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Review: Samsung ATIV S Neo for Sprint

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Oct 14, 2013, 5:16 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The S Neo is one of two Windows Phone 8 devices available from Sprint. It's a solid effort from Samsung and bests more than a few Windows Phone competitors. Here are our thoughts.

Is It Your Type?

The Samsung ATIV S Neo is one of two Windows Phone 8 smartphones available from Sprint at the moment. It offers the style of Samsung's Galaxy-class Android devices with Microsoft's swift and capable platform instead. For Sprint customers seeking the best WP8 experience available, the S Neo is it.


Were it not for the Windows symbol on the Samsung ATIV S Neo's Start button, you'd be forgiven for mistaking it for an Android smartphone. Samsung took a page from the Galaxy S4 when designing the Neo, which shares many of the GS4's characteristics. The Neo is unmistakably Samsung in the best possible way.

Though the name Neo perhaps conjures images of shadowy hackers and matrices, Samsung's take on the name is all class. The phone has an attractive chrome-colored frame that forms the outer edges. It contrasts nicely with the conservative shade of blue that colors the bezel on the front and the battery cover on the back. The Neo is a good-looking smartphone. It doesn't blaze any new design trails, but it comes across as sophisticated.

The Neo has an excellent feel. It may be somewhat large (to accommodate the big screen), but gently rounded side edges help the phone fit snugly in your palm. The surfaces are glossy, slick, and smooth, but don't feel cheap like on some other Samsung handsets. I wish the Neo were a bit lighter, but the weight helps lend the Neo some authority. The materials are of good quality, and the Neo is assembled tightly. It's solid and strong. Though it is big, it should still fit in most pockets without a problem.


The Neo's front face is a nice mix of black, blue, and chrome accents. The earpiece grill, for example, has a chrome-colored cover, and the Start button has a chrome rim that makes it easy to see. The bezels are fairly thin, though not as impressively narrow as on some of Samsung's Android phones. The Start button is raised slightly and has a great feel to it. The profile makes finding it with your thumb a breeze. It is flanked by two capacitive buttons, Back on the left, and Search on the right. This is the same setup that most Windows Phone devices use.

You'll find the volume toggle on the left side of the Neo. It is a thin strip, but the profile is just enough to make it easily located. Travel and feedback was a bit stiff, in my opinion. The lock and dedicated camera buttons are on the right edge. They are both a bit small, but have good profiles. The screen lock button has similar travel and feedback to the volume button. The two-stage camera button feels excellent, with both stages well defined. The stereo headphone jack is on the top and the micro-USB port is on the bottom.

Like most Samsung phones, the battery cover is removable. You can also swap out the microSD memory card.

The ATIV S Neo functions like most other modern smartphones, but looks classy doing it.

About the author, Eric M. Zeman:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.


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Poison Ivy

Oct 18, 2013, 2:28 PM

Shame it's not full HD

Just when full HD has been released for Windows Phones.
Now I'm interested in giving WP a chance. Tho' I'll wait for new improvements.
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