Neo N003 Review: Is it worth the wait?

Neo N003

The Neo N003 is a smartphone of the latest generation that is preparing to enter the Chinese market in the short term. It has an impressive range of features.

Neo N003 Background

The story of Neo N003 began in the first months of the year with some rumors about a 5-inch quad-core smartphone with Full-HD 1920 x 1080 resolution that would only cost 130 dollars (about 100 euros!). This price was not a rumor but rather a simple hypothesis, however Neo has actually given us what it promised in terms of specifications and placing on the market.

The last few months passed, to be honest, with very little news about the Neo N003 but then the official news came that the processor would be updated to the 6589 Ghz Mediatek M1,5T; this could have represented excellent news, even if in all the time that Neo had spent in the development of his device, the competition (iOcean, UMi, FAEA, Zopo and others ...) had already established itself on the market and its devices were easily available.

Neo N003 features

Being the last to arrive on the market does not necessarily represent a negative note and moreover the time taken by Neo has given rise to a smartphone with features and functionality that we would like to see on board any terminal of the current generation.

Neo N003
As mentioned earlier, the Neo had upgraded the processor using the Mediatek M6589T from 1,5 Ghz, to which is added an interesting possibility, that of choosing between two versions with 1 or 2 GB of RAM, and other level specifications such as rear camera from 13 mega-pixel, 3 mega-pixel front camera, a 5-inch display with XhaumX 1920 1080 resolution in tempered Ashahi glass, Yamaha audio chips, dual-SIM support, OTG, MHL, 3000mAh battery and Android JB 4.2 as an operating system.
An impressive package of features from Neo N003; is it coming too late to compete with rivals?

Neo N003 specifications

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Neo N003 Video Unboxing

Neo N003 Review
Design - Not incredible, but still one of the best designed phones
From what has been leaked from the first spy photos and from the first hands-on videos, our subjective opinion is not totally positive. When the smartphone arrived for the test, we did not expect the sensations to be different from the pre - unboxing ones.

Neo vs XiaomiThe color combination does not drive us crazy; we would have preferred that Neo had decided for a black alloy outline rather than silver, used to obtain the classic "panda" effect, as already chosen by the competition (Jiayu G4 and Xiaomi products for example)

Neo vs Xiaomi

Silver and black together make us think of the old 3GS iPhone, which today is a rather old-fashioned device, and we do not appreciate the fact that a company like Neo looks back.

Therefore, on our hypothetical list of terminals, the Neo N003 in terms of design would place not in the very first positions, despite construction quality and finish, very important features in which Neo N003 well figures!

The Neo is more robust than its own band of Zopo house, but not as rigid as Jiayu G4 or a smartphone of Xiaomi.
The body of the device is slightly flexible but we think that in order to break it down, you should be quite corpulent.

Neo N003 plastic
The plastics used to make the rear pastes are of high quality and allow easy removal and reposition of the panel but do not think it is something fragile.

The production quality is impeccable. The imperfections are minimal and honestly everything adheres to perfection.

Taking a wider look at the Neo N003, we find the command and control buttons placed in their classic positions, backlighting buttons, 3 mega-pixel front camera above the display, proximity and light sensors (including a light notification LEDs) that form the front.

neo N003

The right side houses the power button that also has the function of locking and unlocking the display.

Neo N003On the left side we find the volume management that is easy to access with the index finger, for the right-handed, or with the thumb, for the left-handed.

Neo N003

On the back, however, it is easy to notice the slight protrusion of the 13 mega-pixel camera, whose lens is protected by an alloy ring under which an LED flash is placed; you can also see the logo of the parent company, you can see an interesting rear speaker and you can read a curious slogan "With Neo Team Sense", which frankly we did not understand the meaning.

Neo n003
Everything is positioned where you would expect to find it, except for the micro USB space located at the top next to the 3.5 mm jack for the earphones, rather than at the bottom.
Overall, the Neo N003 is not the best Android smartphone from an aesthetic point of view but it still ranks in front of many terminals for quality of materials and grip.

Neo N003 Display - What you expect from a Full-HD

Neo N003 display

Like many of its rivals, the Neo N003 also features a 5 inch display with Full-HD 1920 x 1080 resolution. If you expect a beautiful and clear image, you will not be disappointed. If you have ever tested the quality of a 5 Full-HD inch on UMI X2, FAEFA F2 or iOcean X7, know exactly the display quality of the new N003.

