Samsung ATIV S Neo Review ( price , specification ,release date , features , problems, advantages, disadvantages)
Lookie here, it turns out Nokia isn't the only company churning out Windows phones, as Samsung is reminding us that it too knows how to handle those live tiles. With a phone destined to grace Sprint's late-summer line-up, Samsung is gearing up to launch what may be considered the US version of its current Windows Phone 8 flagship, the ATIV S. Sprint's phone will be called ATIV S Neo, and by the looks of it, it'll fail to upgrade upon what the ATIV S already offers.
No shocks here – the Samsung ATIV S Neo is incredibly similar to the ATIV S in terms of external appearance, which is to say that it's decent. The bad news is that the ATIV S Neo seems to have lost the fancy back cover design of the ATIV S, replacing it with a far more generic-looking one instead.
Sporting that trademark Pebble Blue color with a sort of a 'jeans' texture, the ATIV S Neo sticks to Samsung's favorite glossy plastic construction, which has proven to make handling the phone quite convenient. The handset is on the bulkier side, but button placement is very appropriate, meaning users won't have any trouble reaching any of the keys.
Unlike, Nokia, Samsung has decided to put a physical Home key instead of a touch-sensitive one. Not that it makes any significant difference. The Back and Search keys are capacitive and found at their usual places around the Home one.
Carrying its habits over from Android, Samsung has installed a large 4.8” display on the ATIV S Neo – same as on the international ATIV S. Resolution has also stayed the same at 720×1280 pixels. The only difference here is that instead of AMOLED, the display technology in use is LCD. While this won't have such a dramatic impact on the phone's usage, it's safe to say that outdoor visibility will be better with the S Neo, as LCDs are still capable of higher brightness outputs compared to their AMOLED counterparts.
Anyways, we can't offer any conclusive thoughts here, seeing that we're dealing with an early version of the phone which may not accurately represent the retail product's qualities.
Interface and Functionality
The Samsung ATIV S Neo comes with a revolutionary new interface that completely changes the look of Windows Phone 8. Of course, that's an impudent lie. The UI is exactly the same as on any other Windows Phone 8 handset, with phone makers given the option to differentiate by providing exclusive applications and other extra functionality. What this means is that the user experience is basically the same across all Windows Phone 8 devices, and that's probably a good thing, having in mind what these guys are doing to Android.
We quite like Windows Phone 8's approach to UI and think that is holds great potential as a consumer platform. It's good-looking and fun to use, full of cute effects that make the whole experience quite lively. The Live Tiles are a great tool to keep yourself informed by just taking a glance at your home screen.
At first, you may find that some things take a bit more time to accomplish with Windows Phone, compared to iOS or Android, but that's mainly because of the different approach to user experience in WP. Once you get used to it, almost everything can be done quickly and easily.
Windows Phone is notorious for its limited customization options, but when you think about it, it's actually not that bad because changing the color theme can drastically alter the look of your device. Plus, once you get some content on your phone and pin a bunch of things to the home screen, things can get pretty lively and colorful.
The 4.8” screen provides sufficient space for a comfortable typing experience. The generous real estate, combined with the awesome design of the Windows Phone 8 virtual QWERTY keyboard is a dream come true for any US teen who's serious about texting and/or social networking. There's one thing, though, that we don't like, and that's the fact that the landscape keyboard doesn't take up the full screen width. Instead, it has some empty space on its left and some other keys on its right. Not that it's such a big problem, but we feel like a bit too much space is being wasted here.
Internet and Connectivity
Naturally, the Samsung ATIV S Neo is equipped with Internet Explorer 10 for mobile, so browsing the web is a very pleasing experience. The browser itself may not be as fast as some of the Android counterparts, but it sure does a great job overall and even surpasses the competition in some respects.
Processor and Memory
The Samsung ATIV S Neo features a dual-core Snapdragon processor clocked at 1.4 GHz, which isn't really an upgrade over the ATIV S's 1.5 GHz CPU. Still, we're sure that the S Neo will be just as responsive and snappy as its international counterpart.
With a gig of RAM, the ATIV S Neo is perfectly capable of running each and every Windows Phone 8 app flawlessly, including the new Halo: Spartan Assault. Meanwhile, internal storage is set at 8 GB, but if that's not enough, then you can always expand it using a microSD card.
Camera and Multimedia
Windows Phone 8 devices like the Samsung ATIV S Neo come with a pretty versatile camera application that lets you tweak a bunch of things like the focus mode, white balance, exposure, ISO and more. Working with the settings is comfortable as they are all found in the same place, however, since they are all under the same list, it would have been nice if the list itself could occupy a bigger part of the screen so as to minimize scrolling.
Naturally, we cannot comment on the quality of the test shots we took with the S Neo, because our unit isn't final, but as always, we're posting them here for you to see.
Thanks to the hub-oriented structure of the WP8 operating system, consumers will find it very easy to discover, purchase and enjoy various content on the ATIV S Neo. For example, the Music+Video hub takes care of all your music and video, and provides access to the music store. Meanwhile, the Photos app will not only hold your photos, but will also provide updates about new image uploads by your friends in social networks. Of course, the phone's sizable 4.8” screen is just perfect for multimedia consumption.
The Samsung ATIV S Neo does stand a chance as part of Sprint's line-up, considering there are no Nokia Lumia devices there, as those provide numerous advantages over a 'cleaner' Windows Phone handset like the ATIV S Neo. Meanwhile, the HTC 8XT is more of a mid-range product so it won't necessarily compete with the S Neo.
For now, the ATIV S Neo seems like a solid WP8 offering that's specifically suitable for multimedia thanks to its large screen. It won't really blow anyone away, but will do well at filling the gap in Sprint's smartphone portfolio. If you're a Sprint user who's looking to jump on the Windows Phone train, this might be your chance, though it'd be best if you wait for our ATIV S Neo Review, as that's where we'll be able to give our definitive opinion about the handset.