Update: Neo N003 Review – Has it been worth the wait?

The Neo N003 is one of the last current generation phones to launch in China. It boasts an impressive feature set, and has been in development the longest. So how good is it?

Neo N003 Background

The story of the Neo N003 started way back at the start of the year with rumours of a quad-core phone with 5-inch 1920 x 1080 display that would cost just $130 (799 Yuan). This wasn’t a rumoured price but a figure Neo actually gave to us when we asked and one they used to promote the phone.

Months past with very little in the way of Neo N003 news and then finally we got word that it would launch and it would be updated to a 1.5Ghz MT6589T processor. This could have been great news, but in the time that Neo had spent to develop the N003 rivals from iOcean, UMi, FAEA, Zopo and others had already established themselves on the market and easily available!

Neo N003 features

Being the last on the market isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and what Neo had done with their time developing the phone was to add practically every function and feature we could possible want from a current generation phone!

neo n003 review

As mentioned above they had updated the quad-core chipset to a 1.5Ghz MT6589T processor, there is also an option of either 1GB or 2GB RAM, 13 mega-pixel rear camera, 3 mega-pixel front, 5-inch 1920 x 1080 FHD display, a Yamaha audio chip, Android 4.2, Ashahi tempered glass, dual SIM support, OTG, MHL and a 3000mAh battery!

An impressive package, but does the N003 live up to the hype, or is this phone already to late to compete?

Neo N003 specifications

[komper pid=27,28 compareform=no]

Neo N003 Unboxing Video

Neo N003 Review

Neo N003 design – Not the prettiest, but one of the best made.

I can only give you my personal opinion, and personally I didn’t really like the look of the Neo N003 from what I had seen in leaked photos and early hands on. When our Neo N003 test phone arrived I didn’t really expect to like it in the flesh either.

neo n003 review

I don’t like the mixture of colours. I would have preferred it if Neo had gone for a black alloy surround rather than the silver one to create the popular ‘Panda’ look as seen on the JiaYu G4 and Xiaomi phones.

neo n003 review

The silver and black together make me think of the old iPhone 3GS which is now a rather old-fashioned device, and I don’t like my leading hardware looking vintage from the get go (retro I can handle).

So from a looks perspective the N003 would be quite low on my list of possible phones, however build quality and finish are more important to me and this is where the N003 does very well!

The Neo is sturdier than similar handset from Zopo, but not quite as stiff as the JiaYu G4 or Xiaomi phones. There is a little flex in the body, but I believe you would have to be of ample frame to break the phone by sitting on it.

neo n003 review

The plastics used on the rear the removal rear are very high quality. There is just enough give for the case to snap on and off easily, but is isn’t a thin or flimsy affair we see on many over phones.

Quality of manufacture is spot on too. Gaps are minimal and everything sits snuggly together.

Looking around the phone we find all the usually buttons and controls in the usual places. Back-lit capacative buttons on the chin, 3 mega-pixel front camera above the screen and by proximity and light sensors (there is also an LED notification light), make up the front of the phone.

neo n003 review

The left hand side houses the power button which can also be used to lock and unlock the display.

neo n003 review

Volume rockers are on the left and are in easy reach of an index finger (right-handed operation) or a thumb (for leftys).

neo n003 review

A slightly protruding 13 mega-pixel camera sits on the rear. The lens is protected by an alloy ring, and there is a single LED flash below it. A interestingly styled rear speaker is also present as are the Neo logo, markings for the camera and an odd slogan reading “With Neo Team Sense”, whatever that might mean.

neo n003 review

Everything is where you would normally expect things, except the micro USB which is there for charging, moving files or USB OTG is at the top of the phone rather than the base and sits next to a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Overall, the Neo N003 isn’t the best looking Android phone on the market but it is better made than most with better materials and fit.

Neo N003 display – Just what you expect from 1080p

neo n003 review

Like many of it’s rivals the Neo N003 has a 5-inch display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. With a full 1080 HD display you would expect a pretty crisp picture and you will not be disappointed.

Really if you have seen a 5-inch 1080 display on the UMi X2, FAEA F2 or iOcean X7 you will know exactly how good the display is on the Neo.

neo n003 review

It’s been rather sunny here in so I have been able to test the display in some pretty harsh lighting conditions. With the screen on its brightest settings you can easily use the phone in really sunny conditions.

Colours, brightness and viewing are all on par with rivals such as the Zopo ZP980 and Zopo C2, however for touch sensitivity, responsiveness and accuracy the N003 is better than the current Zopo options, and is very reactive us use.

Neo N003 performance – Surprising for 1GB, gamers will still want more.

As the Neo Advanced with 2GB RAM wasn’t yet available when we received our phone for review we were sent the 1GB RAM phone. The Neo N003 basic is the same phone as the Advanced with with only 4GB memory and 1GB RAM.

Although the Neo does feel quite responsive in most situations there is some notable lag now and then when moving from one screen to another. This is particular notable on the the home screen and in the apps draw, but it seems to only really affect these areas and in app scrolling is good.

Update: At the request of Evgenij I have installed and tested Nova Launcher to see if the lag persists. With Nova launcher installed the Neo is lag free and more more responsive when swiping through the home screen.

With only 1GB RAM launching games can take a little time too, but once things are up and running performance is acceptable.

In the below video we test Rip Tide GP2. The Neo N003 handles the game play very well, but if you take a good look at the water effects, speed blurs etc it doesn’t look to us that the Neo N003 Basic can handle everything which is going on in the screen as fluidly as a phone with more RAM. It doesn’t spoil game play, but it is something to be aware of if you were to buy the Basic option.

