By May 25, 2010

Sony Ericsson Elm Review

Elm-mainAs usual Sony Ericcson are concentrating on the low end devices as well as the top end ones. The new Sony Ericsson Elm is placed mid way in my opinion. Its a basic phone but with some reasonable specs.

The Elm comes from Sony Ericssons ‘Green Heart’ range meaning the device is eco friendly. I would imagine that most people would probably not consider this as an option when buying a new phone but who knows, I could be wrong (again!)

Read on to find out if the Elm would be a worthy choice for a new phone.


What’s in the box:

  • Device
  • Battery
  • Wall Charger
  • USB Cable
  • Headphones


The Ten Second Review:

Device: Sony Ericsson Elm

Cost: Form £124.95 PAYG and from free on contract

Summary: A traditional style phone with some nice high end features thrown in for good measure.

Best of: Connectivity, Sat Nav, Apps

Worst of: Expensive online downloads, small soft keys.

Buy it now from: Various


Sony Ericsson Elm Specification:

  • 3G: HSDPA 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 2 Mbps
  • Size: 110 x 45 x 14 mm
  • Weight 90 g
  • Display: TFT, 256K colors
  • Size: 240 x 320 pixels, 2.2 inches
  • Accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate
  • Speakerphone
  • Internal Memory: 280mb
  • MicroSD up to 8GB
  • Wi-Fi
  • Camera: 5MP, Autofocus, Flash
  • Geo-tagging, face, smile detection, video calling
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • GPS with A-GPS support; Wisepilot navigation
  • Java Games




The left side of the phone houses only the Sony Ericsson USB port.


Sony Ericsson Elm left side


On the right side is the camera button and up/down volume rocker.


Sony Ericsson Elm right side


Both the top and bottom of the handset are flush with no buttons or other gubbins.


Sony Ericsson Elm Bottom


On the back of the Elm you will find the camera lens and flash.


Sony Ericsson Elm back


The front is typical candy bar style.


Sony Ericsson Elm front



  • 3G/WiFi
  • WisePilot
  • Built in Facebook, mySpace and Twitter apps



  • Screen size
  • Small soft keys
  • ‘PlayNow’ expensive



The Sony Ericsson Elm is very much a traditional type of feature phone and it feels like it. Its lightweight, fairly thin and slim in width so it feels pretty good in the hand. It does feel a wee bit flimsy though. Build quality feels okay only time will be the real test.

Although the number keys are a decent size I do feel a little let down by the soft keys and call send & end. They just feel a bit too small. The D-Pad in the centre seems to work very well and you get almost a proper click when you use it.


Upon turning the device on for the first time you are greeted with the option to switch the device into normal or airplane mode. I like that.

Once up and running you have three onscreen options which are controlled by the soft keys. The left hand key jumps you into your contacts. The right hand one into a Google search and the centre D-Pad button takes you into the main menu.

Beneath the call send & end keys are a further two buttons. On the left is a shortcuts menu and the right one is a cancel key.

A nice feature which I just stumbled upon is found by pressing the D-Pad upwards. This allows you to set up features on the homescreen which can then be toggled left and right. These are calendar, facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Walk Mate Eco. This is great for easy access. More on the apps later.

The shortcut key under the call send button has a few options. Initially it shows you a ‘new event’ tab but there are three other tabs next to it. These are running apps, My Shortcuts and Internet. The shortcuts and Internet (bookmarks) can be customised, once again giving you quick access to what you want to do.

The main menu key within the D-Pad presents you with 12 icons. These can be seen within my unboxing video.

So lets have a look now at the apps and features within the Sony Ericsson Elm.

Twitter: Initially when the Twitter app is on screen you have a section at the top for adding a quick Tweet. I like this bit but under that you are shown a tweet.  The problem I have here is that the tweets you see are not from your friends. As far as I could see they were totally random which is no good to anyone! Pressing the option key lets you go deeper into the app and this is where you can tweak the settings and get rid of the random Tweets. Once you de-select global and do select friends you are back to normal and no more randoms.

Like most Twitter apps you have the options to view your mentions, direct messages, favourites etc. Although the on screen text is small it’s not a bad little app. Especially on a phone like this.

The Facebook app was also quite impressive. Like the Twitter one it works just like the Facebook apps on other platforms. Nice work Sony Ericsson.

I didn’t test myspace as I don’t use it anymore. The walk mate eco app is basically an electronic pedometer. It records your daily steps and then tells you how much CO2 you have saved by walking. Handy I suppose if you are going on a diet.

Within the main menu is an icon called Play Now. This connects you to an online store where you can buy games, applications, wallpapers, music, ringtones and themes. Did I test it out? NO! I was not prepared to pay the prices they were asking. £2.00 for a picture that flashes. No blooming way. I could Google it! £4.50 for a game. I don’t think so when I can can get a better game for free on my iPod Touch. This section is clearly targeting kids but I’m afraid it’s a rip off. Shame on you Sony Ericsson!

Browsing the internet on the Elm was surprisingly nice. To me it felt like I had travelled back about five years in time to before I started using smartphones but performance wise the browser was ok. Using the D-Pad to control an onscreen arrow was quick and easy. Having Wi-Fi built in was a big plus as it gives you a faster download speed than relying on 3G. Mind you it’s a bonus to have 3G also. Even some smartphones these days are lacking it.

Messaging on the Sony Ericsson Elm was not too bad. For me, doing any sort of messaging on a traditional phone keypad is a nightmare as I have used a full QWERTY keyboard for so long. The Elm does allow you to set up an email address so you can use email as well as SMS & MMS. Nice.

Listening to music on the Elm was better than I thought. The reason I say this is that I have used a couple of their Walkman devices and didn’t think the quality was anything special. It wasn’t amazing on the Elm but is was more than acceptable. The supplied earphones feel pretty cheap and lightweight, although deliver a reasonable sound. The speaker on the device is nice and loud and I can just see the kids walking down the street blasting their dance tunes out. Great!

Onto the camera. At 5mp the camera on the Sony Ericsson Elm is average. As we all know now its not the megapixels that count but the optics inside. As you will see in the samples below the camera in daylight conditions was not great. It was better though in the dark when I used the flash. Anyway, photos you snap with the Elm will be good enough for uploads to Facebook and Twitter.

The video camera was pretty standard and as expected. Looks great on the phone but once on the PC the picture is grainy.

1 2

Sony Ericsson Elm camera samples


Having WisePilot on the Elm is a massive bonus. If you have not heard of it before it is a turn by turn navigation programme. I have used it on other Sony Ericsson devices and it works a treat. The only critism i have of it on the Elm is that the screen is not the biggest so using it in the car as your sat nav would not be the best experience.




The Elm wouldn’t be complete with all the usual things that come with a Sony Ericsson device. Calendar, timer, stopwatch, torch, calculator just to name a few.



Considering I was not really looking forward to reviewing the Sony Ericsson Elm I was quite surprised how much I liked it. It’s certainly not a phone I would use but there is a huge market for phones like this and if you are in the market for a feature phone and want a proper keypad instead of a touch screen then you could do a lot worse than trying the Elm.  Nice effort Sony Ericsson.

Posted by: James

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

Five year veteran of the site. BlackBerry specialist, but experienced in most operating systems. Enjoys flower arranging and cross stitch.
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