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Author Warning against Xperia Neo
mr_lou
T68i mineral
Joined: Nov 14, 2002
Posts: 403
From: Denmark
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Posted: 2011-06-22 12:24
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I feel I should post this, since I've now spent way too much time, energy and money on this issue. So maybe you can avoid doing the same, by reading this post.

When the Arc came along I could easily see that its features were exactly what I'd been looking for. Unfortunately it was too big for my liking, so I was happy to hear about the Neo.
The Neo is described as a "smaller version of the Arc". Everywhere you read online, both devices otherwise have the same hardware specs; 1GHz processor, 8.1MP Exmor R camera, HDMI, Bravia Engine etc. And they're both running the same OS. There's no reason to believe, that Neo should be any different than Arc, except its design and size. And regarding design and size, I definitely prefer the Neo.

So I bought the Neo as soon as it became available in my country, and sadly discovered, that when recording videos, audio volume was only about 60% loud compared to those recorded by an Arc. But since the speaker-microphone in that Neo seemed to be defect, I assumed that maybe that was the problem with the backside microphone as well.
So I returned it and bought another Neo in another shop, but the result was the same: Audio in video-recordings were only about 60% as loud as those done by an Arc.

I got a hold of Sony Ericsson Xperia support, to ask if it really was supposed to be like that. Their reply: "That's a good question. We actually don't know. But let's test. We happen to have an Arc and a Neo here. Hang on".
So they tested on their Arc and Neo while I was on the phone, and afterwards they could confirm that their Neo also did the same. And they even found the cause why:

When recording a video with the Arc, it utilizes both its microphones to record the audio.
When recording a video with the Neo, it utilizes only one of its microphones to record the audio.

I simply can't believe it's supposed to be like that. The more I've thought about it, the more I'm sure it's a production flaw. One that'll probably be hard for Sony Ericsson to admit.
I know there'll be people defending Sony Ericsson no matter what, and claim something silly like "You can't expect the same from a cheaper phone". Give it a rest, and use your head before posting sillyness like that.

1) Both devices have 2 microphones
2) When Neo uses only 1, audio is only about 60% of what it is on the Arc
3) Would you really claim that it has made production cost cheaper to only use one of the microphones?

I'm very disappointed about this, since I'd been looking forward to the Neo for a looong time. In fact, I've been waiting for the Neo since my W800. (Although my Aino is a decent substitute for the W800). And now I'm struggling with the shop to get my money back.

So there you have it. If video-recording is important for you, avoid the Neo. If you don't care that much about audio volume only being about 60% of what the Arc gives you, then go right ahead. Everything else in the Neo was great. Unfortunately, video-recording is one of the most important features to me.
[ This Message was edited by: mr_lou on 2011-06-22 11:28 ]
io_bg
Vivaz Black
Joined: Jan 09, 2008
Posts: 326
From: Bourgas, Bulgaria
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Posted: 2011-06-22 13:26
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This sounds like a software issue which they could easily fix. And I'm hoping they'll do it...
mr_lou
T68i mineral
Joined: Nov 14, 2002
Posts: 403
From: Denmark
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Posted: 2011-06-22 13:51
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On 2011-06-22 13:26:23, io_bg wrote:
This sounds like a software issue which they could easily fix. And I'm hoping they'll do it...


That would really be sweet if it was possible. But I fear it's a hardware issue.
The first Neo I bought came with Android 2.3 preinstalled. It had the problem then, and after I upgraded to Android 2.3.3
The 2nd Neo I bought came with Android 2.3.3 preinstalled.

So given that the Arc's and Neo's used for testing all ran the same Android version, I don't think it's software related.
xtacy
W995 Black
Joined: Jan 13, 2007
Posts: 117
From: Oman
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Posted: 2011-06-22 15:31
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I think he meant that perhaps it could be coded to enable the second microphone thereby solving the problem.
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kaizerp900
Xperia Arc Silver
Joined: Mar 25, 2004
Posts: 88
From: United Kingdom
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Posted: 2011-06-22 16:17
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I can understand the point you are trying to make but it's not a world ending drawback for many people.

