Sony Ericsson XPERIA Neo review: More than a sequel
The organizer is full suite
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo comes with a solid set of organizing options, including a document viewer.
The app in question is OfficeSuite and it has support for viewing document files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF, including the Office 2007 versions). For editing, you will need to get the paid app.
Reading documents is quite comfortable on the large, high-resolution screen and panning is blazing fast.
The doc viewer integrates with the Gmail app, which makes viewing attachments a cinch. You can’t download them to the phone’s internal memory however. Attaching all kinds of files is possible though.
The calendar has four different types of view - daily, weekly, monthly and agenda view. Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to act as a reminder.
Agenda view shows a list of all the calendar entries from the recent past to the near future. It’s a very handy tool when you need to check your appointments for the next few days.
There is also a calculator aboard. It is nicely touch optimized - the buttons are really big and easy to hit.
The alarm clock app allows a huge number of alarms to be set, each with its own start and repeat time. Unfortunately you don’t have the Stopwatch, Timer or World Clock options. You don’t get a Voice Recorder either.
But all of the applications missing on the Xperia Neo can be downloaded for free off the Android Market in a matter of minutes, so it’s not a big deal really.
Google Maps, GPS and limited navigation
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo comes with a GPS receiver, which locked onto satellites in about 2-3 minutes with A-GPS turned off.
Google Maps is the main application and its Street View mode is probably the best part of the deal in places where turn-by-turn voice navigation isn’t yet offered. If the Street View is available in the area you're interested in, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the area. Zoom is supported through pinch and double tap gestures. When the digital compass is turned on it feels like making a virtual tour of the surroundings!
Turn-by-turn voice guidance using Google Maps Navigation is only available in select countries and unless you live in one of them the best you can do is plan a route in advance and keep an eye on your current location during travel.
Our Xperia Neo came with Maps 5 out of the box, which gives you access to some great features. Offline rerouting is one – if you stray off course, Maps will recalculate the route without the need for an Internet connection. You can’t change the destination without connection though. There are also 3D buildings (where available), two finger rotation, tilting and so on.
Android Market has tons of apps
The Xperia Neo runs the latest version of Android and has a WVGA screen, giving you access to the whole Android Market (some apps won’t run on older versions or low-res screens).
The structure of the Android Market is quite simple – featured apps on top and three buttons (Applications, Games and My apps). There is also a shortcut up there for initiating a search.
The Applications and Games sections are divided into subsections (e.g. Communication, Entertainment etc.) so you can filter the apps that are relevant to you. Of course, there is also an option of displaying them all in bulk, but you’ll probably need days to browse them all that way.
There are all kinds of apps in the Android market and the most important ones are covered (file managers, navigation apps, document readers etc.).