Is there really such a thing as an eco-friendly mobile phone? Truth be told whenever something gets popular it becomes marketable, and so Sony Ericsson have jumped on the green bandwagon with their GreenHeart range, which includes the Sony Ericsson Cedar along with the Sony Ericsson Elm, and the Sony Ericsson Hazel. So what makes the Cedar “eco-friendly”? Well, it’s constructed from mostly recycled materials and it uses less power than most other mobile phones. Unfortunately it also offers fewer features than most other mobile phones. Still, it may be a step in the right direction and it can be picked up for a reasonable fee, so let’s take a closer look.
Design (4 out of 5)
The Sony Ericsson Cedar is actually quite an attractive handset. It is a candybar style phone with a nice ridged keypad and you can get it in black and silver, or black and red. It is fairly big at 111 x 49 x 15.5mm but it is also light, weighing in at just 84g. The back, features the Sony Ericsson logo and the top and bottom ends curve slightly. It doesn’t feel like the sturdiest bit of kit ever made, but it’s passable.
The screen is a 2.2 inch TFT LCD with a 240×320 pixel resolution. You’ve got your classic directional pad below the screen with a select button in the middle, and you’ll find the standard Start call button on the left and End call button on the right. The fact the keypad is ridged makes texting much easier, which is just as well because there’s no QWERTY keypad or touchscreen option. You’ll also find a microUSB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack for listening to music along with a volume rocker.
User Interface (3 out of 5)
The Sony Ericsson Cedar is fairly easy to navigate around, but it is far from the fastest experience – although it does feature some snazzy transition animations. You can customize the home screen, and it has a pretty typical grid layout. There has been some attempt to tie in social networking,g and the Facebook client works quite well. The web browser is slow though, despite the 3G support, and the small screen is far from ideal for web surfing. Compared to Android this is poor.
Features (2 out of 5)
So what have we got? Well there’s a 2MP camera with video capture capability, but no LED flash. It’s barely passable in good lighting conditions, but forget about using it in low light. Video quality is QVGA at 15 FPS.
Thanks to the Sony Ericsson Walkman software, the media playback is good with plenty of options. You won’t want to watch video on a small screen like this, but it can certainly double up as an MP3 player, as long as you use headphones. Although with around 280MB of built in phone memory you’ll probably want to get a microSD card too (up to 16GB is supported). There is also a stereo FM radio with RDS.
Web browsing is awkward and slow, and some of the widgets are just plain rubbish. There is also support for Bluetooth 2.1 which some people will find handy, but there’s no Wi-Fi or GPS.
The award for the lamest feature goes to the video call mode. You may be imagining FaceTime but the Sony Ericsson Cedar has no front facing camera, and so their solution is for you to take a photograph of yourself that gets used for the duration of the call. In other words it’s not video call at all.
There is also support for some simple games and all the usual basic features, including a phonebook, calendar, calculator, call log and so on.
Performance (3 out of 5)
The Sony Ericsson Cedar supports 3G. For phone calls it performs admirably, but it would not be anyone’s first choice for web browsing. The battery is a Standard Li-Po 1000mAh, and you’ll get up to 5 hours of talk time on 3G, and over 400 hours on standby. You can extend it by turning off 3G and using 2G. That seems pretty decent, and it certainly uses a lot less power than a high end smartphone, but it’s not revolutionary in green terms.
Verdict (3 out of 5)
You can’t expect too many features on a phone that is trying to conserve power, and let’s remember that this is also a phone that is being offered at a reasonable price. Having said that, there are a number of budget Android phones available now, and they are all better than the Sony Ericsson Cedar. If you’re looking for a basic phone, then the eco-friendly credentials might be enough to persuade you to make it this one.