Sprint ATIV S Neo's limited availability; online shipping only and coming soon to Best Buy

Although the Sprint Samsung ATIV S Neo went officially on sale today, you won’t be able to run to your local store to pick one up. At least that’s what we’re hearing from colleagues and fellow readers like yourselves.

Evidently, customers who wander in to a Sprint store to pick up the latest and greatest Windows Phone 8 device will be told that it is “direct ship only” meaning no in store availability. This news was reportedly reiterated in the Sprint weekly newsletter sent out to customers today. In addition, Best Buy is now listing the phone for a $149 price tag (opens in new tab) too but it’s not available online (or in brick and mortar). We haven’t checked Microsoft Stores but so far, they only have the 8XT listed (opens in new tab).

That’s all bad news if people were expecting to grab the phone for the weekend as it means you’ll have to get it shipped and wait. We've also confirmed that at least two stores do not even have dummy units in place, which makes sense since in-store point-of-sales cannot occur.

Listed at Best Buy, but you can't have it yet

So why the limited availability? We can think of two scenarios:

  1. Sprint has ordered only a limited amount; has little faith in the device selling
  2. Samsung is having trouble getting early shipments to stores; larger rollout coming later

It’s too early to say which of those would be the correct theory, though we have heard in the past that Sprint would only put new Windows Phones on the shelves, but they won’t promote them (or give them a priority placement). In this case, even putting them on the shelves may be too much to ask. In addition, we haven’t seen any commercials or promotions for the 8XT (review) or the ATIV S Neo--granted, the latter phone just launched today so it is still very early in its release cycle.

On the other hand, Samsung has been known to be slow in the past with getting phones out the door. Case in point was the original ATIV S, which was announced last August but didn’t reach customers hands until mid-December. Both companies could be taking a "wait and see" approach.

We don’t want to rush to judgment too early, but so far the Sprint re-launch of Windows Phone has been less fanfare than hoped. Let’s see how things pan out in the coming weeks.

Anyone else want to share their experience in trying to pick up the ATIV S Neo? Sound off in comments. Thanks, Jacob F. and others, for the tips