Benchmarks aren’t really a fair way to judge a phone, but they are a useful tool and give us some solid number to look at.

neo n003 antutu

In Antutu version 3.4 the Neo N003 basic manages a benchmark score of 13,323.

neo n003 vellamo benchmark

Vellamo scores are as follows. HTML5: 1544. Metal: 488.

neo n003 epic citadel benchmark

While running these benchmarks or playing games a little heat is generated on the rear of the Neo N003 just below the left hand side of the rear facing camera. The increase in temperature is especially notable when gaming or running benchmarks such as Epic Citadel, speaking of which the N003 managed an average FPS of 45.7.

neo n003 nenamark benchmark

Nenamark 2 FPS benchmark gave at top score of 34.1fps.

neo n003 3dgl benchmark

Gizchina News of the week

Finally, we ran 3D mark for you gamers out there who might be considering the an N003 Basic. For Ice Storm Extreme the Neo managed 1847 where as the regular Ice Storm test it faired better with a benchmark of 3597.

In a nut shell the Neo N003 Basic is fine for most users, but if you hate lag and want faster app loading you would be wise to spend the extra on the 2GB RAM Advanced version.

Read Also:  Production on the New Flagship Armor 17 Pro Is Now Being Stepped Up

Camera quality – Great photos, great video!

neo n003 photo sample

Most of the current crop of Chinese MT6589T phones offer very similar hardware, the Neo N003 is no different and has a 13 mega-pixel rear camera but only a 3 mega-pixel front. For us 3 mega-pixel is more than enough for Skype video calls, and as we don’t take any self portraits it is more than enough camera.

The rear camera is what I was most interested in, would it be able to capture great photos at a seconds notice? Would clarity and focus be an issue? Would the images appear washed out with too much white balance?

Below is a selection of photos taken with the N003 on bright sunny days and also during the night. As usual you can download full size untouched images here.

neo n003 photo sample

neo n003 photo sample

neo n003 photo sample

I’m an really happy with the image quality the Neo manages to record. Colours look great, clarity is perfect and focus is spot on.

neo n003 photo sample

Earlier this year I took the UMi X2 and JiaYu G4 for a camera shootout at the Qingdao Auto-show, had the N003 been available at the same time it would have been easily my go to device and a clear winner.

Not only does the Neo get great photos it also manages to focus quickly and capture and save the image in no time. Even taking photos of my children riding their scooters at speed the Neo performed better than I expected!

neo n003 photo sample

neo n003 photo sample

Low light images are also handled well, but the N003 isn’t a phone you would want to use to capture photos of you and your friends hitting up the bars at night. Night or dark in door photos are noisy, and the LED flash is pretty useless unless you only want the very center of the image to by seen.

neo n003 photo sample

So overall taking photos (as long as it isn’t too dark) is a great experience with the Neo N003, but how about video? Again the UMi X2 and JiaYu G4 suffered from the focus which continually adjusted and hunted making any video captured terrible to watch and unusable. So what about video on the N003?

The video above was captured on the phones highest resolution (1920 x 1080) on with and recorded on a sunny day, and as you can see the video is really rather good! In fact I will go as far to say the Neo N003 is the current Chinese MTK phone video champ!

Battery Life – Great, even with my bad habits!

If you have read any phone review I have put together you will know by now that I don’t go out of my way to preserve the power in my phone. I constantly have WIFI, GPS and 3G switched on and my email accounts push messages to me as and when they arrive. I also have either QQ or WeChat running in the background too, that plus I’m a heavy web browser a lot of which is handled over 3G.

neo n003 review

In fact the only power saving measure I have is that the screen is only on full when outside, I turn it down to around %50 for the rest of the time.

So with that in mind I am happy to report the N003 has pretty impressive battery life, which is not really a surprise after seeing the thickness of that 3000mAh battery which rests in side the belly of the phone!

After a few charges and recharges I was able to get the through the day with juice to spare on the N003, but if you do have better habits than I do you will likely get better results.

On the other hand if you are a gamer, use the GPS for running apps or navigation and like to listen to music with the built from your phone, your mileage is going to vary.

Connectivity – Perfect, expect for the usual GPS bugs.

When you buy an Android smartphone you expect, WIFI, 3G, GPS, Bluetooth etc to work right of the box. Well the Neo N003 get’s 3 out of the 4 right. As usual with a Mediatek powered phone the GPS was extremely slow to lock on the first time, and not really that quick in following test.

neo n003 review

Thankfully there are a few tips, one of which was published by Eduardo from GizChina.es. Using Eduardo Mediatek GPS fix solved the slow GPS with the Neo N003 making it much faster to lock on to your location and it also seemed a more accurate too.

Browsing the web over WIFI and 3G are handled flawlessly, and speed of website rendering is really impressive.

I use China Unicom WCDMA on my phones and I always have a signal no matter where I go, but this is due to the number of antennas there are in China (on a recent trip to the UK I noticed how much better the Chinese 3G networks actually are!), and call quality is great with no dropped calls.

Speakers – Good

The cool looking external rear speaker on the rear of the Neo isn’t the loudest we have heard from a Chinese phone, but it is more than enough to make a nuisance of yourself if you were to play games on a bus without earbuds.

Clarity is about right phone a phone of this price. It isn’t as clear and nice to listen to as say a Meizu phone, but again it does the job.

jiayu ear phones

I tested the Neo with a pair of JiaYu Wooden earbuds (which are actually very good) and performance is really great through the 3.5mm headphone jack. The sound from the JiaYu earphones makes anything sound good though so I can’t really comment on how the Yamaha amp improves things.

Conclusion – The most feature packed and polished MTK phone to date!

The Neo N003 is a feature packed phone, OTG, MHL, 1080 display, quad-core processor, 13 mega-pixel camera etc, and rather than just plugging in all the best features and selling the phone, Neo have actually taken the time to develop it in to easily one of the better performing and easy to live with Mediatek phones of the year!

