The Sony Xperia Neo V was released on October 2011.
It was a cheaper alternative to the Sony Xperia Neo released previously in March of the same year.

It comes with a Snapdragon S1 clocked at 1 Ghz, 512 MB of RAM, a decent 5 MP Camera that can record at 720p, 7 hardware buttons, a micro-SD slot that’s also used for the OS (great !) as well as a removable battery,

The device itself

The build quality isn’t very good : everything is thin plastic.

The battery and the back cover are very difficult to remove and easy to damage, making the fragile plastic even more prone to scratches and breaking.

It’s really an easy device to break if you’re not careful and i’m lucky to have it in this state.

Looking at this device, you can see we’ve come a long way since then and now we’ve got phones using metal.

On the plus side, the screen is scratch-resistant and should suffice for most people.
It also seems to be fairly solid but i wouldn’t try to break if i were you.

The camera is, considering when it was released, pretty decent actually.

It can record at 720p and the quality was better than what my cheap 100$ camera could do actually.
This is still very bad at low light tho but i used it to record me playing Quake on the TI Nspire.

This camera is also shared by all Xperia 2011 devices, except the Arc S which has an even better 8MP Camera.

Speakers are very loud and clear, although it’s mono only.
The hardware buttons work okay as well but most custom ROMs don’t seem to support the camera button tho so watch out for that.

The fact that you can boot the OS from the micro-SD slot means that you can easily expand the storage, as it is considered as Internal storage for Android.

Should the micro-SD fail, you can also replace it.
You can’t say that for most other phone which can suffer from NAND failures… so that’s another plus for the Xperia neo V.

I also forgot to mention that the neo V supports USB-OTG, so plugging a USB stick or game controller will work.

Software

When i got the device, it was upgraded to Android 4.0 ICS.

Needless to say, performance was less than ideal for me on this thing and i quickly downgraded to Android 2.3 Gingerbread.
The phone ran a little better but i couldn’t customize it and most games stop supporting Gingerbread…

After settling with Jelly Bean for a while, i have just recently decided to give Marshmallow a try.

As recommended by the XPeriance team, i’m using it with a class 10 SD-card.
Marshmallow takes some time to boot but it runs surprisingly really well ! I’m actually surprised.

Of course i’m a sucker for speed so i replaced the default launcher with mLauncher, disabled animations, disabled background processes and more…

My phone is now a bit more enjoyable to use.
I would say it definitively runs better than the official ICS rom.

Games

I ran some games on it, none of them are really 3D heavy but the simple games run smoothly.
By the way, my device was overclocked to 1.4 Ghz and the CPU governor was set to performance.

The latest version of Angry Birds runs smoothly, no issues so far.

Super Dangerous Dungeons has some freezes but runs okay most of the time. 3D games is where things start to get serious…
The poor Adreno 205 struggles to run most 3D games :
my picks were not even that demanding…

PPSSPP runs like on ICS and Gingerbread and most games will require frameskipping enabled.
Minetest, with the settings all the way down, runs at about 10 FPS.

Despite this, the device still manages to get 13000 points in Antutu.

For comparison, a Lenovo A6000 would get like 24000 points.
In 3D tests tho, the neo V only got 86 pts, which is very low.

Multimedia

Naturally, i also tried to throw some MP4 720p videos at it : It turns out the device supports full hardware acceleration for 720p videos.

Both MX Player and VLC were able to run my videos.

Sadly, i can’t really test 1080p videos but HW+ acceleration and YUV works great on this device so i’m assuming MX Player should be able to play 1080p videos as well when fully overclocked.

Audio is the same deal, FLACs, OGGs, MP3s… everything will run on it.

Support

This device is well supported and while its support isn’t as good as let’s say the HTC HD2, it still has ports like the now-defunct Firefox OS, Sailfish OS and plenty of custom ROMs.

This was a 2011 device and Marshmallow runs lovely on this thing, thanks to the XPeriance team.

I’m pretty sure this phone will soon get a Nougat (7.0 and 7.1) update, even though the only “improvement” Nougat provides is to able to run Google Assistant without crazy hacks.

Worth mentioning : the neo V has a fastboot mode so no need to tinker with the awful Flashtool.

Conclusion

The Xperia Neo V is pretty cool device to own and it was my mainly driver for a while. The only thing that led me to switch to another is the fact that it didn’t support 4G. If you only use 3G (or Wifi), it’s a really cool phone to own and one that should last you for a while before Google drops support for 32-bits devices.

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