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • I would have bought this phone a year ago
  • Sad thing is that almost this exact phone was released a year ago but as a GSM version...
  • This is actually worse than the one that released an year ago.
    This thing got TFT screen which is pathetic for what supposed to be a high end phone.
  • TFT is just thin-film-transistor, which is used in both some LCD and AMOLED screens. This phone has the standard SAMOLED HD + screen seen on the GS3.
  • I don't believe that is accurate. Samsung lists the ATIV S display as HD Super AMOLED. The ATIV S Neo is TFT LCD.
  • Where are you sourcing this information that it comes with a AMOLED screen?  Even Samsung's site doesn't mention anything about it having an AMOLED screen.
  • Debatable. I personally would choose a RGB LCD over a PenTile AMOLED at the same resolution/size. The ATIV S screen clarity is alright. The 920 is better due to the use of RGB and smaller size, but I'd still take the ATIV S screen ove rit. And I think I'd take the Neo's screen over the ATIV S screen due to it being the same size but RGB.
    The 928 and 1020 screens are worse than the 920 screen interms of clarity since they use PenTile. 
  • Yah, it does look kinda nice, and I like the color. And I like how it says Windows Phone on the back, I wished more phones had that...it adds a nice personal touch to it.
  • Wow. LIke I keep saying about that carrier. If there is a way to suck, Sprint will find it.
  • A Sprint hater who is an active member on pro-Sprint sites should refrain from making comments, Ken.
  • Yea but he is right, sprint sucks.
  • SMH
  • I hate you
  • "Hate" is such a strong word to use...
  • not strong enough when it is appropriate....like now 
  • For someone that calls my hangout WPCENTROLL and Rabino everything but a child of God spends more time here than I do. Besides, why did you constantly dick ride? I told you before, I don't go that way
  • Do we really need WPCentral users bringing in their baggage from other sites? Come on.
  • Neither Samsung, nor sprint care, that's how I see it
  • Really?  Do you still think I am Mathiuz?  You are so far from the truth, and the reason he gave that name to that site is because in great part to the actions by YOU, and many of the members here spamming, trolling, harrassment and stalking against anyone defending Sprint and any CDMA carrier in the US market which has no current lWindows Phone devices, thanks to the lackadaisical interest by Microsoft and perhaps Nokia as well to address the CDMA market in the US as a whole.
    If I was you Ken, I would stop mentioning his name because he can "grant your wish" and really dish it out.
  • I believe that you and anyone else can get your point across without vulgarity, I too am a wpcentral user, so I understand your frustration when people accuse you of some nonsense, but I am sure you can reply in better manner
  • Wow, someone agrees with me in regards to the use of profanity by Mr. Jazmac, and his obsession with privates.
  • Amazing how you continue to say that I think you some person whose name I NEVER mentioned, not one time.  lol. Told on yourself you sick, demented fruit fly. And someting else. Sprint SUCKS!!
  • With that reference, you have blown your cover.  You accused me of being the person who created the wpcenTROLL term to describe people like you and many who go defend many inaccuracies from this site, while insult and use profanities and references to private parts as if you were desperate for affection.
    nice try to defend and change your argument.  You have proven yourself of being officially nothing less than a troll who needed to retire twenty years ago.
  • Now, let's hear it from the guys who says "Sprint sucks" buy in reality has an obssession with male genitals, and needed to retire from trolling the moment AOL sued Prodigy nearly 20 years ago.
  • Troll. There, I said what everyone else was thinking
  • Another one?  SMH
  • When this phone(And the 8xt) fails i can't wait to see what BS excuse Sprint will come up with for horrible sales of these devices.
  • You don't need to wait, I can tell you it right now.  They are going to say "We have not seen consumer demand for Windows 8 Mobile"
  • Ha! Yeah... never under-estimate Sprint. They will find a way to f*ck it up.
  • What I want to know is... why does Sprint only subsidize $250 (plus $50 visa card) off of Windows Phones, but they knock off $350 off of HTC One and Galaxy S4... and $450 off the iPhone 5?  That doesn't seem very fair...
  • Yeah, like ,"We didn't advertise them at all", "On launch day, sold them online only", and "Didn't encourage our sales team to push windows phones" : |
  • Man Sprint WP keep find ways to trip over its own feet.
  • Seriously considering upending my whole family's setup to move to another carrier over this. 
    And it's already listed as sold out at Best Buy online.
  • They probably haven't opened up the ordering yet.  I can't imagine it sold out.
  • I personally recommend T-Mobile. I moved our 5 accounts from AT&T to a T-Mo family plan. $110 for 5 lives comes out to $22 a line. No contract, you buy your own phones or bring them from AT&T. You can snag yourself a 925 and get the rest of your family the affordable 521's :)
  • +1 to this. I'm doing the same thing and am happy with T-Mobile. Glad I didn't wait for this device because this would have been a low blow.
  • Guess you guys are in an exception area for T-Mo as their service sucks in southwest Texas
  • Samsung and Sprint - a match made in heaven :(
