With its mirrored finish, moulded chrome spine and banana shaped arc, the Neo Ellipse is an eye-catching device. It’s also remarkably light.
The keys are far too small and thin making for a frustrating user experience.
An MP3 music player, video player, GPRS and an FM radio complete with recording functionality make up the feature set.
While the video and music player are adequate, the camera is disappointing. With no 3G, surfing the internet will require a degree of patience.
A measly 100 minutes talktime and 100 hours standby means you’ll be constantly recharging the Ellipse.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:54:05 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
The Neo Ellipse has both a novel and striking design.
The keypad is too fiddly to get to grips with.
The mobile phone market is notoriously difficult to break into. With the likes of Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson enjoying a market stranglehold, many wannabe manufacturers have tried but failed. However, the emergence of LG in recent years has shown that it can be done. Neo is another new kid on the block. Having already laid claim to producing the world’s smallest fully-featured mobile, Neo has released another intriguing device in the Ellipse.
The word ‘ellipse’ is a mathematical term that loosely translates to ‘plane curve’ and aptly enough, this handset sports a wide-arced curve. Similar to a PC mouse, the Ellipse’s contoured body is certainly striking, and while the MOTO Z10’s banana-shaped handset is aimed to bring both the speaker and microphone closer to the ear and mouth, the Ellipse’s design seems to be purely aesthetic. With its mirrored back and moulded chrome centre spine, the Ellipse is rather eye-catching. Turn the phone over and the keypad is adorned with a similar mirrored design.Unfortunately, it’s with the keypad that our first gripe lies. The keys are both small and not very well raised, which makes them fiddly. We found for a really accurate key press, we needed to use our nail, which was a pain, particularly when composing text messages. It’s a shame as it does look rather good, particularly when active and the backing lights illuminate. The navigation keys can be modified as shortcuts to the various features, with the preset controls being ‘up’ for the MP3 player and ‘right’ to activate the camera.
Activate the MP3 player and the navigation keys then become your music controls. The Ellipse’s overall music experience is not bad. It’s basic, as tracks can only be added to a list, as opposed to album, artist, playlist or genre categories. We lament the lack of 3.5mm headset port or adapter, but the music quality whether played through Neo’s own headphones or the phones loudspeaker should satisfy. The FM radio has a novel feature, as you can record with the touch of a button. In truth the quality of recording is rather poor – it’s extremely quiet even when played on full volume. In addition, we often encountered static when playing the radio through the loudspeaker – stick to the headphones for
far better results.
Camera enthusiasts will find that the Ellipse is lacking in both megapixels (it only has two) and features. There’s no zoom, so the volume keys instead bring up a variety of silly borders, and the lack of flash often left our shots on the dark side. Some of the numeric keys do pose as shortcuts to the settings on offer. However, as there is no indication of what these keys do, you will be forced to memorise what each one does. There are some standout features, for example, continuous shot will take up to five consecutive pics, and delay timer gives you up to 15 seconds before the photo is taken.Bizarrely, there is no quick switch between the camera and the video recorder, so you have to open up the multimedia folder. It’s disappointing that your view is limited to around two-thirds of the screen, although the video playback quality surprised us. Our phone came preloaded with two film trailers, both of which played perfectly.
The Neo Ellipse is a concept phone. The design is quirky yet stylish and you’re guaranteed people will look when you use it. However, the keypad is not easy to get to grips with, and the camera disappoints. The MP3 and video player are decent acquisitions, but there’s not enough here to suggest that the Ellipse will turn many heads.