Sony Ericsson Elm review

Adding a dash of eco-appeal to a decent phone

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Our Verdict

A compact and environmentally friendly phone that delivers a good performance for the price

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 280 MB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 10 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 240 x 320

View full specification


  • Eco-friendly
  • Wi-Fi and HSPA
  • A-GPS and sat nav apps included
  • Decent 5MP camera
  • Generous feature set for price


  • Average sized display
  • No 3.5mm socket or adapter
  • Mediocre earphones supplied
  • Limited storage
  • No USB cable

We've seen plenty of the recent razzle dazzle in the mobile phone market revolving around tech-loaded touchscreen smartphones like the HTC Desire and their eye-catching budget feature-phone stablemates like the Sony Ericsson Vivaz.

By contrast, handsets that are marketed primarily on their eco-friendliness have, so far, been a relatively unimportant sideshow. And the few choices that have been available have mostly been worthy-but-unexciting designs with modest features, like the Nokia 3110.

Sony Ericsson has taken a step towards adding a bit of eco-appeal to its range with the release of the Elm. The Sony Ericsson Elm is part of Sony Ericsson's new GreenHeart portfolio of mobile phones that major on their green credentials.

Sony ericsson elm

This includes CO2-light production – it's made from recycled plastics and is free from hazardous chemicals – and comes with a low power consumption charger, reduced packaging, some eco-aware apps and an e-manual on the phone instead of a printed guide.

But instead of a low-key set of features and a bland design, Sony Ericsson has produced a handset that has distinctively curvy bodywork that chimes with a credibly-attractive features run-down.

Sony ericsson elm

Catering for eco-conscious mobile buyers who don't necessarily want a bare-bones austere phone, the Sony Ericsson Elm arrives with built in Wi-Fi and A-GPS technology, HSPA high-speed mobile network data capability, a 5-megapixel camera and a full complement of multimedia features.

While it doesn't offer touchscreen manipulation, the Elm does offer plenty of functionality for a conventional candybar handset – and there isn't a huge premium to pay for its eco-awareness.

Sony ericsson elm

It's initially available on pre-pay from between £120-£200, depending on network and retailer, or is free on contract deals.

Design and handling

From the front, the Sony Ericsson looks like a regular kind of candybar handset, with an unassuming matt black front panel.

The side and rear view is where you get the bodywork flourishes – it has an elegant convex curve bowing along the silver back panel and edges that give it a smooth, classy feel that works well with the workmanlike front furniture.

Sony ericsson elm

Measuring up at 110 x 45 x 14mm at its thickest, and weighing 90g, the Elm feels slim in-hand and pretty lightweight.

The Elm is kitted out with a large numberpad with rounded convex buttons that are tidy to look at and easy on the fingers.

Sony ericsson elm

Its display is an average Sony Ericsson mid-level 2.2-inch QVGA (240x320 pixels) 262K-colour LCD, so is smaller than you'll find on the average touchscreen device, but it's adequately bright and clear enough without really wowing.

The buttons are familiar Sony Ericsson, with an efficient rectangular central navigation D-pad flanked by more comfortably curved buttons.

There's a pair of softkeys, Call and End buttons plus a Clear key, and an Activity Menu shortcuts button that fires you straight into a tabbed list of useful shortcuts to functions and apps (such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi), browser bookmarks and other information.

Sony ericsson elm

Although it comes with decent music player software, Sony Ericsson hasn't built in a standard 3.5mm headphone socket on this model, relying on its usual proprietary multi-connector socket on the side.

Sony ericsson elm

That means the plug in connector for the in-box earphones is relatively bulky and awkward compared to other more widespread connector alternatives – and it's not so easy to upgrade to higher quality headphones.

A camera button is included on the side, along with volume keys, while the camera lens peeping out of the back panel is accompanied by a small LED flash.

A quick flip open of the back cover reveals a MicroSD slot – cards of up to 16GB can be slipped in to supplement the 280MB of onboard storage. No card is supplied in-box, however, and the back panel can be fiddly to take off.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCellular Phone
Network BandQuad Band
Wireless LANYes
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported16 GB
Built-in Memory280 MB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourMetal Black
Brand NameSony Mobile
Battery Talk Time10 Hour
Product ModelElm
Screen Size5.6 cm (2.2")
Screen Resolution240 x 320
Weight (Approximate)99 g
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS, WEEE, ENERGY STAR
Maximum Video Resolution640 x 480
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height110 mm
Width45 mm
Depth14 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time430 Hour
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product NameElm Cellular Phone
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer
Manufacturer Part Number1234-9386
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Enjoy Mozart in the park. Watch blooper videos on the train. Rewind and relax as you please. And the Sony Ericsson Elm is great for work, too. It's a noisy world out there. With the Sony Ericsson Elm, you no longer have to scream to make yourself heard. The Noise Shield filters out the sound around you. Work and play, combined and intertwined? Facebook is close at hand. And so's your email, in case your colleagues need you. Play your part. Show you care. The Sony Ericsson Elm is a GreenHeart phone, made of recycled plastics and free from hazardous chemicals.

Limited Warranty2 Year