The Sony Ericsson Elm is part of the GreenHeart series of eco-friendly phones. We take a look to see what is has to offer those who want to make a green mobile choice.
What we liked
Seeing as the Sony Ericsson Elm is part of the GreenHeart range, we were glad to see that the Elm’s eco credentials are immediately apparent. The box it comes in is tiny and there’s none of the War And Peace-sized instruction manuals that come with some phones – just the essentials. Even the small protective bag that the Elm itself comes in is made from recycled fabric, as opposed to the normal plastic.
There are other little instances where the Elm scores green points. When you unplug the charger from the phone, a little message pops up to remind you to unplug the charger from the wall and turn the mains off too. Similarly when adjusting the screen for brightness, the Elm reminds you that the higher you turn the brightness up the more battery power is consumed.
There’s also the Walk Mate Eco app. This sits on top of the homescreen and tells you how much CO2 you’ve saved by walking. We tested the app to see if it worked on a train journey and it seems to know when you’re travelling too fast to be walking.
The Sony Ericsson Elm’s 5-megapixel camera is a nice addition. It’s not the best camera we’ve seen on a phone but it’s certainly better than a 2-megapixel one. Pictures look sharp and crisp. The LED photo light means you can take pictures and videos in the dark but skin tones look a bit unnatural and overexposed with the LED on.
What we don’t like
Given the raison d’etre of the Sony Ericsson Elm and the entire GreenHeart range, we were surprised to see that there was a proprietary FastPort socket for the charger and the headphones. USB chargers and 3.5mm jacks seem to be the way things are going and eeing as the GSM Association wants all phones to have USB charging sockets, we don’t know why the Elm does come with one.
The curvature of the Elm’s back and the positioning of the keypad makes it a bit difficult to text and dial numbers. It’s not majorly uncomfortable and the keys are responsive enough but it just feels a bit awkward. We imagine that with time you could get used to it.
We found that the headphones that came with the Sony Ericsson Elm to be uncomfortable and not that great to listen to music on. Unfortunately unless you’ve got some decent Sony Ericsson headphones from your old Walkman phone you’re not going to be able to do much about this.
The external speakers are good for playing MP3s through, but the audio part of videos shot on the Elm’s camera could do with being louder. It sounds better through the headphones but most of the time if you’re playing video on your phone, it’s when you’re showing them off to your friends. Annoyingly when you go to turn the volume up, a volume level pop-up screen appears, obscuring the video that’s playing behind it.
The Sony Ericsson Elm features GPS but maps are slow to load and not particularly great to look at on the small screen. The Twitter app is also slow when it comes to displaying tweets, even over 3G and Wi-Fi.
The Sony Ericsson Elm does its bit to help to save the planet. The screen size limits the web-based features of the Elm and the GPS isn’t great but the 5-megapixel camera is a nice addition to an otherwise straightforwards and eco-friendly mobile phone.