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Neon N2Q – $108 octa-core Android smartphone points the way to the future of cheap tech in 2015 [Review]

neonN2Q-3

Time doesn’t stand still when it comes to technology, and 2015 is likely to go down as the year of the budget smartphone. Nokia kind of kicked off the genre in an oblique way a few weeks ago by introducing a $29 part smart phone, and it’s very likely that we’re going to see the same kind of downward pressure on prices over the coming months elsewhere with ‘proper’ smartphones.

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The new Neon N2Q is a classic example of the kind of phone which is very likely to beat up the big brands over the coming year. The no-name brand has produced an Android KitKat phone with an octa-core processor and enough style to attract lots of interest from the budget end of the market, which is bad news if you’re still charging premium prices.

First impressions
The N2Q comes in an attractive package, along with the nowadays typical accessories. These include a small but serviceable user manual, charge block and USB cable, a headset, full flip case and a backplate case. It’s enough to get you going and keep you safe, which is what you need. Take a look at our review video above for an overview of the features.

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The specifications of the actual handset are pretty decent as well. In addition to the 1.4 Ghz octa-core processor, there’s 1 GB RAM, 8 GB of on-board storage (of which around 5 GB seems to be available), dual SIMs, a micro-SD card slot capable of holding up to 32 GB and a 2100 mAh battery block powering it all. The phone runs Android 4.4.2, and features a 5 megapixel rear camera (interpolated to 8 megapixel) which may not delivery stunning results, but should definitely be good enough for this end of the market.

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In use
The phone is surprisingly nice to handle, delightfully slim-line and elegant, and with a nice feel to it. The 5 inch IPS touchscreen is also very nice to use, and the whole thing seems very responsive. The Antuttu benchmark pulls in just over 27000 points, which means the phone should be able to handle just about everything you can throw at it, although it may struggle with top graphics settings on the high resolution 3D games. Subway Surfer was fine.

neonN2QCollage

Conclusion
There’s very little to dislike about this phone, from the svelte design through to the feature set. Purists will moan about the slightly vintage camera resolution, but the fact is for most people, 5 megapixel is perfectly adequate. Apart from that quibble, the rest of the phone seems to be solidly built, and with all the right bits in the right places. No-one tried to be clever when designing this handset, which is a good thing. This must rank as one of the better of the budget handsets we’ve looked at recently.

Price:
$108.44

Specifications

Neonado UI 1.1/Android 4.4
CPUMTK6592M Octa Core
Screen5 Inch IPS OGS qHD
CameraRear 8.0MP Front 5.0MP
Size146 x 71 x 7.5 mm

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.


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