Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo vs HTC Sensation

We examine the new Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo and pit it against HTC's latest offering, the Sensation.

We take a look at how Sony Ericsson’s new Xperia Neo stacks up against HTC’s new Sensation.


Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo - 116 x 57 x 13 mm, 126 g

HTC Sensation - 126.1 x 65.4 x 11.3 mm, 148 g

The Sensation is immediately recognisable as an HTC phone, which is no bad thing as HTC styling on the whole leans towards the good-looking minimalist end of things, but there’s also more than a nod towards the current trend for thin, long and angular handsets and we think this works well here.

Sony Ericsson appears to be going in almost the opposite direction with the Xperia Neo, it’s angular but apart from that it’s smaller and much more compact. The styling is quite dynamic though in keeping with other handsets in the Xperia range – prominent silver accents and a strange but nonetheless appealing mix of lines and curves. Best of all the interesting fade-away metallic colours on the bodywork make a nice change.

We prefer the proportions of the HTC but at the same time the interesting shapes of the Neo have their appeal, as does the colour, we’re not so fond of the amount of chrome though. A hybrid of the two designs might well be our perfect phone but with these two we’ll have to call it a draw.

Winner - Draw


The Neo’s overall smaller size means a smaller screen with a 3.7-inch LED backlit LCD capacitive touchscreen featuring a scratch resistant surface. This handset uses the Timescape user interface (UI) powered by the Sony Mobile Bravia engine while the screen resolution stands at 480 x 854 pixels. Multi-touch and an accelerometer round-up the display features.

The HTC Sensation’s screen is a fair bit bigger, it’s a Sony made 4.3-inch S-LCD capacitive touchscreen at 540 x 960 pixels. The display is made from toughened ‘Gorilla Glass’ to prevent scratches and cracks and the phone comes loaded with the HTC Sense 3.0 UI. The usual run of multi-touch, accelerometer and gyro sensors completes the feature line-up.

We’re more in favour of the larger screen size and higher resolution, add to that the enhanced brightness, colour depth and power efficiency of the S-LCD screen and the HTC becomes first choice on display.

Winner – HTC Sensation


Sony Ericsson hasn’t gone to great lengths on the memory side of things with the Xperia Neo holding only 320 MB of data in its onboard storage, the amount of RAM is reasonable though at 512 MB and card support is decent allowing up to 32 GB Micro SD and shipping with an 8 GB card as standard.

HTC have done a bit better without producing anything exceptional, 1 GB of storage is on offer here, again the RAM is a step up and better than the Neo too at 768 MB. Card support is the same as the Neo, even down to the provided 8 GB Micro SD.

Neither handset has as much capacity nor RAM as we’d like from a newly released, high-end smartphone but between the two the HTC Sensation is clearly better equipped on storage.

Winner – HTC Sensation


Sony are sticking with the strange decision to go single core with the Xperia range so far and this includes the Xperia Neo, it’s fitted with a 1 GHz Qualcomm Scorpion processor on the MSM 8255 Snapdragon chipset. Graphical power comes from an Adreno 205 graphics processing unit (GPU).

HTC has been more forward thinking, instead opting for a dual core power plant in the form of a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm processor running on the updated MSM 8260 Snapdragon chipset. Graphics are handled by an Adreno GPU here too but this time it’s the superior Adreno 220 model.

This is a no-contest, more cores is the future and HTC has taken that on board, the processing power in the Neo is fine but it’s not on the same level as the Sensation.

Winner – HTC Sensation

Operating System:

Both phones run Google’s Android operating system and both are right up-to-date with version 2.3 Gingerbread. We like Gingerbread, and at the moment on Android smartphones you can’t do any better. It’s a big step up from previous versions in terms of performance and smoothness as well as some of the updated features.

It’s not perfect, the browsing could use updating to the same standard as 3.0 Honeycomb for tablets, but overall it’s a very satisfying system to use and much more so than 2.1 or 2.2 which although good at multitasking were in many ways clunky and awkward to use.

Winner - Draw


Being on the same up-to-date operating system these phones will both have access to thousands of apps and games on Android Market and on third party app stores too.

Both phones will be able to run some fairly intensive apps and games very well, but the Sensation will make a much better go of it and offer smoother performance with its dual core 1.2 GHz processor and 768 MB of RAM, both rating higher than the Neo equivalents. You’ll also be able to store more apps, games and multimedia on the Sensation due to its greater storage capacity.

Winner – HTC Sensation


Cameras are a standout feature on both of these handsets, each sporting an 8-megapixel primary at 3264x2448 pixels.

The Xperia Neo has a decent feature list with autofocus, touch focus, LED flash, geo-tagging and face and smile detection. Video capture is at 720p and there’s a good selection of video features too with video calling, continuous autofocus and a video light. The Neo’s secondary camera is VGA.

HTC has given the Sensation an equally extensive line-up with autofocus, touch focus, geo-tagging, image stabilisation, and face detection, instant capture and dual LED flash. Video quality is 1080p and features stereo sound recording while the secondary camera is also VGA.

There are some attractive features which the Neo has and the Sensation doesn’t, notably video calling, continuous autofocus, video light and smile detection, but overall we feel the HTC is better equipped with its dual LED flash, image stabilisation and higher quality video capture.

Winner – HTC Sensation

Final Thoughts:

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo is a nice enough handset but it simply hasn’t been designed in such a way that it will keep up, if it had come out last year it would have been something very special but in the current market it seems basic and too ‘current’, though we wouldn’t go so far as to call it dated. It will give reasonably good performance with its processor and RAM setup but it’s not a patch on the HTC Sensation. The camera is excellent but the Sensation’s is just as good.


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