Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo V - according to Sony Philippines - was one of its more popular handset releases from last year. So I bet they're hoping that the 2012 follow-up to that - sans Ericsson - will do just as well.

Launched alongside the more expensive Sony Xperia ion in an event at the Fort last Wednesday, Sony Xperia Neo L looks almost identical to its predecessor - donning the same soft curves and flaunting a similar glossy finish - only it has a bigger 4-inch display, comes with four hardware buttons in front, and is a tad thinner.

sony xperia neo l
Looks quite cute in the flesh, actually.

But its youthful design aside, what's really hot about this handset is that it's only priced at Php 12,490 - making it one of the more affordable Android handsets by a known brand that runs Ice Cream Sandwich right out of the box. Such price point makes it an ideal device for budget-conscious consumers who want to experience what that recent version of the mobile OS has to deliver.

sony xperia neo l
The phone's out now at authorized Sony Mobile retailers nationwide!

Despite having a modest price tag, Sony Xperia Neo L nonetheless has decent innards and is by no means short in features. The handset is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 single-core processor along with Adreno 205 graphics and has 512 MB RAM for multitasking. Also, as mentioned, the smartphone sports a 4-inch capacitive touchscreen LED-backlit display with 480 × 854 pixels resolution; This screen perfectly complements Sony's very own TimeScape User Interface, which serves as default skin and adds several key features to the ICS operating system.

sony xperia neo l
At the back of the handset, users will find a 5 megapixel camera autofocus camera with LED flash, which also records 720p HD videos. Sony even added a secondary VGA camera in front that can also be used for video calls.

The smartphone comes with 1GB of internal memory storage (only 300 MB of which is available to the user though) that's expandable via microSD card slot which supports up to 32GB. As for connectivity, Sony Xperia Neo L supports Wifi, Bluetooth and 3G, and - just like other more recent Android handsets - can even work as a portable Wifi device.

sony xperia neo l
Another cool feature of this phone is the Sony xLoud audio technology, which promises to deliver an enhanced mobile music experience to audiophiles by improving sound quality and amplifying volume.

sony xperia neo l
Sony Xperia Neo L and Sony Xperia ion, respectively. The latter's SRP is Php 29,990, which is more than twice that of the former. But is ion twice as good as Neo L? Hopefully we can play with both units more extensively soon to know for sure.

TechPinas Smartphone Technical Specs Table (TSTST)
Name Sony Xperia Neo L
Type Slate Form Factor (Full Touchscreen)
Price Category Midrange
Dimensions121 x 61.1 x 12.2 mm
Weight 131.5 grams
Available Colors White, Black
Operating System Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich
Display 4.0 inches (~245 ppi pixel density), 480 x 854 pixels, LED-backlit LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Processor 1 GHz Scorpion Adreno 205 GPU Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon chipset
RAM/ROM 512 MB of RAM
Camera 5 MegaPixels, 2592х1944 pixels, autofocus with LED flash, VGA front camera
Video Capture 720p 30 frames per second
Audio and Video Playback MP4/H.264/WMV/MP3/WMA/WAV/eAAC+ player
Ports microUSB v2.0, 3.5 mm audio jack
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP, EDR, 3G HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps
Network 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, 3G Network HSDPA 900 / 2100
Internal Storage 1 GB (~ 300MB user available), expandable via microSD, supports up to 32GB
Sensors Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity
Battery Li-Ion 1500 mAh
Uptime Standby of up to 575 hours, Talk time of up to around 8 hours, Music play of up to 31 hours
Value-Added Features TimeScape UI, rather large display, xLoud
Announcement In the Philippines: July 2012
Availability July 2012
Price Official SRP: Php 12,490