Sony Ericsson Elm review: Green roots
Almost perfect connectivity
The Sony Ericsson Elm is not an internet-centric device but scores excellent on connectivity options. Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and 3G are all on board for worldwide roaming. 7.2 Mbps HSDPA, as well as 2.0 Mbps HSUPA are also supported.
Besides the network-based connectivity, the Sony Ericsson Elm offers the usual Bluetooth v2.0 and USB options. There is also A2DP support so you can listen to music on a stereo Bluetooth headset. Last but not least, there is also the microSD card slot (under the battery cover), which is often one of the quickest ways of transferring data.
The Elm supports local and remote synchronization of contacts and calendar events. Unfortunately, the Elm uses the old FastPort and there is no data cable bundled in the package, so you will need to buy one separately.
Despite the USB disappointment, you can sync your device via some of the popular exchange services such as Google. We successfully configured our Google for exchange account and the Elm retrieved our predefined contacts, calendar events, Google mail along with the settings almost immediately. The two things that were left out during the sync process were the contact pictures and birthdays. We guess you must add them manually.
Sony Ericsson Elm sports premium features such as Wi-Fi and GPS with A-GPS support. Unfortunately the Wi-Fi range is rather disappointing compared to other phones we've tested. What’s more, to use a Wi-Fi connection you first need to configure a data account.
Despite the fact that the Wi-Fi connectivity has higher priority, the first thing Elm does in attempt to connect to Internet is to check if you have a data account. It may sound frustrating, but don’t worry – you may type whatever you want for the name and the APN. It’s not necessary to be a proper and working data account, you just need to have something entered.
Unfortunately, Sony Ericsson Elm allows you to watch streaming media (of any type) only over the EDGE or 3G connection (even though Wi-Fi is listed as an option, we just couldn't get it to work). So in essence - you might be able to stream video (such as YouTube) over Wi-Fi, but expect to have some issues with the setup.
Finally the Media Home app uses the DLNA capabilities of the Elm to share its media with other DLNA-enabled devices such as phones, home players or TV via Wi-Fi.
Excellent browser, small screen
The web browser preinstalled on the Elm is the same as Yari's - an updated version of the popular NetFront 3.5 mobile browser. It offers a much smoother experience than before and renders web pages more quickly. Almost every time it nails the zoom level for comfortable reading.
Plenty of shortcuts arranged in a tree structure are listed on the homescreen, right under a search and an address bar. They grant access to free content, such as clips, tracks and games on the Sony Ericsson site, including a step-by-step guide for setting up email accounts or internet connections. The appearance of the home screen changes to a different bright color each time you start the browser too.
Equipped with a mouse pointer, the new NetFront 3.5 web browser always operates in fullscreen mode and the four most important features are easily accessible on a toolbar - mini-map, address field, favorites and downloads.
Additionally, you can find some other features as well – such as mark-and-copy, save image or find on page.
There is also an automatic RSS finder. If you browse an RSS enabled site, a small RSS icon will appear. If you click there you can access all the available RSS feeds.
The browser has full Flash support, although all of the YouTube videos redirect to the mobile streaming app. Still if you open any other website with Flash videos you’ll be able to play them directly within the browser.
All the Flash content runs trouble-free and all, but streaming videos (both actual Flash and those in the mobile YouTube app) can only use a 3G connection.
As we mentioned before, watching streaming videos is possible only over EDGE or 3G connection.
The Sony Ericsson Elm offers a wide range of time-management features. There is an Organizer icon in the main menu and it contains several applications: File manager, Java Applications, Video call, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, Synchronization, Timer, Stopwatch, Calculator and Torch.
The Calendar offers monthly, weekly and daily views. When you add a birth date in the phonebook, the phone prompts you to add it to the calendar too. There is just one general-purpose type of entry in the Calendar, but it features enough details. Notes are composed similar to messages and the T9 dictionary can be used here as well.
The Alarms application hardly needs any detailing. There are five alarm slots available. Each one offers a lot of options - you can choose to repeat the alarm on chosen days of the week or everyday.
The Calculator is the regular Sony Ericsson one. It offers the basic functions, no bells and whistles, but you can run the Converter from there. The stopwatch and countdown timer are also the familiar basic applications. The Voice recorder has no limit on recording length, making the available free memory the only restriction.