“As an eco-friendly phone Elm ticks all the boxes. Elm’s crammed with connectivity and has plenty of features, but its poor performance as an internet phone may put some people off”
Elm is made from recycled plastic
You wouldn’t know just from looking at it, but Sony Ericsson’s (SE) Elm is an eco-friendly mobile phone.
For starters, Elm has a recycled plastic body and SE promised that fewer harmful chemicals, such as lead, were used in its construction than would have been for a normal mobile phone.
Because SE has done away with the traditional paper manual (Elm comes with en “e-manual”), the phone also comes in a very small cardboard box that includes a specialist low power consumption charger.
Elm’s green credentials are all very commendable and they alone could be enough to sway eco-activists.
The phone feels very cheap – though not poorly constructed, but don’t let this put you off because it’s very lightweight, has a comfortable shape and offers solid features.
Elm’s features span two categories: eco-friendly and normal.
A selection of eco-friendly applications come pre-installed on Elm and while most are very basic apps that you’ll only ever use once, Green Calculator is handy because it helps calculate how much CO2 your daily/weekly/yearly activities and travel pump into Earth’s atmosphere.
Elm sits snugly in the palm
Supporting Elm’s solid selection of normal applications – which I’ll come to shortly – is a wide choice of wireless connection technologies that include 3G, Wi-Fi, and Assisted GPS (a faster variant of traditional satellite GPS).
A-GPS, for example, made it really quick to find my location on Elm’s Google Maps application. The phone’s lack of a touchscreen meant navigating around London was a little tricky because I was forced to use the phone’s physical buttons, but I quickly got used to pressing ‘1’ to zoom in and ‘3’ to zoom out, for example.
Facebook is supported by Elm through a dedicated application. I’ve used lots of mobile phone Facebook variants in the past and I can honestly say that Elm’s is the best.
Elm Facebook makes checking your wall, updating your status and browsing photos a breeze. The app even puts a shortcut on Elm’s main menu giving you direct access to friends’ status updates.
Surfing the web is possible on Elm, just about. But I quickly became infuriated with being forced to navigate through pages using a cursor. The phone’s small 2.2in screen doesn’t help either.
One of Elm’s strengths is it rear-mounted camera: a 5Mp shooter that captures good quality still images and videos.
Aside from adjusting image brightness, the camera doesn’t offer many user-changeable features. However a dedicated camera button on one side of the phone makes shooting while holding the Elm in landscape mode possible.
A user-facing camera also features on Elm, making the phone handy for ad-hoc video conferences.
SE has installed its standard ‘Play Now’ music and video options onto Elm, so the phone can also function as a cheap iPod Touch.
Data is stored onto Micro SD cards, but because the phone uses SE’s odd proprietary headphone socket instead of the industry standard 3.5mm jack you’ll be forced to listen using the cheap headphones included.