Update: It is a shame we weren’t sent the 2GB RAM version of the Neo N003 so we could see what this phone is really capable of,  but if you can live with the short lag , the lag issue can be fixed by installing an alternate launcher such as Nova Launcher,  and don’t mind the slower app loading times you could just about get away with the basic if you had to get a phone now, if you can spend a little extra then I would go for the 2GB model.

neo n003 review

We tested the N003 over a week and used it as our main phone the only issue we had was the slow GPS (which we fixed) and one odd time the phone decided to just turn off (something which we have been unable to replicate). As Chinese Mediatek phones go I will say that this is the best to date, in fact the only thing which would stop me from buying the N003 is the fact I don’t like the design, and I would want the Advanced version.

But, with the Neo launched so late is this phone still worth buying? According to insider news 8-core phones could be on sale as early as January, so we should skip the N003 and buy one of those right? I would say no. The first batch of quad-core phones this year were a little buggy, all plagued with delays and all received processor updates in a matter of months, what’s to say the same won’t happen next year?

The Neo N003 might be one of the latest phones to launch this year, but it is also the most enjoyable. If you choose to go for the 2GB Neo N003 as your phone it should be more than enough device, with all the functions you could want to last you until the sorted 8-core Mediatek phones launch around this time next year!

To answer the question “Has it been worth the wait?”, the answer is “Most definitely yes!”.

Thanks to ChinaPadMall.com who lent us this Neo N003 Basic for review.

Previous Alcatel introduces 3 new phones including the One Touch Idol Mini
Next Update: Meizu MX3 will launch at 7pm tonight, latest rumours here!


  1. Brian
    September 2, 2013

    Great review Andi! Thanks.

  2. newbie
    September 2, 2013

    great info as ususal. Agree about design. Love Oppo but not price. When N003 advanced be out? Not another 2000 units release, pls!
    possible to list the official website of some leading phone makers eg
    for neo http://www.neomobile.com.cn correct? Umi, fafe, thl
    Maybe a bit off subject:Plan to buy quad, 2gb phone, under 200usd soon.
    seem hard to find better than jiayu g3 or g4? Was thinking of red rice, but only TD-SCDM + 1gb ram. No game, just surfing and normal phone use, 4.5 to 5.7, any suggestions?

    • chris
      September 2, 2013

      hello do you if we can order diriectly from brand website ???? neo or xiaomi or any china phone brand ??? and how ?????

      • EDDY
        September 2, 2013

        Sorry, no, as you know they brand only sale in China.
        you can buy via some retailer online store, such like CHINAPADMALL and others for good price.

        • Newbie
          September 2, 2013

          There are readers who has connection in china to buy and post too!

  3. Steve
    September 2, 2013

    Hello! Could you try another launcher and see if it lags? Thanks for the great review!

    • September 2, 2013

      Just tried Nova Launcher and it is lag free 🙂

      • Steve
        September 2, 2013

        Thank you! That is great! I think that I have found my next phone!

  4. September 2, 2013

    thanks for full review!

  5. Basyvava
    September 2, 2013

    Hey Andy. Thanks for this awesome review, been waiting for this one for a while. You mentioned the JiaYu G4 is a bit stiffer, but which do you reckon comes on top as far as overall build quality goes between the two?

    Talking about that, I’ll be off on a business trip in Guangzhou in a couple of weeks, do you know where I can find a JiaYu shop there to get ahold of a G4? 😀

    Thanks mate

  6. murray
    September 2, 2013

    yeah great review andi,
    got mine last week and am well impressed .took it to 3store in uk and got a new sim for the 3g and guy in shop coudn’t belive how good the phone was,he was sporting the HTC one and he prefered the NEO .Only issue so far is getting a case to fit it. Anyone got any ideas other than China.

  7. Benny
    September 2, 2013

    Andi – Can you please confirm if it is 2100Mhz WCDMA only? Or did they kindly sneak in the 850Mhz spec as well? Thanks.

    • Gianfiore
      September 2, 2013

      Is it supported WCDMA-GSM-900 (engineering menu -> band mode). If yes, it’s the perfect smartphone for me!

  8. September 2, 2013

    The screen is very glossy, reflective. It is not suitable to use it outdoor, in bus, … .

    I do not want it.

    • J
      September 2, 2013

      In review, it is placed next to Xiaomi, but the reflections of N003 are gross.

  9. SYHMS
    September 2, 2013

    Thank you very much Andi for such great review. About chinapadmall, I ordered 3 basic version from them at 26th August but they still didn’t ship it. It is a very fishy behavior for a company who states that they have phones in the stock.

    • September 2, 2013

      that is odd

    • EDDY
      September 2, 2013

      I am EDDY from CHINAPADMALL, thank you very much for your orders, your order will be sent soon this week.
      we are so sorry about late shipping. as you know, the in stock status changes very fast every day, such like we have in stock and sold out and have in stock again in one day, that mean, the stock is not static, we are trying our best to update our in stock status now.
      But we are the one of retailer of NEO who have the authority, we are keeping best stock.

      any further questions feel free to contact us. and hope your kindly understanding.

      As this amazing phone very hot and shot of supply, if any one have interesting in this phone, please place your order as fast as you can to put your orders in good queue.

      • SYHMS
        September 2, 2013

        Hi EDDY,

        Thank you for your explanation. I am waiting my phones very eagerly, please ship them soon.

  10. September 2, 2013

    Can you please confirm that the screen is gorilla glass? That’s very important for me. Thanks.

    • September 2, 2013

      No it isn’t it is Asahi laminated glass

      • September 2, 2013

        Thanks Andi for the reply. What is the difference between Asahi tempered glass and gorilla glass? Is it also scratch resistant?

        • September 2, 2013

          It is a different brand of laminated glass. I’m not sure how it compares to Corning and I have been lucky enough to not have dropped or knocked the Neo while on test.