  • More like a match made in hell
  • A match made after Sam went for a sprint. No? Okay :(
  • I wish you could launch Kids Corner from the start screen instead of additional clicks...
  • You can pin a tile to your start screen for that
  • I'm no fan of Sprint nor Samsung, I really want this phone to do well. Shame.
  • And that is why sprint sucks...might just switch to att and get the lumia 1020
  • Yeah, if you wanna pay an expensive monthly bill and $300 out the door (on contract). They did more or less fuck this release up though.
  • +infinity!!!
  • sprint is just as pricey and they have slow data speeds. no LTE. and its $249 on amazon. Everyone from sprint get the 1020. Bye bye Sprint!
  • I have no problems with Sprint's speed or network availability. It's been pretty quick and reliable for me, but I'm technically in the same state as their corporate headquarters.
    As far as the cost, for a comparable unlimited plan, AT&T is way more money per month. I pay $75/mo on Sprint and that's maybe the cheap-ass plan on AT&T.
  • I am unfamiliar with sprints plans, but how much cheaper can it be? I dont have unlimted everything (ATT doesnt offer that). But I do have 500 mins (mobile to mobile and nights weekends free), unlimted messanging, and 3gb data and I pay 60/month. Cant complain too much, though I am on wifi 90% of the time at home or work.
  • Gotta go to the carrier that has the devices you want. Sprint obviously is only interested in subpar token WP offerings with no easy way to even buy those. Even if sprint is cheaper (which is debatable) I'm happy to pay a little extra for a carrier that offers a selection of great handsets (Lumia FTW) in a timely manner with my phone OS of choice (WP8).
  • I would say this is more of an issue for Samsung due to their planning in their manufacturing schedule, for which they are playing catchup for the Galaxy S4 line.
  • Lot's of people keep saying this phone is so last year...what exactly is so last year about it?  Because of the processor in it?
  • Because they think the current Nokia devices have better specs, when in reality the specs are very similar to the Ativ S Neo.
  • I think they mean the design. It is 98% the same as the original ATIV S, announced exactly one year ago. That's not saying it's a bad phone though as the internals are up to spec with high end Windows Phones. Whereas Nokia has their 'fabula' design for the Lumias, which carries key design principles between phones, they are technically a bit "newer" for looks. It's more a perception issue than anything substantial here. Still, perception matters for selling devices and marketing.
  • Perhaps so, Daniel.  But to say the device is a year old just on the design is absurd at the very least.  We could apply the same logic to other devices regardless of mobile platform.
  • Agreed!!
  • +infinity
  • I am happy with my 8XT despite specs. Just need the Voice mail indicator fixed.
    My local Sprint store in Sioux Falls SD has not received any Neo's yet either.
    Why doen't WP Central have a review unit yet?
    I am not a samsung fan as my wife has had many different models all with poor phone reception, and my Son's Galaxy S3 is also poor compared to my 8XT.
    But regardless of MFG when one is launched with a 5.5" screen like samsungs Note 2, I want it..
  • Review unit of what? We reviewed the 8XT like a week or two ago...it's even linked in this article. Regarding ATIV S Neo, we don't have one because Sprint/Samsung's PR firm haven't sent any out to any sites yet. Not our fault. But obviously this device does not look like a priority for anyone--Sprint or Samsung. When we get one, we'll of course review it.
  • Actually, phonearena did get a unit weeks ago for review (although not the final product).
  • That's not really a review that most users are interested in.
  • Perhaps not, but it has been done by them.
  • The reason is the original Ativ S was announce just over a year ago, then the original was not released for about 4 months, after that we get this, an Ativ S with a lower clocked processor and a TFT screen, which in my opinion comparing phones that have the two different screens is worse. In essence releasing a phone with almost the same, albeit slightly lower, specs a year after it was announced as a varient without any change that could be given to say it is better in "X" regard.
  • The TFT display. We've been spoiled by other manufacturers' IPS and AMOLED screens, which match great to WP8.
  • Let's see, Samsung is deep in android and Galaxy and Sprint is still pushing its iPone 5. How did anyone believe this was to be anything but a marginal effort on either party to produce and promote a Windows Phone?
  • Not shocked at all. Amazing......
  • I find that phone quite an eyesore.
  • It looks old, and outdated.. Like from two years ago... This is why I want Sony to make some Experia like WP devices...
  • I went into the store today to get the phone, unfortunately the Sprint rep told me that it was direct-ship only.  He said they were expecting to get the shipments, but today they recieved the weekly newsletter that it would be direct-ship only.  I ordered the phone, so we shall see when I recieve the call to pick it up. The funny thing is, the guy couldn't find it in their system and had to use the SKU to look it up.  I am very disappointed with Sprint.
  • I'd have walked right out the door to the nearest AT&T or Verizon store. But then, I ran out of patience for dealing with Sprint's crap a long time ago... maybe you're not there yet. ;-)