The specs & design of the phone are top notch & more than a match for many phones out there so if you have discovered a minor issue it sounds perfectly possible that it could be corrected via a software update but as I say I do not seem to suffer from this "low audio" issue at all , I had the arc before I had the Neo & couldn't tell difference. I have recorded the same footage with my Neo & my friends Arc & again they sound the same to both of us.

I have used the Neo to record footage at concerts etc... & when played back through either the phone / through tv via hdmi output or through a pc the sound is pretty loud (a little too loud for my liking as bass distorts more than i'd like)
mr_lou
T68i mineral
Joined: Nov 14, 2002
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From: Denmark
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Posted: 2011-06-22 16:38
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On 2011-06-22 16:17:00, kaizerp900 wrote:
I can understand the point you are trying to make but it's not a world ending drawback for many people.


True, I know that a lot of people don't care.


On 2011-06-22 16:17:00, kaizerp900 wrote:
The specs & design of the phone are top notch & more than a match for many phones out there so if you have discovered a minor issue it sounds perfectly possible that it could be corrected via a software update but as I say I do not seem to suffer from this "low audio" issue at all , I had the arc before I had the Neo & couldn't tell difference. I have recorded the same footage with my Neo & my friends Arc & again they sound the same to both of us.


See that puzzles me. And I've also wondered about if there's a difference between series. The Xperia Neo was delayed in my country (twice) because the needed components were difficult to come by, due to the disaster in Japan.
This has led me to wonder, if certain series of the Neo comes with a lesser quality components, which causes this issue.
That way some would have a Neo that does exactly what it's suppose to do: Behave just like the Arc.
While others have this lesser quality version. That would explain why some say there's no problem at all.

Except that I just called Sony Ericsson Xperia support again, and asked if they were sure it wasn't a production flaw. They were very certain that it was definitely not a production flaw. It was just they way they decided to make the Neo. And I asked him if he didn't find that just a little bit illogical, to change the way Neo works compared to the Arc, when they both have 2 microphones that could be used, he just replied: "No, not illogical at all. They're two different models".


On 2011-06-22 16:17:00, kaizerp900 wrote:
I have used the Neo to record footage at concerts etc... & when played back through either the phone / through tv via hdmi output or through a pc the sound is pretty loud (a little too loud for my liking as bass distorts more than i'd like)


I imagine that a concert would probably do that yes.

You say that you have recorded the same footage with your friend's Arc and your Neo and can't hear the difference? Is there any way you can post a link to these recordings? I'd really very much like to see/hear them.
DentyCracker
Sony Xperia Z1
Joined: Jan 10, 2006
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From: Jamaica, WI
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Posted: 2011-06-22 16:58
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I agree with you that it is illogical to use one one mic if two are available. If you plan to store the videos for use elsewhere then boosting the audio volume with a video editing software is probably your only resort. One would hava thought though that for video they'd have ensured that both mics were in use (stereo anyone)
mr_lou
T68i mineral
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From: Denmark
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Posted: 2011-06-22 17:10
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On 2011-06-22 16:58:36, DentyCracker wrote:
I agree with you that it is illogical to use one one mic if two are available. If you plan to store the videos for use elsewhere then boosting the audio volume with a video editing software is probably your only resort.


Yes, I can use a video-editing software to apply an audio-normalize filter. I've done that before with the Vivaz recordings, but it quickly got annoying. I also did it with some Neo recordings to test, and the difference is very clear to hear after applying the audio-normalize filter.
But I expected more from Neo. It makes absolutely no sense at all that Neo gives a much lower audio-volume in video-recordings, than Arc does. Yet, Sony Ericsson Xperia support claims it's makes perfect sense. :-|

I'd really love to check out some footage done by a Neo + an Arc at the same time. Can anyone out there help provide some tests? Does your Neo utilize both its microphones or not when recording video? (Try tapping on each while recording video).

My Neo is back in the box, but as it seems to be impossible to get my money back, I can probably make a few examples as well to show you the difference.

If the Neo's in e.g. USA appears to be fine, maybe we could identify the flawed series.