          • phandroid324
            September 26, 2013

            Far as I’m aware, Asahi only has DragonTrail as a laminated mobile glass solution, in which case, it is as good or better than Gorilla Glass depending on who you talk to. Xperia Z has a a DragonTrail glass on the front (with a not-so-scratch resistant shatterproof film on top) and Gorilla Glass on the back. And both panels are basically on the same level of durability.
            Here’s a wikipedia link : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragontrail

  11. September 2, 2013

    Yeah,my friend bought a mobile phone was neo 003 last week.She often talks about this phone with us.

  12. sandoz
    September 2, 2013

    i assume the gps is still as bad as alle mediatek phones?

    • September 2, 2013

      Yes, as mentioned in the review it is bad unless you use the fix (linked to in the review)

    • Harald
      September 2, 2013

      GPS shit

  13. Harald
    September 2, 2013

    GPS 🙁

  14. Fab
    September 2, 2013

    Does it come with a screen protector applied?

    • September 2, 2013

      The one which I was sent yes

    • September 2, 2013

      according Taobao, it should, although some people complaining about bubbles, so pretty useless

  15. September 2, 2013

    impressive review Andi..the neo n003 does certainly live up to its expectation and even has HDMI…too bad am a heavy gamer and i have seen an mtk6589 without T score 49.6 fps on Nenamark v2..otherwise a great buy.

    Also what happened to the 130$ price mark…the phone is almost double that now?? @ 218$

    • September 2, 2013

      I believe Neo were performing some sneaky marketing…

      • September 4, 2013

        Yes Neo started out low and gradually increased price and specs hand in hand. The early ‘pre-order’ buyers paid the low price mark.

    • September 2, 2013

      the official chinese price is 196USD (1200RMB) so don’t expect anything lower internationally, i saw someone metnioning 199USD which would be amazing price if it’s including international shipping, it would be actually lower than regular chinese price if you take away included shipping

  16. adri
    September 2, 2013

    What are the dimensions ant the weight?

  17. September 2, 2013

    Thanks for the great review andi, however I have one question. In your jiayu review you tested the camera and reported some issues with it (the ones you mentioned here). However since the new updated jiayu g4 released, it supposedly received a new camera for the advanced version, would it be possible to test that against the neo’s camera and still maintain the claim that neo has the best camera around from the current gen phones ?

    • September 2, 2013

      If I can get hold of the Advanced model I will, but the JiaYu S1 is the next phone JiaYu have arranged to send to us

  18. aaa
    September 2, 2013

    Andi can you post a photo comparing this phone and Ji G4 ?
    How much that 0,3” differ both phones?

    • September 2, 2013

      I can do it with the original G4 but not the new Advanced version as I don’t have one

  19. Normdman
    September 2, 2013

    Hi, Andi

    Great review. Could you confirm if 850mhz was included in the specs


    • Normdman
      September 2, 2013

      Woops I meant 3G 850Mhz

  20. Gianfiore
    September 2, 2013

    Is it supported WCDMA-GSM-900 (engineering menu -> band mode)?
    If yes, it’s the perfect smartphone for me!

    • EDDY
      September 2, 2013

      Yes, the band post in “CHINAPADMALL” as bellow:
      Band 2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz 3G: WCDMA 2100MHz

    • September 2, 2013

      I’m going to check this out.

      • ZecaMarol
        September 2, 2013

        Do I get enable 850MHz?

      • Ben Liu (@bchliu)
        September 3, 2013

        Thanks Andi.. Let us know.. 🙂

      • Ven007
        September 6, 2013

        Does it support WCDMA 850MHz?

      • Mike
        September 8, 2013

        Strange that this rather important and easy to verify question wasn’t answered till now??

  21. September 2, 2013

    Great review Andi, I do not know whether its worth to waited for Neo n003 but certainly worth to waited for your review.

    As I was about to trigger the button on Neo n003, but certain details disappointed me. As you said, looks does not matter to me either, but sad to know it lags in home screen, app launcher !!!

    If I’ll ask you to buy a android phone from China with $250USD, which phone you will buy with the priority given below (1=High, 5=Less)

    1. great build quality
    2. n/w signal
    3. sound
    4. imaging
    5. gaming

    (do not consider heavy gaming as we are buying a phone not a xbox).

    Thank you.

    • September 2, 2013

      We’ll I ‘ve tested the Neo N003 with Nova Launcher and the lag is gone (it’s a simple download from that Play store).
      I’m about to test the Newman K2 (have a prototype here) and the FAEA F2, perhaps these will offer what you want?

      • September 2, 2013

        Thank you Andi.

        Should I wait for the Xiaomi RedRice WCDMA version ?I’m sure the build quality will be way better than Neo or any other with less price tag ???

  22. September 2, 2013

    Hi Andi! Great info, probably the best review you did. 🙂
    I would agree with you on the design, and this is why I’ll probably go with the JiaYu G4 instead. Also, just for the sake of it, how good is the battery life? You mention it is pretty good… can you give us the screen on time?
    Also, I saw in a comment posted by you that JiaYu have arranged an S1 for gizchina, which is super interesting…

    • September 2, 2013

      according taobao review 5.5 hours watching movie eat 80% battery with ~55% brightness, generally people talking about 2 days battery life

      • September 3, 2013

        5.5 hours sounds real good. I wonder what the JiaYu G4 does.

        • September 4, 2013

          Yash3339: Are you going to buy this or anything else. I was waiting for this but it did not come upto mark.

  23. Shaunuss
    September 2, 2013

    Andi you keep listing the Micro SD card can go up to 32gb, I’m pretty sure it can take up to 64gb. If you look at the images on the neo mobiles page:


    And look at the spec list at the bottom, it says SD (bunch of chinese writing) 64GB.

