Sony Ericsson Hazel review: Earth, wind, green heart

GSMArena team, 20 May 2010.
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FM radio with RDS and TrackID

The integrated FM radio of Sony Ericsson Hazel has memory for 20 stations and supports RDS. It has a nice interface and makes great use of the TrackID music recognition service. The radio can be minimized in the background much like the music player but offers none of the fancy fullscreen graphics the player does.

Sony Ericsson Hazel Sony Ericsson Elm
FM radio interface

TrackID is accessible through its original location in the entertainment menu. It also offers the online search option. It allows fast search in the entire database for artist, album, title, and lyrics.

Superb audio quality

Unsurprisingly the audio quality of the Sony Ericsson Hazel is identical to the one of its bar-shaped brother, the Elm. The handset performed excellently in each and every part of our traditional tests, recording some of the best results we have seen.

The frequency response is perfect for the entire audible range, the greatest deviation being hard to detect even in lab conditions. The signal-to-noise ratio is also excellent and so are the dynamic range and the stereo crosstalk.

The distortions are also neatly kept under control and if it wasn't for it being slightly on the quiet side we would pronounce the Hazel as the perfect portable audio player.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Sony Ericsson Hazel+0.03, -0.09-87.387.10.0049 0.016-86.8
Sony Ericsson Elm+0.02, -0.09-87.287.00.0054 0.019-85.9
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Pureness+0.03, -0.09-86.786.60.0058 0.017-86.1
Sony Ericsson Vivaz+0.39, -1.94-86.285.70.011 0.143-85.7
Sony Ericsson W910+0.25, -1.25-81.582.70.00710.028-81.9
Apple iPhone 3GS+0.01, -0.05-92.192.10.00350.011 -95.0
Sony Ericsson W902+7.31, -2.18-81.784.10.0039 0.020-85.4

Sony Ericsson Hazel
Sony Ericsson Hazel and Elm frequency response graphs match perfectly

You can find more information about our audio quality test here.

A remarkable 5-megapixel shooter

The Sony Ericsson Hazel has a 5-megapixel camera capable of producing images at a maximum resolution of 2592 x 1944 pixels. The handset is equipped a LED flash, which also serves as an auto-focus assist light.

The 5MP autofocus camera offers a lot of extra features such as smile shutter, face detection, auto-rotate, macro mode, spot metering, image geotagging, etc.

Sony Ericsson Elm Sony Ericsson Elm
Sony Ericsson Elm Sony Ericsson Elm
Cyber-shot v2.0 camera user interface • the Multi Menu settings

The camera toolbar at the bottom gives instant access to shoot mode, scenes, picture size, focus, flash, self-timer, metering mode, white balance, effects, and settings Multi Menu. The Hazel doesn't have a manual ISO setting.

The focus mode has an extra feature – Face detection. The face recognition system allows you to simultaneously track as many as 3 faces but focus is locked on the one that's closest to the center of the frame when the image is captured.

Using Smile Shutter is easy – to activate it you press the camera key all the way down and release it. A small on-screen blinking yellow icon indicates that the mode is on and the phone will automatically snap the photo as soon as it "spots" a grinning face.

GPS geotagging is available too. Just remember it’s assisted lock so it involves a small amount of data traffic.

The dedicated macro mode in the Hazel allows you to take images from as close as 10 cm.

Image quality

The Sony Ericsson Hazel has strong imaging credentials. The solid image quality compares favorably to the top 5-megapixel cameraphones on the market. The photos have pleasant colors and look very sharp, with the noise well under control. The amount of resolved detail in the center of the frame is excellent, comparable to the best in class – the Sony Ericsson C901 and the Nokia 6700 classic. Unfortunately the Hazel suffers from corner softness and the amount of resolved detail falls drastically towards the edges of the frame.

Sony Ericsson Hazel Sony Ericsson Hazel Sony Ericsson Hazel
Sony Ericsson Hazel Sony Ericsson Hazel Sony Ericsson Hazel
Sony Ericsson Hazel camera samples

Synthetic resolution

We also snapped our resolution chart with the Sony Ericsson Hazel. You can check out what that test is all about here.

Sony Ericsson Hazel Sony Ericsson Hazel
Sony Ericsson Hazel resolution chart photo • 100% crops

Video recording

Of course, the Hazel is also capable of shooting video, and it actually does that quite well. The Hazel captures VGA videos at 30fps (stored in mp4 format). The LED flash can be used in video mode too.

The video quality and the resolved detail look good, but the compression sometimes is too high. Still the captured videos are mostly satisfying and that’s more than we expected from a Sony Ericsson feature phone.

Here is a sample video for you to check out.

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