For those who prefer a smartphone of colour, Vodafone has grabbed an exclusive for its customers with the red Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo. It's expected to arrive on virtual shelves in the coming weeks but before you have to make the agonising decision, Pocket-lint went hands on with the Android Gingerbread handset to give you the low down.

It's worth mentioning from the off that, for a mid-range smartphone, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo has a very premium feel. Built with a similar love and care as the HTC Legend, the all-metal body feels reassuringly expensive in the hand with a rather appealing finish that somehow manages to be both anodised and high gloss at the same time.

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It's a fairly busy design from the three hard Android keys at the bottom (menu, home and back) to the numerous ports and switches on the smaller surfaces. That doesn't make it any the less attractive but speaks of its in-depth multimedia functions rather than a fashionable facade.

That said, one of the sides is completely blank boasting a smooth silvery surface but everything else is slightly crammed onto the opposite facet - volume rocker, on/off button, lock and shutter release. It's a similar story with the short ends but perhaps done with a little more style. The top is empty while micro USB and min-HDMI ports are hidden under flaps at the bottom either side of the 3.5mm jack.

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Despite all the disruptions to the aesthetic, it's still a nice handset to pull out on the table down the pub with your friends. It will draw a few oohs and ahhs with the snazzy red finish, its attractive curves and that lovely Sony Ericsson Reality Display on top. Best of all, no one will know that you didn't pay top dollar for a high end handset.