    Can you check that out and please clarify? Cheers

    • Shaunuss
      September 4, 2013

      Did you see this message bro? I’m still wondering about this!

  24. Jhon
    September 2, 2013

    Hey… maybe a noob question:
    but it is possible to use mhl and otg at the same time?

    September 2, 2013

    No, as the phone have one out put port only.

    • ZecaMarol
      September 2, 2013

      Will we have NFC in the advanced version NEO?

        September 2, 2013

        Sorry, No

  26. Gianfiore
    September 2, 2013

    A suggestion: THL W200 for 179 $ or Neo N003 for 199 $?

    • Newbie
      September 2, 2013

      Are these price per chinese official site? Could not find pricing on n003 advance official chinese price?

      • Gianfiore
        September 2, 2013

        Who has told about N003 advanced?
        This price (from mixeshop site) is referred to basic version

  27. rryba
    September 2, 2013

    zopo c2 platinum or iocean x7 plus or neo n003 to ~250 $ ?

  28. September 2, 2013

    What a joke,
    almost a year waiting for this phone, and finally this is what we get? a laggy, fragile phone? I guess I won’t be buying this soon..
    Neo you should really fix that for making us wait so long and giving us such a bad result.

    • September 2, 2013

      Fragile? The lag is in the launcher, Nova launcher fixes that

      • September 3, 2013

        Andy, I think the phone you got is defected, because someone reviewed this phone in my country and he said that he was surprised to see your video because he said he does not have this lag

        • September 3, 2013

          Strange because the Newman K2 with the same specs (other than screen size) has the same lag. It is just the launcher, changing to Nova launcher fixed it.

          • September 3, 2013

            That’s weird, I’ll ask him again, but I don’t like launchers..
            I waited so much for this phone and this lag really disappointed me, maybe you have a connection to someone from Neo company and you could ask them to release a fix to this lag?
            Those companies can freak me out, more than 6 months working on it, and no one there noticed that lag? Who is working in these companies? So many rivals they have and still they release these low quality devices, they really want profits?
            *btw, by fragile I meant that it does not have Gorilla/DragonTrail glass

            • Shaunuss
              September 4, 2013

              Fragile? I take it you missed the video of someone taking to the screen with a friggin electric drill? The phone isn’t fragile. But on that note, it isn’t a rugby ball either so take some care and don’t throw around your brand new late model expensive cellphone and chances are you probably won’t break it.

              *golf clap*

      • September 4, 2013

        Andi I think you should remove the section of the review with lag, because I think your phone is defected, it seems only your device is suffering from that lag.
        Tell ChinaPadMall not to send you defected phones. I don’t trust them anymore after they kept telling me it has Gorilla Glass although you can clearly see it is AGC.

  29. junior_poa
    September 2, 2013

    From Brazil i say:

    “In Chinapadmall i trust and recommend!!”

    Best review Andi! Tks

  30. geo
    September 2, 2013

    Thank you Andi for the excelent work
    its so difficult to decide
    but Google made it easy Nexus 4 at 249usd 2 16 nfc
    mY GUESS IS EITHER THEY LOwer their prices or loose

  31. September 2, 2013

    just want to let you know guys that official chinese price for Neo N003 is 1200RMB (instead of promised 800RMB), so you should not expect anything lower than 196USD since that’s chinese price + add international shipping fees

    I went through Chinese reviews of people who bought it (only couple hundred pieces in all Taobao shops) and it seems they have problems with gaps, preinstalled apps eating too much RAM (only 20-25% available!), 1.7GB available ROM space, GPS slow, light leakage (common complaint), front camera maybe bad angle, according official website people are reporting insensitive touch screen

    I would be curious about actual HDMI output performance

    personally I think for US customers is this phone shit, if I can choose Nexus4 with 8GB for 199USD or this phone for same or even higher price (Chinese price 196USD+postal fees to US) I would have clear choice

    • September 2, 2013

      I’ve founded on Aliexpress.com from few sellers for 207-210USD including free shipping to US/EU, Chinapadmall 219USD

    • September 4, 2013


      Can you please confirm what Markoff is saying like light leakage, less ram/rom etc ??? Then its really a piece of shit.

      • September 4, 2013

        Light leakage- non
        Preinstalled apps eating RAM – nope
        ROM space isn’t much on the basic as there is only 4GB to play with.
        800 Yuan was the rumoured price, they never did launch it at that price.
        If you are in the U.S then you want to check it will work with your carrier, EU readers should be fine.

        @Beginner007 take a look at other comments here from people who have the phone, overall people are happy with it.

  32. Bartman
    September 3, 2013

    I don’t understand why the Mlais MX58 has a great GPS reception out of the box (no fixes necessary) but most of the other MTK-phones I read about require intensive fixing and tweaking before they become useful.

    I wished for the Neo N003 battery in the Mlais phone. The Corning Glass screen is excellent on the Mlais, but the tiny 2500 mAh battery is too tiny to be 2500 mAh in capacity compared to similar offerings in weight, thickness and size.

  33. Allanitomwesh
    September 3, 2013

    Very nice review Andi.Hopefully resellers price the advanced version better than JiaYu G4

  34. aldo
    September 3, 2013

    Some sites gives ready to sell advanced version for the 5 of september… it’s so strange mybe can be true but…

  35. Brent
    September 3, 2013

    How does RAM affect loading times and game performance? I don’t know why nobody pointed it out yet, but these things are primarily cpu and gpu intensive. The reason why all mediatek phones have a poor gaming performance is because they only use 1 gpu core instead of 3-4 in most other mainstream phones.

    To my knowledge RAM is used to store background data or apps, which means you can multitask more. The amount of RAM has nothing to do with load times or how fast games run!
    Unless the RAM is faster, I don’t see how a hardcore gamer should must-buy the advanced version.