  • Looks like Sprint is trying to sell as few as possible.
  • Got my telesales order in... gosh those calls take FOREVER to get through.  Hopefully I get it in 2-3 days. 
  • Place your bets for Sprint to EOL both their WP8 devices in the next 6 months and probably use them again as the poster boys for their trade in program. Really shouldn't have bothered, people are far better of on any of the other big 3 carriers.
  • +521 unfortunately
  • The age old philosophical question: is a phone for sale if you can't buy it? The way carriers treat WP is a total failure on MS part.
  • Not necessarily. Cuz only sprint acts that shady towards WP. Not to say that the other carriers are great, but at least they push it, although unfortunately, you can't force fanboi reps to push wp
  • I can honestly say I'm not surprised at all.
  • This was the exact same thing to happen with Verizon's phones. You couldn't find the 8X for a month. The only phone you could find was an Lumia 822 in black. I definately don't regret my purchase. Also, Best Buy in my area is the absolute worst place to go if you want a windows phone- even on at&t. They only sling android phones. If you don't want android, you always hear, "how about an iPhone?" Makes me want to yell.
  • Much like the 8XT, this is a really quiet, under the radar launch. Sprint either doesn't have much faith in WP8, or they don't want to spend money on marketing it.
  • They spent what-$20b to get the iPhone? Yes they are broke..
  • Why do people think Sprint spended that amount of money immedately?  It was not 20 billion.  It was a total of 15.6 billion spreaded over a four year period, which they are paying the same exact price per unit AT&T, Verizon, and TMobile are paying per device.  Also, their deal allows them to sell iPhones on Virgin Mobile and Boost.
  • In Tallahassee, both stores are diplaying the HTC, but have no ATIV.  Tried to order from Sprint, and they are already out with no indication when they will be restocked.  Kind of frustrating, but Sprint has always been good to me and their customer support is the best in the industry. Another week or two won't hurt me.
  • Same story here in Honolulu. Staff had no idea what I was talking about, and stared confusedly at their computer for several minues before telling me they had no further info. No shipping info, no delivery info, no ordering info, nothing. I'm on Ting so I will have to wait until they get it anyway but wanted to try it out in store :-\ I like that this is a "world phone" and so technically supports GSM voice (and some data) bands and SIM cards. If Ting's version is truly unlocked - and TBH, if Sprint had LTE here - I would seriously consider buying this phone. As it is I think we will leave our 2 HTC Arrives for something on AT&T GoPhone or whatever prepaid T-Mobile plan is good. Sprint is just not a competitor in network, even if Ting is the best carrier on the planet in customer service, coolness, etc.
  • Placed an order online in less than 5 min and it will be delivered not Tuesday.
  • Does Sprint not have a two HTC One for the price of one this weekend? That an the Ativ S are two awesome deals!
  • I see sprint is now crippling WP8. Glad I left them in November 2011.
  • I never liked Samsung's design. All their phones look the same - it's dated and boring.
  • Just called my local Sprint "corporate" store, rather than all the random Sprint shops. They told me that the official in-store availability is "Delayed at this time". Order online or nothing at all, it looks like.
  • Of course if they don't even display the phone, their worries about it being a poor seller will become a self fulfilling prophecy.
  • this I believe is Samsung's doing. They want to make it appear that WindowsPhone is not a desired os so they do everything in their power to make it appear so by not sending out enough units. then they complain about the low sales of the windows phone but shout about the amount of android phones they sell. Samsung SUCKS.
  • This design is like early 00s HTC, Damn UGLY!
  • Looked at the Neo, and then at the Lumia 925...
  • Sprint is truly a joke to me now. It's iphone, android or bust for them now. They've even been promising the Blackberry Q10 to customers and haven't even acknowledged that phone's existenance. I'm really not surprised by the lack of support for the windows 8, as I said the other day I still have my Htc Arrive which they never updated to 7.8. Hopefully, the sell to SoftBank will help but I'm seriously doubting that at this moment. However, my biggest concern is still their unwillingness to work with Nokia, especially when they carry every brand of android they can. And I know some will be pissed with this, but when a security app is a requirement of owning your smartphone (android), it's kinda hard to point fingers. 
    For now, I'm glad work gave me an opportunity to try our At&t because I see the next 13 years of service being somewhere other than Sprint if things don't change soon.
  • The phone looks very plasticy.
  • Well, its finally ordered, not for lack of effort!!  Both local stores phones were not answering, so I visited both stores.  UPS had already been--no ATIV.  Called the toll free number from my bill around 1:00pm, and was told they were already sold out. Tried to order online and site kept throwing me off after signing in and going to shop for a phone.  A chat window opened, and I chatted with support, and he finally said call the number at the top of the website.  I called and a representative said they DID have the phone and we went all the way through the process up to her reading back my charge card number, and in the middle of that the call ended!!   ggrrrrrrrrr, so I called back, and had to go through the whole process again, was put on hold for 8 minutes, and was then told they were out of stock!!!!!