Neo N003
At the time of testing the weather conditions were particularly favorable for his trial under "stress"; with the screen in its brightest configuration, the Neo responds optimally even in the strongest light situations.
In terms of color, brightness and display it has nothing to envy to rivals such as Zopo ZP980 and Zopo C2, but for sensitivity to touch, responsiveness and precision, the N003 proves superior to the Zopo terminals.

Neo N003 Performance - Gained from the version with 1 GB of RAM, but the gamers will need something more

Just as the Neo Advanced with 2GB of RAM was not yet available when we received the smartphone for review, again the version sent is that from 1GB. The "base" Neo N003 is similar to the Neo Advanced with only 1GB of RAM and 4GB of internal memory.
Despite proving to be quite reactive in many situations, it has some noteworthy lag especially in switching from one screen to another; this delay is easily visible in the home and in the app selection, but it seems to affect only these areas and in fact the scrolling of the apps is good.

UPDATE: At Evgenij's request we tried to install Nova Launcher to see if the lag persisted; With the Nova launcher installed, the Neo N003 proves to be free of lag and is much more responsive when scrolling on the home.
With only 1GB of RAM, the start of games can take some time, but once the app is running, performance is acceptable.
In the video below we test the Rip Tide GP2. The N003 handles the gameplay very well, but if you pay more attention to the effects of water, speeding up etc, it does not seem that the Neo N003 base can handle everything like a smartphone equipped with 2 GB of RAM; this particular does not ruin the gameplay but it is something to be aware of if you were to buy the basic version.

Benchmarking results are not actually a correct way to evaluate devices, but they are a useful tool and provide solid results for possibly making comparisons.

Antutu benchmark Nwo N003

With the 3.4 version of Antutu, the Neo N003 with 1 GB scores 13,323.

Neo N003 Vellamo

The results of Vellamo are as follows, HTML5: 1544 and Metal: 488

Neo N003

When performing these benchmark tests and during gameplay, some heat is generated on the back of the device just below the left side of the rear camera. The increase in temperature is particularly noticeable during game play or benchmarking such as Epic Citadel, where the Neo N003 has totaled an FPS average of 45,7.

Neo N003

The Nenamark 2 FPS test yielded a result of 34.1 fps.

Neo N003

Finally we tested the 3D Mark for the most avid gamers, who might consider buying the Neo N003; for Ice Storm Extreme the result is 1847 while for the Ice Storm regular the result was 3597.

In summary, the basic version of N003 is good for most users, but if you are a user who hate the lag and want a faster loading of the app, it would be wiser, in our view, opt for the version with 2 GB of RAM.

Camera quality - Great photos, great videos!

Neo N003 photo
Most Chinese smartphones equipped with Mediatek M6589T processor offer similar hardware and in this the N003 does not look bad with its 13 mega-pixel rear camera but the front one is, so to speak, a "simple" 3 mega-pixel . For us 3 mega-pixels are more than enough to make video calls with Skype, and since we don't have to take self-portraits, that's pretty good.
The back room is the one that most interests us, would be able to make great shots in a fraction of a second? Sharpness and precision could be a problem? would the images be faded with an excessive white balance?
Below, here's a selection of photos taken with the N003 on bright sunny days and even during the night. As usual it is possible download the full-size original images here.

Neo N003



I was really entranced by the quality of the images that the Neo N003 manages to capture. The colors are fantastic, the sharpness is perfect and the focus is impeccable.

Neo N003

At the beginning of this year, to make some nice photos at the Qingdao Auto-show, I used the UMI X2 and the Jiayu G4, but if the N003 had been available then my requirement would have been satisfied in full and in a hypothetical race between the three, the Neo device would certainly have the best. The N003 not only makes incredible photos, this terminal is able to focus, take photos and save them in no time; so to speak, if I took a picture of my son while driving his scooter, the result would certainly exceed my expectations!

Neo N003 night photos

Neo N003 night photos

Even low-light images are well managed.
Overall, therefore, taking pictures with the new N003 (unless the lighting conditions are really poor ..) is a "satisfying" experience, but what about the videos? Also in this case the UMI X2 and the Jiayu G4 had difficulties, suffering from a not perfectly working focus… How will the N003 respond instead?

