Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo: Verdict
Overall, this mid-range Android offering from Sony Ericsson is actually pretty decent, and the specs are impressive. On closer inspection they didn't blow us away, but if you're looking for a reasonably priced, media-heavy phone with a screen size to rival the Apple iPhone 4, then this will stand you in good stead.
It was nice to see the lightly skinned Gingerbread 2.3 working swiftly without any juddering, and it copes admirably with battery-sucking apps.
The eight-megapixel camera turns out gorgeous photos, and all this is light enough to fit in your pocket. It's also got strong connectivity, and fast internet access.
The design aesthetic wasn't to our tastes. Sorry Sony Ericsson, but the blue, slightly plasticky chassis doesn't really do it for us; kudos for trying to break the 'black slab' mentality of smartphones, though.
The fact that we couldn't really use it with our own hands-free (and better quality) headphones grated hugely. There's really no good reason this should be the case.
With a slightly lbetter-lit screen, the media features of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo might have wowed us a little more. As it is, it's a functional little mite, with high usability and simple, one-handed navigation and operation.
The cost is still a little higher than we'd have liked to see for a phone of this caliber, with £30-£35 per month on a contract quite a lot for some retailers. However, at £300 on PAYG this a much better buy, so we'd recommend you look at it if you're willing to pay a bit more to lose the hassle of a contract.