Sony Ericsson Elm review

Reviews Richard Goodwin 14:43, 23 Mar 2010

We review Sony Ericsson’s new eco-friendly feature phone, the Elm. But does it have what it takes to make a lasting impression? We put it through to the test over a weekend

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For some people, smartphones are not an option – they’re either too expensive, too fancy or too complicated. And this is understandable, especially when you consider the pace with which mobile phone technology changes and shifts.

However, feature phones are now providing a bridge between the two worlds of traditional mobile phones and smartphones.

The Sony Ericsson Elm, which is made out of recycled materials and comes with minimal packaging, is a feature phone that has a lot of the features you’d expect with a high-end smartphone, such as Wi-Fi, 3G, email, apps etc – just without the hefty price tag.

Upon opening the box you’ll realise that the Elm isn’t going to break any hearts. That said, it isn’t a bad looking phone and once you’ve had time to get used to it, you might even begin to quite like it – particularly if you’re into more classically designed mobile phones.

The Elm is also an extremely lightweight and well-put together device, feeling both sturdy and comfortable in the hand, which is something many – more budget-type – feature phones lack.

Because the Elm is very traditional looking, many users may be put off in favour of something a little more flash – and who could blame them, there’s so much to choose from these days.

However, they really shouldn’t be, as the Elm is a very competitive device and should be a serious consideration for anyone that wants smartphone technology, just without the price tag and fuss.

The screen isn’t too large at 2.2-inches, but it performs admirably well displaying everything from texts to web pages crisply and with lots of colour – just don’t expect it rival, say, the HTC Legend or the iPhone in this department.

The battery on the Elm is phenomenal. During testing we only had to charge it once in 48 hours, which was impressive, especially when you’re used to smartphones – the HTC Hero, in this case – that can’t manage 12 hours without a full charge.

After a few hours of use, the Elm makes its true impression on us: it’s a reliable, easy to use mobile device that is packed full of useful and engaging features. And as an added bonus, it is no way near as intimidating as some smartphones.

In short, this is a phone for people that demand functionality and simplicity from their handsets.

Making your way through the Elm’s menus and features is simple thanks to the central select button that takes care of both navigation and selecting items. In addition to this, there are also shortcut keys to Contacts and Google Search located on the left and right hand side of the main select button.

The right hand key, as we said, takes you directly to a menu that gives you the option of either searching Google, Sony Ericsson, PlayNow or Google Maps. We really loved this little feature and used it countless times during testing – it really is testament to what a great little device the Elm is.

The Elm’s Main Menu is the standard Sony Ericsson one, so everything is where it should be and easily accessed. However, users that fancy adding a little flare to how it’s displayed can choose between three additional display options – Grid, Rotating or Single Icon. Our favourite was Rotating.


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