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Sony Ericsson Elm Review

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Interface and Functionality:

The Sony Ericsson Elm is a feature phone, running the manufacturer´s well-known Flash UI interface for non-smart devices without touch-screen.  There are four preloaded themes to change the overall look of menus and screens. All of them are nice and feature animated home screens, but “Melody” tends to make the phone sluggish, though. The standard visuals and effects do not lag and menus are visualized quickly. We can safely assume the Elm is on the snappy side of life, because it remained responsive despite all of our attempts to bring it down to its knees by multitasking, with the audio player, web browser, Facebook widget and GPS-based location service software running simultaneously. There are no interface novelties, aside from the new widget system, but the device comes preloaded with a truly nice application pack for a simple mainstream feature phone.

Home screen - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Main menu - Sony Ericsson Elm Review

Home screen

 

Main menu


The Sony Ericsson Elm sports standard organizer, identical to the versions running on previous models of the manufacturer, i.e. proper (for a feature phone) calendar, alarms, calculator, torch, etc... nothing coming out of left field here. The phone book can store up to 1,000 separate entries with 7 numbers per person, i.e. no more than 7,000 telephone numbers, which should be more than enough even for bubbly socializing paragons. Speaking of them, such people would be thrilled to know the handset features Facebook application that is relatively functional (status updates, messages, comments, uploading and browse of pictures, be it your own or belonging to your buddies). There are five home-screen widgets, for Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Calendar and Walk Mate Eco and they are not just shortcuts, but dedicated applications. The three social networking widgets come with functionality that should be enough for people on the road. The calendar widget simply visualizes a list of upcoming events, while the Walk Mate Eco counts your steps and tells you the amount of CO2 saved by your choice to walk instead of drive. Finally, you can choose to activate any number of these at the same time, but only one is visible on the screen at a time and you need to scroll horizontally to switch between them.

The Sony Ericsson Elm comes with standard messaging functionality with texts visualizing in threaded style. It´s a good thing the client handles multiple accounts, recognizes major email providers and sets everything up for you automatically. As we have already mentioned, typing with the rubberized alphanumeric keypad cannot compare to a proper QWERTY layout, but is still comfortable and fast enough.

The Sony Ericsson Elm is equipped with Access Netfront web browser that, although not bad on the overall, fails miserably at complex pages like ours with their elements scattered around the screen in a quirky way and animations not visualizing at all. You are able to watch YouTube videos
(there is a dedicated YouTube application), but that´s pretty much all you get in terms of streaming video. The 3G and Wi-Fi functionality guarantees that most pages will load quickly and navigation is smooth on the overall. Navigating pages with the D-Pad is not exactly handy.

Web browsing with the Sony Ericsson Elm - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Web browsing with the Sony Ericsson Elm - Sony Ericsson Elm Review

Web browsing with the Sony Ericsson Elm


How does the Elm stack up against its rivals in terms of entertainment? It comes with radio with RDS, although the function fails to recognize channels at times. The TrackID audio recognition service (based on Gracenote Mobile MusicID) is really capable and didn´t fail us even on a single occasion, no matter what we threw at it.

The Media menu hosts all multimedia playback applications. The Photo Gallery allows for browsing of pictures, Facebook albums, your camera album, photo feeds, web albums, etc.

The Music player is Sony Ericsson´s standard application available on other feature phones of the company and delivers a number of filtering options (by artist, album, genre, year, individual tracks). It also integrates SenseMe functionality to sort tracks by mood tags. All told, the music player is capable enough for everyday use, comes with four pre-installed skins and pleasing audio playback, similar to that of mainstream MP3 players. It´s not that the boxed headset is really bad or anything - it produces relatively balanced sound, the thing is it doesn’t pack much punch really, so we found ourselves pumping up the volume to its maximum setting on our daily commutes on the otherwise extremely noisy London tube. On the other hand, plugging in one of our mainstream headphone sets (Shure SE210) yielded great results and we were able to relish really pleasing sound, with clear voices and trebles and proper basses. The player comes with several equalizer presets that cannot be tinkered with, i.e. customized to your liking and we cannot recommend any of them save the MEGA BASSsetting. The loudspeaker is average at best. It´s neither exceptionally quiet nor loud and the sound it produces is overly sharp.  

Music player - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Music player - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Music player - Sony Ericsson Elm Review

Music player


The Sony Ericsson Elm features a Video Player that, unfortunately, we couldn’t really see in action. There are three short clips preloaded onto the device and they play smoothly, plus the application supports YouTube content and camera videos, but that´s pretty much all. Only H.264 videos with MP4 container are recognized and played if the resolution does not exceed 320x144 pixels. It’s not that we expected DivX and Xvid functionality from a mainstream feature phone, plus watching videos on a 2.2-inch QVGA display seems acceptable at a gunpoint only, but it would have been nice.

The Sony Ericsson Elm integrates a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and flash. Its interface features a relatively rich set of options, like shooting modes, scene presets, focusing mode (including macro), timer, metering, white balance, effects, etc. The quality of snapshots taken outdoors and in proper lighting conditions is not halfway bad – with enough details, properly saturated colors (and occasional purple fringing). The overall quality of indoor snapshots is not halfway bad as well and the device fails to produce passable results in utter darkness only. The video capture capabilities of the handset are decent as well and you can take your own clips at a resolution of 640x480 pixels, 30 frames per second and with acceptable overall quality.