    The rest of the review was very impressive and helpful though! Thanks!

    • September 4, 2013


      I may be wrog, but afaik OS loads the whole program(binary game) into the RAM. If RAM is exhausted and there is not much space left for the new application then OS uses the virtual memory from the secondary memory, which is a slow process.

      So, RAM certainly has a vital roal to play for the loading performance of the application along with the CPU. GPU comes into play during the game. But for loading a program both CPU and RAM have the critical role.

      • Brent
        September 4, 2013

        It works this way with a pc or laptop, not on android. In android when an application needs more RAM storage it closes background applications that took too much memory. It’s almost impossible to run out of storage this way.
        When an application is already open in the RAM storage, yes it loads faster because it doesn’t have to startup anymore.

        RAM has nothing to do with game performance because most games don’t take up the full amount of memory. When I play the same game on my tablet with only 512MB it runs smoothly too. So it really must be the gpu in the Neo, since RAM is not the bottleneck at all.

  36. September 4, 2013

    Thanks for the review. As a phone for daily use I love it.

    Only got 2 comments
    1 – That bezel make it look like and iPhone 3G.
    I like old-school. But this looks out-dated.

    2- The finishing of the bezel @%$#. If you look carefully at the corners you can see ‘hairlines’. I first thought it was cracked, but close inspection showed it on all 4 corners. They didn’t finish the mold very well they use to make the bezel. Sloppy at least.

    If only it was easy to remove the bezel and give it a different color… SIGH…

  37. Smyl3
    September 4, 2013

    The game wasn’t fluid. I’m wondering the detailed ingame video settings about that performance.

  38. Mitsos21
    September 4, 2013

    What’s the weight of this phone?(including battery)

  39. Shaunuss
    September 4, 2013

    I’m not having much luck with this am I?

    Andi hasn’t looked at my question, even with a reminder.

    Chinapadmall have not responded to my enquiry with them, even with a follow up reminder.

    I have the money right here and my credit card ready to go to buy this phone! But at this rate, I might have to find a supplier that, y’know, actually bothers to respond to their customers!

    • September 4, 2013

      I’ll look in to it

      • Shaunuss
        September 5, 2013

        Thanks man!

    • October 14, 2013

      Chinapadmall deceives with fake tracking codes. After 42 days passed and no REAL information given, I opened a Paypal dispute to get my money back.

  40. September 6, 2013

    Thanks for that great review! I just bought it and I’m waiting for it 🙂
    mostly because of your review

  41. chukumaru
    September 6, 2013

    Please Andy i will like to know if the Neo n003 advanced has been launched. Today is indeed the 6th of August and i preordered one.

  42. George
    September 7, 2013

    This is from TTMALLS.COM: NEO 003 2GB+32GB in stock now !!! Next monday we will arrange N003 sent , please pay the rest of payments for N003 !!!!!!We will start shipping in proper order one by one !!!

    I purchased one yesterday, have no patience 😀

    • September 8, 2013

      i hope my supplier has gotten his hands on some
      i just cant wait to have my hands on one.

  43. September 8, 2013

    Andi, is it comfirmed. Advanced version out now?

  44. September 9, 2013

    Yes it is. My Neo N003 advanced has been shipped. I guess am among the first 3000 owners of the phone.

  45. SG
    September 12, 2013

    Can we expect Android version updates for this phone,
    Also who is the manufacturer and is there a website

  46. September 12, 2013

    Got one , this phone just super!!

    • maskoko
      September 13, 2013

      @guy: do your neo pre-rooted?

  47. Niall
    September 15, 2013

    Like the look of this phone been searching for one for ages. Andy would you consider this to have one the better cameras of phones of similar spec. A good camera is the main draw for me,if not the Neo what would you recommend.


  48. Ben
    September 16, 2013

    I have found the phone on 1949deal.com for $188 USD including free shipping . What a Deal!! http://www.1949deal.com/neo-n003-smart-phone-mtk6589t-quad-core-1-5ghz-android-4-2-ram-1gb-rom-4gb-5-0-inch-screen-white-color-1920-1080.html

    Unfortunately it’s too late for me I’m waiting for my Faea F2 to ariive with a measly 1.2Ghz and 2400mah battery for $199.

    You can’t win all the time.

    • September 16, 2013

      I buy a phone from them last week , the seller don’t show today on skype , so you all better wait ,until I tell you she gave me the shipment ID.

      • Dacs47
        September 16, 2013

        Hi there ! Do you have any news about your order of Neo from that seller ? I am interested, very good price. Please post here about this. Thank you !

        • September 16, 2013

          I will post , mean while it’s only 8:15 in china , they start working usually at 9:00, I will post if there any news.

          • September 17, 2013

            She is just online right now and told me she’s sorry and she was at day off yesterday ,and today she will send it.

            • September 17, 2013

              She still don’t send it , and avoiding me ,,she’s offline

  49. September 18, 2013

    I’ve got a tracking number hope everything is OK.

    • Dacs47
      September 23, 2013

      Good luck ! Keep me posted !
      How long since you paid and till they sent it ?

  50. Larry
    September 20, 2013

    Hi Andi,

    Thank you for the review. I placed my order yesterday. Neo should pay you a commission, since your review was what caused me to buy it 🙂

    Do you know if this phone will receive automatic firmware updates? Would you also know if this phone will receive Android updates?

    Thanks again!


  51. Georgi Nikolov
    September 22, 2013

    Official Neo N003 forum with weekly updates.


    • Larry
      September 23, 2013

      Thanks Georgi! are these updates updated automatically or do you need to flash them?


      • Georgi Nikolov
        September 23, 2013

        These are weekly updates .zip for flashing through CWM recovery.

