Design and Looks
You could call the Elm a phone with a bar form factor but it is curved. In addition, the curvature is not geometric- it is thicker towards the bottom. Sony Ericsson calls this design 'human curvature' and rightly so as it fits snugly in your palm, like the back of a person's hand. At the front, the phone is flat and the entire body is splash resistant. The phone is also light and compact for the features it packs in which is a noteworthy achievement. The design is both aesthetic and ergonomic and we cannot sing higher praises than that.
The display at the front is reasonable for mid-range SE handsets and we've definitely seen better ones on other phones from the company's line-ups. We only wish it were a little bigger as 2.2-inch these days isn't much. The D-pad and alphanumeric keypad below this screen are some of the best we have seen on a handset. The controls on both, the soft-keys cluster and the alphanumeric keys are curved in a convex shape that greatly improves touch-orientation. The keys also respond with a definite click which offers good feedback as they respond with definite clicks. The unique shape of the Elm dictates that it is heavier at the bottom so this leads to a comfortable and balanced handling.
This phone may not be projected as a camera model but we feel the placement of the camera key could not have been any better- it is at the lower half of the phone's right side and responds with a definite half and full click- half for focus and full for image capture. The only bad thing we can say about the phone's design are the fast port which should have made way for a USB port instead, and the fingerprint magnet matte plastic on the front fascia.
The phone is powered by the Flash UI we see on many Sony Ericsson handsets. It is faster than before (thanks to better hardware) and features a face lift. Like most Sony Ericsson handsets, the Elm sports the Activity menu which manages multi-tasking among other things. This Flash Light themed UI also houses the accelerometer controlled Media Center that is a one-stop access for the entire phone's media functions. There is also a slight lag built into the Media Center so that it does not play up too often every time you move the phone. Another update this UI has received is heavy social-networking integration with popular sites like Facebook, twitter, MySpace and YouTube. They can be accessed through the appropriate widgets and clients on the homescreen.
The phone's 5MP camera is one of the best units we have ever have had the pleasure of using. It's worthy of the Cyber-shot name even though it belongs to the GreenHeart line. The camera interface also has many imaging options like ISO setting, metering modes and other options including smile shutter, face detection, auto-rotate, macro-mode and cell-ID geotagging. Video is also satisfactory as it is recorded at VGA resolution at 30 frames-per-second. There is also a dedicated YouTube client to upload your videos.
The Sony Ericsson Elm is another fine stab at the GreenHeart line-up. Like the Hazel, the Elm not only sticks to its environment friendly commitment but also manages to pull a few tricks that you'd never expect a 'green' phone to manage.
- Unique human curvature design with splash resistant body
- 2.2” 256K colours TFT display over QVGA resolution
- 5MP camera with autofocus, LED flash and cell-ID geotagging
- Video recording at 30 frames-per-second
- GPS receiver with A-GPS and Wisepilot navigation
- 280MB internal memory
- Flash-based UI
- Social networking integration with Facebook, twitter, MySpace and YouTube
- Hi-Fi Wireless Headset with FM Radio MW600
- Snap-on Speaker Stand MS410
- Noise Cancelling Headphones HPM-88
- Bluetooth Noise Shield Handsfree VH700
- Bluetooth Car Handsfree HCB-108