Camera interface - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Camera interface - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Camera interface - Sony Ericsson Elm Review

Camera interface


Samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Elm - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Elm - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Elm - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Elm - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Elm - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Elm - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Elm - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Elm - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Elm - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Elm - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Elm - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Elm - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Elm - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Elm - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Elm - Sony Ericsson Elm Review

Samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Elm


Strong light - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Medium light - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Low light - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Darkness - Sony Ericsson Elm Review

Strong light

Medium light

Low light

Darkness



Unfortunately, you get only one Java-based game with the 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.

Wisepilot Navigation - Sony Ericsson Elm Review
Wisepilot Navigation - Sony Ericsson Elm Review

Wisepilot Navigation

The handset comes with a relatively large number of pre-installed applications (for a mainstream feature phone), including AccuWeather, Calendar Wallpaper (weekly Calendar view), Checkbook (basic income/expense tracking), Grocery List (supports multiple shopping lists, but is too sluggish and unhandy), Neo Reader for camera-based bar code identification that despises Tesco alcohol deals, 3D Clock (world clock), YouTube player and two eco-friendly applications. EcoMate is for all of you who don´t mind a daily quiz on eco topics or getting bits of wisdom like “turn off the tap to save water”. The application gives you the opportunity to choose one of the two available screen pets (Panda or Sunflower) and brag about their well-being, just keep in mind their health depends on (and is exceptionally sensitive to) the answers to the above-mentioned quiz, so you better be careful. Green Calculator is a program that estimates the amount of CO2 emissions you are responsible for, based on your own lifestyle, activities and household habits. The program also provides tips on how to become a better inhabitant of the planet and slash on the staggering amount of pollution all of us cause.

Sony Ericsson´s new Greenheart family member comes with capable navigation. The A-GPS itself is quite snappy and managed to pinpoint our location in less than a minute on a cloudy day (without internet connection) and almost instantaneously in assisted mode. The interface features a dedicated “Location Services” menu that hosts all relevant applications. “NearMe” provides information on nearby restaurants, pubs, cinemas, museums, etc. and happens to be pretty functional indeed. For an instance, you can get an exhaustive list or cinemas in the area, all of them with relevant street address, walking distance, “what´s on” listing and telephone number to book tickets (can be dialled from the program). You also get Wisepilot Navigation (30-day trial), GPS Tracker and Google Maps. We like the former, since it´s truly capable, although you will have to fork out extra cash to register the application. Google Maps is not bad either, although it requires uninterrupted internet connection, so you might want to sign up for an unlimited traffic plan with your carrier to avoid breath-taking monthly bills.

5 Comments
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posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55

1. J!EN (Posts: 3; Member since: 27 Sep 2008)


Does Elm has splash resistance?

posted on 12 Oct 2010, 15:03

2. penyuwan (unregistered)


Yes..

posted on 11 Jan 2011, 01:03

3. Dsat (unregistered)


Here are the pro's and cons after using it for a month
Pros-
>>GOOD camera- crystal clear pics during the day- nice macro. The night shots are blurred and grainy(i think all cellphone cams will have that problem). Amazing number of features/options for using the camera.(picture quality compared against a HTC desire)
>>light and easy to use- you don't have to break your head about trying to figure out what's where. very intuitive.
>>The keypad is nice and big for fat fingers like mine.
>>Decent battery life- for talking about two hours a day+ 10 pics a day+half an hour on the net- your battery will last you for around two days.

Cons-
>> Slippery- your phone slips out of your hand very easily if your hand's cold or remotely wet.
>>OS hangs sometimes.
>>The search for phone numbers is kind of slow- you have to patiently wait till it recognizes alphabets.
>>No games.
>>when you receive a message it gets partially displayed.This is awful since anyone looking at your phones gets to read it(and there's no way to disable this).
>>you can't send a number from your address book as part of a text message- you have to send a business card separately.
>>The opening of the gallery gets slower as you take more pics- gets irritating after a bit.


Verdict- if you want a good camera phone, a numeric keypad and a candy bar design- this phone's the best in the market for you. For any other features- you may want to rethink.

posted on 30 Jun 2011, 05:31

4. Bhushan (unregistered)


I have been using ELM for almost 1.5 years. Its a nice phone not outstanding among other phone with same prize tag, but the feel of phone is nice camera and sound can be better as compare to Ericsson standard. Overall a phone for Sony Ericsson lovers not for others. I have with my phone...

posted on 07 Jul 2011, 11:07

5. Rhianna (unregistered)


This phone sucks.the camera is good but a bit dark & the sound from the loudspeaker is awful. The only good thing about this phone is the keypad,wifi & gps.

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Display2.2 inches, 240 x 320 pixels (182 ppi) TFT
Camera5 megapixels
Size4.33 x 1.77 x 0.55 inches
(110.0 x 45.0 x 14.0 mm)
3.17 oz  (90 g)
Battery1000 mAh, 10 hours talk time

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