        • Georgi Nikolov
          September 23, 2013


  52. Georgi Nikolov
    September 23, 2013
    • Larry
      September 23, 2013

      Thanks! 🙂

    • Larry
      October 16, 2013

      I’m not having any luck downloading new rom . I’m using recovery tool and when I choose to update from zip file from sd, I receive a error that installation aborted.

      I tried this with two different roms.

      Any suggestions?


  53. alan
    September 28, 2013

    Hi andi, if you had to choose between the G4 advanced or the neo n003 advanced, which would you choose and why? im really torn between the 2 :/

    • September 28, 2013

      Both are very good but I prefer the G4. The Neo is very good but I just feel the G4 is better finished. That said though the N003 does have a larger higher res screen.

  54. Alan
    September 29, 2013

    can you explain what you mean by better finished Andi? I went ahead and ordered the Neo due to it having OTG and MHL support, a higher res screen, a better camera (according to your review) and illuminated buttons. Do you mean you would choose the G4 over the Neo soley for its appearance?

  55. normdman
    September 29, 2013


    My 4GB Neo arrived last week but I noticed that the wifi mac address keeps on changing every time WIFI is is switch off/on or when phone is restarted. Has anyone else experienced this. It would be great If you know of a fix. My works router filters by mac address and I don’t want to register my phone every time my address changes.

  56. Yann
    September 30, 2013

    I got my n003 advanced (2GB/32GB version) in the mail a few days ago and notice the same lag reported in the review. After a short investigation I noticed the launcher version is 4.1.9 while android version and the rest of core apps are 4.2.1.
    Could this be the reason for lag? Can someone with a different phone using android 4.2.1 check their version?
    If this is not normal, then I suppose replacing launcher apk with the correct version should fix the lag issue.

  57. phandroid324
    September 30, 2013

    I’m really surprised by the glare in the outdoor screenshots, does a Display being OGS also mean that it has zero air-gap in the display structure? Far as I’m aware a zero air-gap display is supposed to appear to be completely black indoors, and fairly good outdoors (when off, appearing a bit grey, like iphone 5 or Xperia Z).
    Does the Neo n003 have an air-gap then?

  58. Shaunuss
    October 2, 2013

    My Neo advanced finally arrived. Nice phone, I’m pretty happy with it. Mine also has that slight lag on the home screen, but none in the apps menu. Replaced with nova launcher.

    I thought these were rooted from the factory, but titanium backup can’t get access to root. GNNN!! >_<

    • Yann
      October 2, 2013

      Mine came rooted (with both supersu and superuser. Had to remove the later as it was spewing messages in Chinese all the time -_-“).
      If you decide to flash a rooted rom, be very careful as there are now two incompatible versions of the phone motherboard: E02 (manufactured before September 22 – some say September 30 – and V1.0 built after). V1.0 supposedly includes NFC chip, though non functional yet. Anyway, go to settings > about phone > build number to find out which version you have.

      • Shaunuss
        October 4, 2013

        Mine’s the E02 version. SuperSU doesn’t work for me, it says it needs an updated binary, and when I choose the normal way to update it, it fails. If I try the other way and reboot, it comes up with a dead android and a text menu.

        I need root access for some of my apps, any ideas?

        • Yann
          October 4, 2013

          I guess you could try flashing latest stock rom. It’s rooted from the start, so I can only suppose your reseller somehow did something to remove root access.
          This is the latest official rom for E02 advanced: http://pan.baidu.com/s/1iPDp2

          • Shaunuss
            October 5, 2013

            Thanks for your reply. I spent last night trying everything to update SuperSU, including using ADB to access the phone via shell and remounting the root and system partitions as read/write, and update still wouldn’t work. Then I replaced the superuser.apk file in the /system/app directory with the updated one and also deleted dalvik cache and restarted, STILL wouldn’t work. I’ve tried so much stuff short of actually flashing a rom on to there, and I didn’t want to do that because I don’t want to lose the apps and customisations I’ve set up.

            Thanks for the link! btw are you having problems with the gallery disappearing until you unmount and remount the large partition? And is your ~26 gigs of free space mounted as an “SD card” that isn’t recognized by some apps? Any ideas how to sort that one out?

            • Yann
              October 8, 2013

              You can try the recovery package of supersu http://download.chainfire.eu/351/SuperSU
              You boot into recovery then use this .zip as an “update”. As it comes with it’s own su binary and the update script will take care of setting required permissions, it should fix your root issue. Granted i’m not 100% sure stock recovery can flash this (i’m using CWM myself).
              I didn’t notice any issue with gallery (maybe I’ve yet to hit the bug – so far so good). My partitions are “device memory”, “phone storage” and “sd card”. “Device memory” is ~1.8GB partition where apps are partly installed, “Phone storage” is the 26GB internal mem, and “sd card” is, well, sd card in the slot. You need to flash the latest rom to fix the mixed up naming.

  59. Steve
    October 3, 2013

    I just got one Neo N003 but the manuals are in Chinese and I have searched online for the English version but could not get any.

    Where can I get/download English version please? I

    • Yann
      October 8, 2013

      You won’t find any cause there’s none to find. Those phones aren’t meant to be sold and supported outside of Chinese market.

      • Steve
        October 14, 2013

        Thanks Yann.

        I am working my way around it.

  60. leo
    October 9, 2013

    i got neo basic.

    but the phone cannot play asphalt 8 1.0.1, after me open the games, on under 30 second, the games force close.

    my version rom T13, Micro SDHC 16 Gb Class 10 600x (90 Mb/s)

    1. can anyone got the same problem ?

    2. what the solution ?

    3. can anyone who have advanced version, share the ROM 32 Gb speed benchmarch (A1 SD bench or SD Tools)

    4. can this phone got J.B 4.2.2 ?

    thanks you very much

  61. Larry
    October 16, 2013

    Got my Neo N003 Advanced and had it for a few days. Nice screen, large battery capacity.

