- Editor's Rating
- Excellent display
- Impressive hardware
- Poor signal even for a large city
- Plastic gives it a cheap feel
Quick TakeThe Samsung ATIV S Neo offers a respectable Windows 8 experience, but only for users in areas with decent Sprint coverage.
The Samsung ATIV S Neo is a Sprint-exclusive Windows 8 smartphone and marks the first Windows 8 phone available on Sprint’s network. It also marks Samsung’s second effort in releasing a Windows 8 phone after the Samsung ATIV Odyssey proved to be a forgettable first offering. The S Neo has a larger screen that stretches the length of the device. It is 0.36 inches thick and features a thin bezel. The frame is built with a low-quality plastic, which allows the device to weigh only 5.08 ounces but Brighthand notes it also feels cheap. The S Neo is priced at $149 with a two-year contract at the time of the review.
The S Neo has a 4.7 inch display with 308 dpi resolution. Brighthand noted the display is sharp and colors look good and are a bit over saturated. The display is also extremely bright and thus visible even in direct sunlight. Reviewers at Brighthand did notice a frequent glitch in the display that caused it to display everything slightly off-center and could only be fixed with a reboot. The device has a physical home key beneath the display, which Brighthand found to be “aesthetically pleasing and practical.” Other physical buttons include a volume rocker, power/standby button, and camera key. The smartphone also has capacitive feedback and search buttons. Additionally, there is a headphone jack and micro USB port.
When it came to performance, Brighthand found the S Neo to be underwhelming. Basic tasks such as surfing the web, playing games and streaming music often couldn’t be performed due to a weak or non-existent signal, which will vary for users in different locations. But, Sprint’s signal woes are more prominent than other major carriers. However, Brighthand noted the smartphone is well equipped. It runs on a 1.4 GHz dual-core Krait processor with 1GB RAM and 16 GB on board storage, which is expandable via a microSD. Brighthand found the camera lags a little bit, but otherwise “the phone’s local storage was smooth.”
The S Neo comes preloaded with some of Sprint’s software including the Scout navigation software and Sprint Music Plus among other apps. Samsung also throws in some software such as Samsung Link, MiniDiary and Samsung Now among others. Samsung also includes a suite of camera-related apps and which can be used with the 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, which Brighthand notes has decent sharpness but colors can seem flat. The S Neo also has a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera. Brighthand called the camera’s battery life “serviceable,” noted it lasts no more than 24 hours on a single charge with moderate use.
Overall, Brighthand found the Samsung ATIV S Neo to be a more respectable Windows 8 phone than the ATIV Odyssey. Brighthand was impressed with the display and respectable hardware, but noted Sprint customers will always be hampered by the poor Sprint service and noted the device would be “a great offering on any other network.”