The video above was made with the highest resolution offered by the device (1920 x 1080) during a sunny day, and as you can see the quality is really good! To be honest, without taking anything away from other devices, we at Gizchina think that this new N003 is currently the best Chinese smartphone in video recording!

Battery life - Great, despite my bad habits!

If you have read any reviews, you will know that my behavior is not oriented towards battery saving .... my smartphone has constantly on WIFI, 3G and GPS and my e-mail accounts send me e-mails as soon as they arrive. Running I often also have QQ and WeChat and to make you better understand what type of use they are, I would also add that I am a great web surfer.

Neo N003 photo
The only measure I take to save the battery is that I keep the display on only when I'm out, and it's off about 50% of the remaining time.

That said, I'm glad of common carvi that the battery life of the N003 is quite impressive but in reality it is not even a surprise, given the thickness of the battery from 3000 mAh.

After a couple of refills, I was able to get to the day with a bit more battery but if you have better habits than mine, you will surely get better results than mine. On the contrary, however, if you are a gamer or otherwise you have the GPS on to run some apps or to use the browser, if you like listening to music with your device ... the result could vary widely!
Connectivity - Perfect, except for the usual bugs with GPS

Neo N003 gps
When you buy an Andorid smartphone you expect WIFI, 3G, GPS and Bluetooth to work perfectly ... Well, in the case of the Neo N003, 3 of the 4 elements mentioned above meet the expectations. As often happens with smartphones equipped with a Mediatek processor, even in this case the GPS was very slow in the first test, and in any case not very fast in the following ones.

Fortunately there are some "tricks" to improve their performance, one of these suggested by Eduardo di; through his advice the GPS problems of the N003 seem solved, the location speed of your device has increased and the accuracy seems to have even improved.

Web browsing with WIFI and 3G is perfectly managed. Personally I use the operator China Unicom WCDMA and I always signal, no matter where I go, even if this is due to the number of antennas in China (during a recent trip to England I could see how much better 3G networks in China! ) ... the call quality is perfect, without any line loss.

Speakers - Good

The beautiful rear speaker is definitely not the most "noisy" we've ever heard in a Chinese smartphone, but it's still enough to cause annoyance to those around you if you played at full blast without earphones, on a bus full of people.
The clarity of the sound is right for a device of this price; it is not remotely comparable to a Meizu device, but it does its job anyway.

Neo N003
I tested the Neo with nu pair of wooden earphones Jiayu (really good!) And the performance was really good. However, these earphones make any sound pleasant and so I could not evaluate the validity of the Yamaha amplifier.

Conclusion - The Neo N003 is the most refined and feature-rich smartphone produced to date!

Neo N003 is a terminal full of features: Full-HD 1920 x 1080 display, quad-core processor, 13 mega-pixe camera ... but rather than a jumble of features, Neo preferred to spend more time developing what is one of devices, with Mediatek on board, the most performing of the year!

Update: It 'sa pity that we have not received the 2GB version of RAM, but if you can resist with the small lag problems, the problem will be solved quickly with the installation of launcher like Nova Launcher. If you are willing to spend a little extra though, we highly recommend the 2GB version of RAM. You will not have to complain!

Neo N003

We tested the Neo N003 for a week as our main smartphone; the only problem was the GPS (solved anyway…) and a strange moment in which the device unexpectedly shut down.

As a Chinese smartphone equipped with a Mediatek chip, to date, it is the best and the only reasons that blocked me for the purchase were the design and the desire to have the most advanced version of Android.

But with such a delayed date on the market, is it still worth buying? According to news leaked from some blogs, the 8 core smartphones will be on sale as early as next January, so reasonableness would lead us not to buy this device to direct us directly on an octa-core, right? Not exactly! The first batch of quad-core this year was a bit poor, with problems of delays and updates of chips that came after a few months ... Who can say that it will not happen the same with these new octa-core?

Neo N003 will be one of the latest devices coming out this year but also one of the most pleasant. If you opt for the 2GB version, it would be a good choice, reinforced by all the avant-garde usable features of this device… at least until the “working” octa-cores will not compete with it!

To answer the question "Was it worth the wait?", The answer is "definitely yes".

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