    Fixing the GPS issue was fairly easy. Known MTK – Endomondao compatibility issue. The issue needs to be addressed by Endomondo.

    Native Android email crashes when opening emails. Saw in Neo Forum that this issue was addressed and fixed and there’s a rom update (in the meantime I’m using k-9).

    I purchased a pair of Jiayu g4 ear buds which needed a plug adapter. Great sound as Andi mentioned.

    Wish that there were more available roms and that Neo had better English language resources and automatic updates.

    • October 16, 2013

      Great! Glad you like your Neo!

  62. Oktay Dogmus
    October 17, 2013

    Is top with metal frame

  63. Shaunuss
    October 22, 2013

    I’m loving mine.fixed the issues by flashing English twrp recovery on it and updated to latest Rom. Phone is awesome as! Cheers for your objective review Andi, as it helped me make up my mind to buy it, and I’m happy with it. Gizchina ftw!

  64. maskoko
    October 23, 2013

    @Shaunuss: Did you fix the supersu update problem? how did you do it? I got the same problem here with my neo n003 premium. My other problem is I can’t use titanium backup. It said that my phone is not rooted, which is not true, since it is pre-rooted. BTW, I’m with N02 version. Any help, thanks in advance.

  65. Jose Amarildo
    October 30, 2013


    Does the Neo N003 Advanced have NFC and DLNA?

    • October 30, 2013

      There is a rumour that a new model with NFC will launch. The current model doesn’t

  66. HL
    October 31, 2013

    Hi Andi, bought two NEO N003 Advanced from Aliexpress However, I have many issues with both phones.

    On both phones,
    1. the volume when using headphone is very soft and hollow when listening to music. Did a test on headphone with mic and call answer button. realised that when the call answer button is pressed and hold, the volume is loud and clear. When released, the volume becomes hollow and soft again. Although the functionality of the button on the headphone is supposed to paused/resumed the music. Did a couple of tests with other headphones with mic and it’s yield the same results.

    2. The default email app keep crashing with the pop up message ‘Unfortunately, Email has stopped.”

    3. on one of the phone. there was LCD backlight bleeding and the camera keep crashing.

    Have you heard of such problems with NEO N003 yet ?

    • November 1, 2013

      Nothing like this no. Did you ask them to sort it out?

    • Martin Fridrich
      November 29, 2013

      Hi, regarding your headphones – this issue is not related to Neo, you are using headphones with apple configuration on jack conector, not international standard configuration. Just buy reduction;).

  67. HL
    October 31, 2013

    Hi Andi, here the video of the issues on Youtube:

    backlight bleeding, email and camera crashes.

    headphone jack malfunctioning.

    • steve
      November 1, 2013

      I bought mine about 3 weeks ago and noticed the 1st and 2nd defects you mentioned.except for the 3rd one about bleeding/camera crashing.

      Any help for us?

  68. November 7, 2013

    Hello, are there any forums for the NEO N003 with example of how you can get updates to this phone?
    The site of NEO is in Chinese and I know nothing about it.
    And still no English or Dutch manual for this phone?

    • maskoko
      November 7, 2013

      you can check on Shaunuss’ link above. work like a charm for me. don’t forget to cross-check your phone version first.

      • November 7, 2013

        Thank you,
        My camera do not work, it say ‘Galary has stopped”.
        Any solution for this?

        • November 7, 2013

          Is the OS up to date?

          • HereIsTom
            November 7, 2013

            Hello Andi,
            I’m new to Android and this phone, but with OS you mean Android, it is 4.2.1

            But already solved this problem by myself. I did go to settings, apps, there push the menu button and then choose Restore app preferences.
            Now the camera app is working again 😉

            • November 7, 2013

              Great 🙂

  69. larry
    November 7, 2013

    Anybody knows if/when there will be a cyanogenmod or paranoid rom for the n003 (e02)?

    I like Oppo’s concept.

    • November 7, 2013

      There won’t be Cyanogenmod for any Mediatek phone until developers get source codes 🙁

  70. Harleyseow
    November 16, 2013

    Anybody facing problem on display? After I received my phone 3 days ago, everything is working fine. Just then, after I switch on my phone, the screen show many Colorful lines. Suspecting the hardware is faulty causing display to not functioning. The touchscreen there is response but not showing the display. Please help advice what could be the root cause.

    • Harleyseow
      November 16, 2013

      Showing photo of the problem display.

  71. Lawrence
    December 13, 2013

    I saw a post that there’s a cyanogenmod 10.1 version ROM http://bbs.neomobile.com.cn/thread-80696-1-1.html and I also saw an update in the new forum of a new update: http://bbs.neomobile.com.cn/thread-77507-1-1.html

    I have a neo n003 2G RAM 32 ROM E02 model. I’m not able to understand from the links what are the correct ROM download links.

    Could anyone please point me in the right direction?


  72. flou
    January 4, 2014

    I am a new owner of neo n003 for one day but I have a big problem the phone charges from 1 till 5% and nothing else.I tried all the ways.Have you got a solution to this problem?I bought it from to2c
    Thank you

  73. vga2014
    August 7, 2014

    The museum model engines shop is open for sales of books and shirts, and docents …. antique flywheel engines and tractors, model table with air hook-ups, …

  74. Peter Kings
    September 24, 2014

    I have a problem with my NEO N003. , in fact two. 1) My loudspeaker at the phones backside has brooken. Do you know where I can buy one or who is the manufactor of NEO phones? 2) The GPS takes very long to connect with GPS satellites. Can I do anything about that. I would be very gratefull for answers. Even more gratefull if someone can mail their ideas to me at manutanjobb@gmail.com. Thanks