There's nothing particularly mind-blowing in the connectivity section, it's all a standard GSM affair here, with 2G handled by the 850, 900, 1800, 1900 set of frequencies, and 3G handled on the UMTS 900 and 2100 set of frequencies. Local connectivity is on board via Bluetooth 2.1, DLNA, HDMI, Wi-Fi and microUSB 2.0. So it's all the same as expected and it's a pretty good deal, so no shame.
The processor is a single core 1GHz Scorpion processor, it has the Adreno 205 GPU chip to handle graphics and 3D acceleration and of course the latest Gingerbread 2.3. The amount of memory that keeps all of these microchips and cards running is rather miserly, nor is it very well tuned, there is 1 GB of internal memory of which the user can access a measly 325 MB and 512 MB RAM. At least you can support additional memory via a microSD card, it can suck up to a maximum of 32 GB. The lack of RAM explains those lags in the UI we mentioned earlier.
The Xperia Neo is really a phone meant for photography, and as such it could have done with a few more shooting options. You're pretty much limited to Scene recognition and Smile detection when capturing photos, and for tinkering you can choose from the Landscape, Sports, Beach, Night mode, Document, Portrait and Party options. You can also choose to use the front facing VGA camera. Panorama, multi view, split screen, ISO balance, are all not here for the party, guess someone forgot to invite them.
Pictures turn out a bit washed out and very, well, white looking. Strong hints of white always creep into pictures. There is also a bit of shadow lag between pictures, something called the staircase effect, it occurs mostly when shooting a fast moving object in a constant but similar motion, like a car tyre, fan or windmill. The Exmor R technology on the other hand works brilliantly when in low-light conditions, but low-light does not mean no-light, in darkness pictures tend to be shallow and very green tinged. So Exmor R needs some sort of light to work with.
Video recording is done in 720p HD (16:9), and videos are good. You can enjoy almost lag free videos if you shoot carefully and colors are rendered truthfully with yellow being a bit on the strong side, but overall it's a very satisfactory performance from the recorder.
The music player is not bad, it looks very similar to the now long gone Mediascape music player, and its functionality is a clone of the phonebook. You can sort out tracks by Album, Genre, Artist and all the usual options, plug in the earphones and you can access some pretty well tuned equalizer settings. Album art looks great on the screen, there is a quick YouTube look up option, TrackID is as good as ever and overall everything seems to be in good order, but appearances can be deceiving.
You can only use the boxed earphones, try to use your own and sound quality goes right down the drain, it gets even worse if you try to pair it with a wireless earpiece or headset. What was Sony Ericsson thinking by forcing their users to use only its own earphones? What's worse is that sound quality on the provided earphones is about average, not stellar in any way. It's actually better on the loudspeaker. Not cool Sony Ericsson, not cool at all. There is also an FM radio app, plain, simple, dark blue UI and RDS are on board, enjoy.
The video player fares pretty badly, there is no native DIVX/XVID support, you're stuck watching MP4 and 3GP videos. But thankfully this is an Android show, so you can just download the appropriate app, also you can watch 720p HD videos without a problem, and the screen does make for some very pleasurable viewing indeed.
A notable piece of software in the Neo is something called LiveWire, which allows you to define a pre-programmed behavior when an external artifact is plugged into the phone, so you can tell the music player to start up whenever you plug in earphones, or for the phone to enter storage mode when you enter the microUSB wire -- stuff like that.
The Document viewer does not allow you to actually edit documents, you can only read and send them, you might also want to check the Market for a file manager, cause you're not going to find one on the Neo. Other features on the Neo are -- GPS/A-GPS, JAVA, digital compass, SNS integration, organizer, voice memo and predictive text input. You'll have to turn to the Market once again for a stopwatch, world clock and timer.