The Sony Ericsson Elm is a new member of the Sony Ericsson Greenheart family of phones, devices that have been produced to deliver a high-quality user experience using products and materials that have a lower impact on the environment. It is encouraging to see large firms willing to show their concern about planet Earth and to take their responsibilities in using sustainable materials more seriously; as we all have a part to play in ensuring the resources we use do not cause long term environmental damage.
One of the criticisms leveled at previously launched eco-friendly devices is the fact that whilst they may well have been 'green', their mass appeal was limited due to a very low feature set. With that criticism taken onboard, Sony Ericsson has delivered a high-quality device packed with the most sophisticated technology that should appeal to a larger range of users.
We have mentioned on many occasions that the Sony Ericsson has taken a different strategy, even if not exactly unique approach to addressing modern day environmental concerns. Sony Ericsson does not really believe that solar panel technology is mature enough to reach any results of conceivable significance in practice. Therefore, instead of releasing (nice-looking) devices with arguably effective solar panels, the firm has focused on getting better at using recycled materials, decreasing harmful emissions during manufacturing, providing energy saving features and accessories like highly efficient chargers.
It is not like good old-fashioned mobile phones with buttons are going extinct - they are still the money makers. However, for devices such as the Sony Ericsson Elm sneaking into the spotlight is harder than ever - Symbians, Androids, 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.
Walkman and Cybershot 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 segmented for a different market and matching iconic, game-changing phones like the K750 and the W800 is out of the question really. However, 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 integrates ? 2.2-inch TFT screen with QVGA (240x320 pixels) resolution (supporting up to 256,000 colours, with an accelerometer for display auto rotation) that delivers relatively crisp images, although colors are just not saturated enough. The screen-display remains usable in direct sunlight, just increase the brightness to its maximum setting. The Sony Ericsson Elm is equipped with Sony Ericsson´s proprietary port, located on the left hand side, while the volume rocker and camera shutter are on the opposite. The buttons of the tactile, rubberized alphanumeric keypad are easy to press, feature proper travel and on the overall, are enjoyable to type with. This also applies to all other buttons, including the camera shutter, volume rocker and slightly overly rigid D-Pad.
The feature set on the Sony Ericsson Elm is indeed impressive. The device sports a high-quality 5.0MP built-in camera, with auto focus and an LED flash. The light can also be used for video recording in low level lighting conditions. Face and smile detection are supported, and the built-in GPS chip allows captured images to be geotagged. A full media package is available on the Elm; the music player supports various file formats, including AAC and MP3, with the video player working with MP4, H.263 and H.264. Moreover, the device also includes the Sony Ericsson favourite, TrackID, as well as the SensMe feature. SensMe is normally found on the Walkman devices, and allows playlists of songs to be created based on your mood. Music stored on your device is analyzed and selections are made based on things such as mood and tempo.
With big growth in social networking over the last 12 - 18 months, it makes sense for Sony Ericsson to enable easy access to the most popular sites via the mobile phone. Sony Ericsson has long had a blogger application that allows you to keep your blog updated on the move, and more recently included native support for YouTube, too. On the Sony Ericsson Elm, all access to these websites plus services such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace is all controlled by an onscreen widget, allowing easy access to these services direct from the home-screen of the mobile phone. Location applications pre-installed on the Sony Ericsson Elm include Google Maps, plus WisePilot navigation, both of which work well thanks to the native GPS support.
To round off the excellent credentials of the Sony Ericsson Elm, the connectivity options on the device offer everything necessary on a modern mobile phone; HSDPA is included, offering 3.5G services up to 7.2 Mbps, along with built in WiFi with support for DLNA. Bluetooth 2.1 is available on the device for local area connectivity, plus there is GPRS and EDGE. There is ample memory available on the devie, with an internal capacity of 280MB that can be expanded using microSD memory cards (not M2 cards) up to 8GB capacity.
Unfortunately, you get only one Java-based game with the Sony Ericsson Elm. We know QuadraPop quite well from previous models of the manufacturer and it might be pretty addictive if you have to cross the country on a bus. Sadly, it´s lagging and the graphics overhaul cannot account for the severe speed drop alongside of older models like K750i/W850i, etc.
Finally yet importantly, the Sony Ericsson Elm is an enjoyable mobile phone with great mainstream functionality and eco-friendly features with the top end technology. Its price tag of $240 (for pre-orders) seems fair for what you get.
Sony Ericsson Elm's main disadvantages:
• No bundled data cable or memory card
• No standard USB port
• No 3.5mm audio jack
• No DivX/XviD video support
• No camera lens cover
• No document viewer
• No xenon flash
• Kinda short Wi-Fi receiver range
• Feeble loudspeaker
Sony Ericsson Elm's features:
• 2.2-inches 256K-color TFT screen-display, 240 x 320 pixels
• Eco-friendly package and materials
• Dual-band 3G with 7.2Mbps HSDPA, 2Mbps HSUPA
• Quad-band GSM support
• 5MP autofocus camera with LED flash; geotagging, face detection; VGA@30fps video recording
• microSD card slot, 280 MB internal memory
• Built-in GPS receiver with A-GPS; Trial version of Wisepilot navigation software
• Wi-Fi with DLNA
• Stereo Bluetooth 2.1
• FM radio with RDS
• Social networking integration, widget enhanced interface
• NetFront v3.5 web browser with full Flash support
• Excellent audio quality
• Splash-resistant body
• Noise cancellation
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