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Phones.com » Cell Phones » Review of the Sony Ericsson Elm

When Sony Ericsson first introduced the GreenHeart series, it brought into the limelight a number of eco-friendly innovations that interlaced usability with responsibility. Dictionary terms like recycled plastics, waterborne paint, carbon emissions, green charger, e-manual were schooled by the company to make people environmentally aware.  Previous introductions went a little wary with Sony's 'exciting' GreenHeart taking centre stage while vital features were left on the backburner. However, the Japanese-Swedish collaboration's new environmental campaigner, the Elm, thankfully does not disappoint when it comes to features.  This feature rich candy bar will certainly satisfy its user with 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, social network integration, 5-megapixel camera, A-GPS and Google Applications.  If this is not enough, there are always the GreenHeart applications that will knock you on the head in case you  forget why you  purchased the phone. Let us check out what exactly lies in the tiny recycled paper box.

Look, Design, Feel (/10)

In one word, the Elm's design is regarded as a cliché. The overall look is very typical of the Sony Ericsson cell phones available in the market. Yet, its arched back attracts the eye, disassociating it from the normal "classic" candy bar form. Exclusively made from recycled plastics and waterborne paints the body of the Elm feels nice to hold and sits well in your hand. In spite of providing a good grip, the aluminium coating can get considerably slippery when it gets wet. Therefore, it is advisable to be careful while handling it with moist or sweaty hands!

The 240x320 px, 2.2" inch screen is not comparable to the current lot of OLED and AMOLED screens, but it does offers a crisp view of the applications. The screen is viewable in sunlight but for optimum usage, it is advisable to increase the brightness setting in direct sunlight.

The battery and card slot is extremely easy to operate without fidgeting to remove the back panel. Nevertheless, take care to avoid scratches on the aluminium panel. The left side of the handset is occupied by a proprietary port while the volume rocker and camera shutter take charge of the right side. The rubberized alphanumeric keypad is tactile and easy to press. It is a pleasure to dial, type messages and utilize overall applications. For those who are new to Sony handsets it may take a few days to control the keys and be a pro at quick texting. Though the design of the Sony Ericsson Elm is similar to it siblings, its curved back and ergonomic design focus on the comfort of its users.

Features (/10)

Primarily let us talk about Sony's GreenHeart. Its eco-friendly features constantly  entice you  throughout the day until you switch off the cell phone.  Firstly, you are introduced to  compact packaging where the paper manual is missing, giving way to an e-manual. Some of the features can be irksome where messages keep popping up reminding us of our duties towards the environment.

There is the Green charger reminder to check the charger if it's still connected or the Walk Mate counter, counting your steps and the carbon emissions you have 'not' contributed to. Whilst most of the features do make sense, the WalkMate counter could have counted  burnt calories rather the carbon emissions. Well,  you don't always get what you want! EcoMate and EcoCalculator are fun for the environmentally conscious among us, but provide  no  practical functionality.

The Sony Ericsson Elm runs on the Flash UI interface and is pre-loaded with four animated themes to alter the look of the screen. The themes provide a great visual interpretation of the inside applications. It was quite impressive to notice that the Elm did allow for multitasking without any breaks and that was a huge sigh of relief. SNS integration through Facebook and Twitter homescreen widgets handed out enough functionality to access status updates, comments and photos.

Browsing is possible through the Access Netfront web browser supported ably by both 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. Pages  load relatively fast owing to dual connectivity options, although animation visuals and intricately designed web pages are not always a pleasure to watch.  Even the D-pad navigation is not smooth.  Excellent connectivity options seem of no use at most probable times.

The Elm sports a 5-megapixel camera with an LED photo light and auto focus. Pictures are decent thanks to the auto focus but it's disappointing when the colours turn out to be dull. There are always the extra perks handed out such as the face and smile detection and geo tagging which now-a-days is common.

A-GPS loaded on the Sony Elm is sharp enough to locate places even when the internet is not available and nature is not ready to co-operate. There are lots of pre-installed applications such as "Near Me" providing information about nearby attractions. A 30-days trial period Wisepilot Navigation pack is installed which proves to be helpful, except that  it's only for a month. Later on, of course, you will need to pay for the application if you wish to carry on using it.

 

Connectivity (/10)

Sony Ericsson Elm comes with every possible connectivity option imagined. With GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA 7.2 Mbps and HSUPA 2 Mbps and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, data uploading and downloading is at a jiffy speed. Transfer of data is viable through Bluetooth and proprietary USB which is a major letdown. Sony does not provide a USB chord and with a proprietary port you may need to buy a specific cable.

Performance (/10)

Call quality for the Elm is excellent even if applications like Noise Shield and Clear Voice  don't seem realistic. Rating the performance of the Sony Ericsson Elm is a tricky job. Some features like eco-friendly manufacturing, calls, camera and audio playback work well, but disappointment seeps through at the incapable browser, non-available USB cable, proprietary port and trial navigation software.

 

Value for Money (/10)

The cell phone is tagged as a budget phone and every tree hugger will be happy with its hard hitting combo of pricing and nature friendly features. Even if performance doesn't match expected standards, GreenHeart, 3G / Wi-Fi connectivity and pricing will turn the tide in its favour.

Pros

  • Eco-friendly features
  • 5-megapixel camera with auto focus and geo tagging
  • Social Networking sites integration
  • Good audio playback and call quality
  • High performance battery

 

Cons

  • Unavailability of USB cable in the box
  • Proprietary USB port
  • Poor browser performance with animated web pages
  • Video playback not ably supported

Price

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Rating

Style: 8.4
167
Technology: 8.3
166
Efficiency: 8.5
169

Total votes: 353 | Hits: 8537

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