    So, I went back to Chrome, and the Sprint site still wasn't working, so I went to IE in Desktop, and was still acting up.  So I went t to Windows 8 Metro, and, WALA!!, the Sprint site worked there and I was able to place an order.
    Now, I got a convermation email, but I am  now worried I will get another email later indicated that their will be a delay in delivery!!  I hope not!!
    Just anothere day in my life . . . . . . . 
  • I have my 8XT (for $0.01 btw) and I'm as content as I can be. Wanted the high-end, but with all the delay of this device, and Sammy's focus instead on Scroogle devices (perhaps the same can be said for HTC too, but not as much...?), I passed. The 8XT is awesome IMO. The shortcomings of the 8XT are very easy for me to look past.
  • I'm sure someone commented about this already, but what's up with the BB ad listing the screen size as 3"? That's gonna generate alot of interest... Sheesh...
  • My order via telesales with sprint has shipped so I should have it monday.  I'm still very disappointed in how sprint handled this release.  I should have been able to get it in stores today.
    Does any other carrier offer truely unlimited 4g lte in a plan for $50/month like my sero premium?  Seems the next cheapest is around $70/month with tmobile unless I'm missing something...
  • It just proves that Sprint And Samsung are luke warm on Windows Phone. Sprint is to busy trying to get the Iphone sales they missed out on until recently. And Samsung wants to keep the Galaxy 4 sale numbers up, so they can say they have the best saling phone on the market.
  • I like many today was disapointed ariving as my local store opened to find that there was no stock availible. Went to two other stores before just ordering and having the phone drop shipped. As I tweeted earlier this launch has been as sucessful as a North Korean misile.
  • Shocking.
  • Ordered one for myself via telesales.  In a few days my Arrive can finally retire.
  • For those that are interested in seeing the phone in person before purchasing, just keep calling your local store and asking them when they are receiving SKU = SPHi800. I was able to get the SKU from a store manager this afternoon. Good Luck!
  • Both Sprint and Best Buy have not proven themselves to be friends of Windows Phone.
    I jumped from Sprint to AT&T in order to get my hands on the Nokia Lumia 920 when it was clear that Sprint was delaying any introduction of WP8 devices any time close to start of availablity of those devices.  Sprint's "promotion " of its WP7 devices was laughable (my own local store didn't even have one on display).  I saw only half-hearted support for the platform from Sprint at best, and downright indifference at the worst.
    Best Buy may be doing some WP8 device promotion somewhere, but the Sunday marketing flyers in the newspaper NEVER show WP8 devices, and any reasonable consumer would be likely to draw the conclusion that WP8 phones were not ever going to be carried by BB.
    Both of these organizations have a LONG way to go to show me they are serious about selling WP8 devices.
    I'm certainly not going to be only voice saying this, but I believe if Microsoft wants to promote their products, they will have to do it in their own stores, as it appears that many of the sales people at telephone and electronics stores are Android or Apple users who cannot ever be expected to give Microsoft-powered devices a fair presentation.
  • After getting the run around at the stores all weekend and then speaking with a clueless telephone sales rep, I had them transfer me to the cancellation department.  After about 20 min of the new rep calling around to every Sprint, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Radio Shack in my area to no avail, she offered to overnight one to me and waive all the charges.  It's too late here to ship tonight, so I won't get it until Wed.
    I've been waiting to get a WP.  I was really looking forward to it this past Friday.  I should have known after 15+ years with Sprint that this would happen.
    As for the looks of the phone... who cares?  I have never looked at a phone to see how "pretty" it is.  Is it powerful enough and is the screen big and clear enough to read?  I'm more concerned about functionality and getting the job done.  Anyone who suffered through an 80's bag phone would tell you looks just aren't that important in the grand scheme of things :)  
  • I picked up my new Ativ S Neo yesterday and finally have it all set up with my apps and laid out my liv tiles.  What an upgrade from the HTC Arrive and WP7.5.  Thinner, lighter, and a much larger screen.  The tft screen seems plenty crisp, clear, and bright to me. It's nice to finally be on WP8.  I've only had it for a bit over a day, but so far I've had no problems and I love it.
  • Congrats and good luck with the new phone.  I'm hesistating from upgrading my Arrive to the Neo right now.  Mostly because Sprint doesn't have 4G in Phoenix yet and I just can't see paying an extra $10 a month to upgrade my plan to 4G.  I think it's a total ripoff that Sorint makes you pay for something you can't get.  I know they say it's not a 4G fee but it is.  You can put a dress on a pig but it's still a pig.