The two flawed Neo's I've tested have serial number BX902EMD68 and BX902EKJSF. So both starting with BX902E.
mr_lou
T68i mineral
Joined: Nov 14, 2002
Posts: 403
From: Denmark
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Posted: 2011-06-22 17:25
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Looking at the video-samples for both the Neo and the Arc at GSMArena.com, you can also hear the difference.

http://www.gsmarena.com/sony_ericsson_xperia_neo-review-595p6.php
http://www.gsmarena.com/sony_ericsson_xperia_arc-review-584p7.php

Although it's just traffic noise, you can easily hear the Arc records the audio at a much higher volume. It's difficult to appreciate in the examples though, because it's just traffic noise. But when recording people talking in a room, you will definitely appreciate the Arc much more than the Neo.

I can't help but to wonder if the Pro and Mini and Mini Pro and Ray will be as good as Arc, or as bad as Neo. I guess I'll have to go down to the shop and make test recordings with them all, then transfer the files via bluetooth to my Aino, and then go home to find out.
kaizerp900
Xperia Arc Silver
Joined: Mar 25, 2004
Posts: 88
From: United Kingdom
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Posted: 2011-06-22 17:52
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See now to me the sample of the arc recording is far too loud , if anything I personally think it sounds distorted, granted it's only recording traffic but still sounds too loud.

The neo sample sounds a lot more to my liking, at the right sort of level to hear nicely without causing just a mass of noise.

I can only imagine how ear piercing the arc sample would sound through headphones.

I will do another recording with my friends arc & my neo & get them uploaded asap as when we did a recording it was in our office building & to us they sounded the same.

Like you say there could be the very slim chance of a batch of neo's having lower spec components but I personally can't see it being the case.

I think most people will not have any issues with the sound level of the Neo & be over the moon with all the features it is capable of including the 720p video recording.

My Neo is a imported Hong Kong model & I assume to be the very first batch as I ordered it as soon as it was available. maybe just maybe the first batch are better in some way.

The main point i'm trying to make is please (talking to all prospective Neo owners out there) don't let this possible issue put you off getting a Neo as it is an amazing phone.

I urge you to go have a try when it is finally released in your area & make your own mind up.

I have had mine since March & have loved every single minute, in fact i'll go as far to say that this is my favourite Sony Ericsson phone ever.
Mizzle
Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Joined: Oct 06, 2006
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Posted: 2011-06-22 18:01
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Just tried it out. Wasn't too sure about the mic on the back in the first test, but it's definitely active in the second.
mr_lou
T68i mineral
Joined: Nov 14, 2002
Posts: 403
From: Denmark
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Posted: 2011-06-22 19:37
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On 2011-06-22 17:52:58, kaizerp900 wrote:
See now to me the sample of the arc recording is far too loud , if anything I personally think it sounds distorted, granted it's only recording traffic but still sounds too loud.

The neo sample sounds a lot more to my liking, at the right sort of level to hear nicely without causing just a mass of noise.


I agree that on those exact samples at GSMArena.com, it sounds terrible on the Arc example, but it isn't the best example to use either.
I have an example where the sound from the Arc recording is clear and crisp, and when playing the recording from the Neo, volume has to be turned up before being able to hear what people say.


On 2011-06-22 17:52:58, kaizerp900 wrote:
I will do another recording with my friends arc & my neo & get them uploaded asap as when we did a recording it was in our office building & to us they sounded the same.


Looking forward to that. Meanwhile, I'm pondering about putting together an mp3 demonstrating the audio by different devices.
I did 3 tests, comparing Neo with Aino, N82 and Arc. Both Aino, N82 and Arc had about the same volume, while Neo's volume was much lower. Only Vivaz comes lower.
mode
Sony Xperia Z1
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Posted: 2011-06-22 19:45
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Most probably a software issue rather than hardware, they probably haven't noticed it or didn't think too much of it. I'm sure SE would look into it if you made enough noise
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Bonovox
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Posted: 2011-06-22 19:55
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From what I read in reviews even though the Neo is the same spec wise as the Arc. Reviews have said that the screen is worse & even the camera. But yes that does sound like a software issue. I would perhaps wait & email cos believe it or not they do listen. Cos I emailed them once asking about the poor volume in the x10 earpiece. In the last x10 update said that it will enhance earpiece audio. I am not sure if it has but it shows they took what I said on board. So if you mail it to them they will hopefully fix it in an update.
Phone?? What phone??
mr_lou
T68i mineral
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Posted: 2011-06-22 20:51
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Video demonstrating audio-differences:
http://dewfall.dk/compare.mp4
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