good colour and contrast and are an improvement over the Neo
V. There are some flaws. There is no option to zoom and the auto focus
just doesn't work. So if you're trying to take wide shots, it seems like
an impossible task. The absence of a touch-to-focus is also felt.
The Neo V had better auto focus capabailities. The phone also lacks a dedicated camera button.
camera settings are pretty basic including scene mode, exposure levels,
white balance and flash. Users can share pictures instantly to various
social media like Facebook, Twitter, Picasa, Google+ and more.
video recording is possible at 30fps and videos recorded are saved as
MP4 files by default. Users can also choose to shoot in SD mode. The
video recorder features continuous auto-focus, though it may take some
seconds to refocus while re-framing.
There's a front camera for video calling.
to the camera software, the device has the stock Android interface. But
Sony's custom camera offers better options like Touch Focus for
instance. But the user won't complain much as it offers all the basic
The smartphone ships with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) on-board, that makes it a first of its kind from Sony.
familiar Timescape UI manages all your communications ranging from
Facebook and Twitter to Contacts and Calls under one roof. Timescape
focusses more on the social networking integration. Certain ICS tweaks
are visible instatntly. The lock screen earlier featured an unlock
slider and one for silent mode. Th latter has been replaced by a camera
Another noticeable change is that the notifications menu
is no onger accessible from the lockscreen. This does come by as a bit
surprising since it is a prominent ICS feature. An addition is the
ability to control music playback from the lockscreen, that displays the
music player widget.
Apps can now be arranged in various ways such as Alphabetical, Most Used, Own Order and Recently Installed.
the capacitive touch buttons are replaced by the physical ones,
aplications current running can be closed by long-pressing the home
button. A new feature is Overview, that provides the pinch-to-zoom
functionality. All active widgets float on the screen for easy viewing
and selection. The mediascape widget is no longer available, but the
standard gallery is back, in addition to the Xperia gallery.
music player on the device missed the ICS update. It still houses the
old music player that featured before the NXT series. The main menu
offers browsing in four tabs for the available sorting options: Artists,
Albums, Tracks and Playlists. There is no dedicated video player on the
device. However, users can download video player apps from Google Play.
Other custom skins like Samsung's TouchWiz UI provide greater
functionality by adding buttons to the notification bar that allow
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and rotation capabilities to quickly be turned on
or off. It also has the ability to silence the phone.
features a 1GHz Qualcomm processor and 512MB RAM. The user interface is
slick and works pretty smooth most of the time. But we'd suggest the use
of a Task Manager as the device isn't the best at multitasking.
to other Xperia devices, the neo L does score some extra points for a
big 4-inch screen. Watching videos, keeping widgets or app shortcuts on
the screen is an advantage.
Apart from the usual stock of Google
apps, the smartphone comes pre-installed with apps like OfficeSuite,
McAfee Security and NeoReader that helps you read bar codes.
gamers will be excited to see the EA Games app that offers free games
like Plants vs Zombies, Dead Space and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 in trial
mode. But the key highlight is Need For Speed Shift (Google Play lists
NFS Shift for Rs. 273!) as a full free game to play.
Performance/ Battery Life
smartphone is a decent performer for the kind of specs it offers. The
battery life of the device is pretty good lasting an entire day on an
What's interesting to note here is that while other
dual-core processor phones from Sony like the Xperia sola and Xperia P
have a 1320mAh and 1305mAh battery respectively, the single-core Xperia
neo L comes with a 1500mAh battery. Not that we're complaining, but
Being a Sony, it is needless to say that the audio
quality is great both on the speakers and the bundled headphones. Even
at full volume levels, the sound doesn't crack. Users can always visit
the Settings menu to enhance the audio quality via sony's xLOUD
technology and tweak equlaiser settings for desired audio output. Some
users may be disappointed to find that the phone does not have an FM
receiver, unlike the Neo V.
High quality YouTube videos look
beautiful with clear picture quality and barely any pixelation. Though
the phone supports multiple audio (MP3, WAV, eAAC+) formats, but we had
some trouble playing MP4 files on our unit and the video playback wasn't
Speaking of connectivity, the handset performs well over
both 3G and Wi-Fi networks. The browsing experience is highly
satisfactory. But there are ocassional lags while scrolling and zooming
full blown sites. Users can install Chrome for Android to further
enhance and simplify their browsing experience. Games such as Dear
Hunter Reloaded and Temple Run were smooth without any lags.
quality on the Xperia neo L is decent with good reception practically
everwhere. Messaging also felt quite comfortable on the device, courtesy
the big 4-inch screen. The on-screen full QWERTY keyboard is laid out
neatly with the keys spaced out well. Landscape is bigger and more
comfortable but typing even the portrait mode felt very easy. The
keyboard has support for multiple international languages as well.
can also make use of the Gesture input in case they want to type
faster. It works on the same concept as Swype. Those not used to this
feature, will struggle initially but eventually get used to it. The
feature is accessible in the Settings menu (wrench icon next to Enter
button) within the keyboard itself.
The device also comes with
DLNA support. We connected it to a television over Wi-fi and played a
couple of videos and browsed through images remotely. It functioned just
After having spent some quality time with the
neo L, we'd say that the smartphone is a decent performer. The phone is
not all just about beauty, but brains as well. It is fast, smooth,
ships with ICS on board and has a battery life that surely won't
But the phone does have its share of flaws. The camera
is one feature that is a big let down. The HTC One V has a much better
camera. We would've also loved to see Sony add the PlayStation
certification on it. Had the phone been bumped up just a bit specs wise,
it would've been a great buy.
Like we mentioned earlier, the neo
L is stacked up against the HTC One V and the LG Optimus L7. Both these
handsets are recent launches, come with similar specifications and are
priced cheaper than the neo L. They also have greater 4GB internal
memory, FM Radio and far better camera capabilities.
Sony Xperia neo L in pictures
ICS out of the box
No tap focus in camera
Plasticky and cheap feel
Price: Rs. 19,499
Ratings (Out of 5)
Battery Life: 3.5
Value for Money: 3