Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo: Messaging

Tapping out messages on the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo is adequate. The keypad itself is well spaced and should be easy to pick up speed on, however there are a couple of notable faults.

There's a possibility whoever designed it has a problem with contractions, because the apostrophe button is irritatingly located in the symbols page, and typing in predictive text doesn't help either.

For example, typing "where's" won't offer the amendment "where's"; instead you have to navigate out of the QWERTY pad and into the symbols, and only upon typing "where'" will you be offered the choice of "where's".

Same for "I'm" and "I'd", and while it sounds like such a simple thing, it gets incredibly irritating after a while and drastically slows down responses.

That said, everything else is set up in a good way. There's a portrait and a landscape QWERTY pad.

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And, standard Android, the choice to reply in portrait while seeing the message history and a shortened form of your message.

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Or to reply in landscape without the message view but with a full screen message.

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Converting the SMS to MMS is handy, with a shortcut sitting next to the text input box that, when pressed, offers the chance to add media or even dive into camera mode and add a new snap.

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The message history format is the now-standard bubble view, however, with both sides of the conversation displayed in the same colour of bubble, it can get a little difficult to tell who is who if the conversation goes on for a while.

Social networking isn't really integrated at all in the SMS inbox, and the choice has been made to keep email and SMS inboxes separate. Messages in the inbox are displayed in a list view, however, and contacts' pictures as synced with Facebook/Twitter are visible.

As for email, the phone comes pre-loaded with two different apps; Gmail, plus a generic email app. The standard app refuses to acknowledge the existence of inbox folders, so that's not particularly useful if you're a super-organised person. But if you're both organised and on Gmail, then you're absolutely set. It does, however, have a combined inbox, which lets you add several accounts at once.

Additionally, the screen feels a little crowded when in the email editor, especially in portrait QWERTY mode.

However, setting up your account is beautifully simple, as it always is these days: simply enter your details to the prompt screens and away you go.