Sony Ericsson Cedar in-depth review -

Look and feel

Although the silver plastic rear casing doesn't feel classy and the phone's curved case won't suit everyone, this is a neat, light phone

Ease of use

This phone is straightforward to use, though don't look for help in the on-board user manual - it's labyrinthine

Features

There's Bluetooth connectivity and a 3.5mm headphone jack, but don't go looking for a decent camera or sophisticated extra functions

Performance

The Cedar is responsive and efficient, but works best at basic tasks rather than surfing the internet

Battery life

The battery will last a couple of days easily, not least because the screen isn't big enough to drain it

 Sony Ericsson Cedar Review -
3

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,6/8/2011 4:50:19 PM

6

out of 10

Performance

8

out of 5

Look and feel

6

out of 5

Ease of use

4

out of 5

Features

6

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

Super-light, decent styling, great price

Cons:

Limited features, plasticky build, poor camera

Sony Ericsson sometimes seems like two companies. One makes stylish and classy Android phones under the Xperia brand and the other is more into saving the planet with its ecologically savvy Greenheart range. One is expensive and snazzy and the other low-cost. Is there nothing in between?

Design

Cedar is the latest of the tree-branded phones from the part of the company responsible for the cheaper, greener end of the market. It's light, simple and slightly tacky.

The materials are chosen for their affordability both to our wallets and the world's sustainability. And it's unquestionably not a smartphone - look no further than the launch screen. If you haven't put your sim card in before you fire the phone up, you'll see that the phone is useless without one: it can do nothing other than go into a Demo animation and warn you to put your sim card in pronto. Actually, the Demo is quite sweet, showing off the phone's Facebook and Twitter capabilities and its long-lasting battery. Though by the time the looping animation is coming round to its third time, you'll have had enough, trust us.

Green credentials

Anyway, the phone is as light as it is, and it's very light, because those eco-friendly materials are almost all plastic. As a result, it feels a little on the cheap side, especially on the silver-coloured back. But the matte-finish keys are more successfully tactile and lift the phone's quality up a notch.

Recycled materials in the phone, limited packaging and an onboard manual all help with the handset's green credentials. Mind you, the manual isn't the easiest to find your way through.

The basics

Of course, there's no touchscreen here - so there are quite a lot of keys. The numbers, of course, and the send and end buttons are where you'd expect them to be. Then there's a My Shortcuts key which is configurable, a Clear button and two soft keys beneath the display. On top of that is a direction pad which is square, with a central round button inside. Press the direction pad up from the home screen to show another slew of shortcuts in the form of widgets: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Notes and Clock. Press Show and the relevant shortcuts become part of the main screen furniture - you can scroll sideways between them all.


The phone has a 2.2-inch screen, quite spacious for a small and low priced phone, but still small enough to fill up if you want to display widgets like this and they look a little cramped. Still, some of the widgets work well, such as Facebook which lets you update your status and check recent stuff easily. The phone's browser is not good, so you may not be going to the main sites on the Cedar anyway.

Camera and audio jack

You won't have been expecting an outstanding camera on this phone, but the two-megapixel snapper, with no flash, does seem remarkably basic. Results are pretty average and low light's a no-no but at least there's the excellent Photo Fix Sony Ericsson special and a couple of clicks will let you upload your shots to Facebook, Twitter, email and elsewhere.

Other noteworthy features include the 3.5mm headphone jack. These are thankfully becoming more common on less than premium handsets, but Sony Ericsson has seemed less than keen on including such a connector, so it's good to find it here. And it wouldn't have been entirely surprising to find that a phone of this size and price managed without 3G or Bluetooth. Happily, both are on board.

The verdict

If you're after a cheap but likeable handset which performs basic tasks well and makes a decent stab at meeting social networking needs, this is a cute, lightweight handset.

David Phelan