Sony Ericsson Hazel preview: First look
Sony Ericsson Hazel 360-degree spin
Design and construction
Two color options are announced for the Sony Ericsson Hazel - Superior Black and Passionate Rouge. It's pretty similar to the paintjob selection for the Elm. Red is perhaps not everyone's (or should we say "men's") cup of tea but the black version is certainly looking to respond to unisex demand.
Just like the Elm, the Hazel's body is said to be splash resistant. We hope to have the chance to test that during a proper review.
An underlying feature of the GreenHeart duo is the ergonomically curved rear: a human curvature as Sony Ericsson call it. As soon as you hold the phone in your hand, you'll get the point. The handset fits your palm nice and tight and in the case of the Hazel, makes sure to slightly raise the keypad for better comfort. Nice, indeed!
The ergonomic curve and a few shared styling elements are not the only things the new GreenHeart duo has in common. In fact, both devices have the same list of features.
One thing we should note though, while we are still on the Elm. Almost the whole rear of candybar is made of metal for a very solid upmarket feel. There's a bit of metallic finish on the Hazel but the truth is it's all plastic. Real metal would've perhaps made it too heavy - the Hazel isn't really preoccupied with being slim.
It's by no means bulky though - it's just that the rear curve wouldn't have allowed an ultra slim waistline. Other than the flashy paintjob, the Hazel actually sticks to minimalist design and has an extra nice and solid hand feel and commendably comfortable handling.
Below the screen there is a neat and spacious navigation deck centered around a rectangular D-pad. Like we observed on the Elm, the layout is clean and very user-friendly.
All keys are very big and comfortable (notably larger than on the Elm, thanks to the slider form factor) and have pleasant press feedback.
The alphanumeric keypad is equally comfortable. Buttons are flat but well sized and solid to press, so typing on the Hazel is a real pleasure.
The left side of Sony Ericsson Hazel features nothing but the regular Fast Port: it seems a standard 3.5mm jack / microUSB combo is too much to ask in the midrange.
The right side of the handset is the top side in digicam terms. It hosts the volume keys and the camera button. The volume rocker has the same curved shape as in the Elm but is thinner this time and somewhat stiffer to press. The shutter key on the other hand is quite comfortable - with a soft but distinct half press for autofocus.
Backstage we find the 5 megapixel autofocus camera lens, accompanied by a LED flash. The loudspeaker grill is also here.
Removing the battery cover reveals the Sony Ericsson BST-43 1000 mAh Li-Polymer battery. It is quoted at up to 450 hours of stand-by and up to 10 hours of talk time but as you might have guessed, we won't be able to comment on those numbers in this short preview.
Nearby is the microSD card slot which is ready to accommodate cards of up to 16GB of memory.
The build quality of the Sony Ericsson Hazel seems to raise no issues considering the early stages of the phone's development. The all plastic construction is quite solid and the phone feels great in hand. The curved shape and friendly controls make it especially comfortable to handle. The smooth and solid slider run and the nice numpad are worth noting too.
Sony Ericsson Hazel comes with a 2.6" 16M-color display of QVGA resolution. The size is a serious advantage over the Elm's 2.2-incher. Hazel display is also covered with mineral glass and is said to be scratch resistant.
Dry facts aside, the screen is gorgeous: image quality is remarkable. The QVGA resolution is hardly anything to write home about but the crisp and vibrant images are what really matters here.