It’s a sign of progress when we begin to look at basic looking phones and almost start to say ‘meh’ when it comes to hearing about all the technology packed inside.
This is where we’re at with the Elm, a phone that is part of Sony Ericsson’s environmentally-friendly family of handsets called ‘GreenHeart’.
From the minimal packaging, lack of a user guide (which is instead on the phone itself), eco-friendly charger and recycled materials used throughout the handset, the Elm is a phone you should buy if you want to make a difference.
You might not know much about all the chemicals and materials that are used to make a mobile phone, but given the recent boom in phone recycling services, you’re probably at least aware that it’s an increasingly important issue.
What you don’t have to do is compromise on features. The phone might look like a pretty basic, run-of-the-mill affair, but behind the mundane keypad and industry-standard QVGA-resolution display lies a 5-megapixel camera, HSPA, GPS and Wi-Fi.
And it’s not even a smartphone!
Back to basics
It’s always too easy to ignore the traditional phones when everything is going touchscreen and the race is on to develop an amazing new operating system.
The Elm uses Sony Ericsson’s non-touch operating system that has been around for years. However, that isn’t a bad thing when it has a high degree of familiarity. More to the point, there’s nothing wrong with the menu system or the way things are laid out.
The phone manages everything from email to social networking, using a new homescreen system that allows you to pop up windows for different applications. You also get a decent web browser, a number of games, Google Maps and improved geo-tagging for the camera.
The camera is also an excellent performer, with a bright flash and better controls than the Vivaz. Unlike the Vivaz, video recording is nothing to write home about, but that’s a minor issue.
And if you wish to do your bit for the environment, there’s even an app to measure your walking and show how much CO2 you’ve saved.
As almost every new phone comes out promising a rich smartphone experience, the ordinary ‘featurephone’ sector seems to be rapidly diminishing. The Elm is one of Sony Ericsson’s eco-friendly handsets, built from recycled materials and supplied with minimal packaging and a low-power charger. The phone might look basic, but there’s a top-spec camera, GPS, Wi-Fi and HSPA support. It also uses a tried and tested user interface, making it an ideal model for those people who still like a phone with a traditional candybar form factor – and real buttons.