Sony Ericsson Elm review: Green roots

GSMArena team, 9 April 2010.
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Introduction

It’s not like good old-fashioned phones with buttons are going extinct – they are still the money makers. But for handsets such as the Sony Ericsson Elm sneaking into the spotlight is harder than ever – Androids, Symbians, iPhones, smart and not so smart touchscreens are all over the place. Well, one thing’s for sure – a break is welcome once in a while.

Cybershot and Walkman are out of the Sony Ericsson mix, and the doubters are perhaps busy telling you GreenHeart will never be able to rise to the same heights. It’s a completely different market and matching iconic, game-changing phones like the K750 and the W800 is out of the question really. But we’re not here to look back at what used to be. It’s a market were rules are set by touch-screen phones and handsets like the Sony Ericsson Elm do deserve credit for trying to find their own spot under the sun.

The Sony Ericsson Elm and its slider sibling Hazel are flying the green flag to lead the company’s evolving feature phone lineup. We caught a glimpse of both already but let’s now invite Sony Ericsson Elm over again and take a closer look.

The Elm is taking over from recent Sony Ericsson feature phones that knew they needed all the high-tech specs to stay competitive. The Sony Ericsson Elm doesn’t compromise performance to stay within budget.

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Sony Ericsson Elm official photos

It has all the premium features you may get these days – 3G connectivity with light-speed data, Wi-Fi with DLNA support, GPS receiver and microSD memory expansion. Just like its GreenHeart forerunner – the C901 – the Elm is easily one of the top 5-megapixel cameraphones out there. The upgrade to VGA video @ 30 fps shows even more hidden power.

Here is the full spec sheet with all deal breakers we’ve managed to spot.

Key features

  • 2.2" 256K-color TFT screen, 240 x 320 pixels
  • Quad-band GSM support
  • Dual-band 3G with 7.2Mbps HSDPA, 2Mbps HSUPA
  • 5 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash; geotagging, face detection; VGA@30fps video recording
  • Built-in GPS receiver with A-GPS; Trial version of Wisepilot navigation software
  • Wi-Fi with DLNA
  • FM radio with RDS
  • Stereo Bluetooth 2.1
  • microSD card slot, 280 MB internal memory
  • Eco-friendly package and materials
  • Social networking integration, widget enhanced interface
  • NetFront v3.5 web browser with full Flash support
  • Splash-resistant body
  • Noise cancellation
  • Excellent audio quality

Main disadvantages

  • No standard USB port
  • No bundled data cable or memory card
  • No 3.5mm audio jack
  • Kinda short Wi-Fi receiver range
  • No DivX/XviD video support
  • No document viewer
  • No xenon flash
  • No camera lens cover
  • Feeble loudspeaker
  • Expensive navigation after the trial period expires

The shortcomings are too specific and most of the intended users won’t miss anything badly. The advanced social networking integration will perhaps make up for some of those. The solid battery life, splash-resistant and ergonomically curved body do add to Elm’s appeal too.

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Sony Ericsson Elm at ours

So, the Elm is powerful enough, and its price is very reasonable. We guess that’s enough to get your full attention. You’re welcome to read on as we explore the Elm inside and out.

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