Sony Ericsson Cedar – initial thoughts

The Sony Ericsson Cedar is billed as mobile phone for consumers looking for an easy way to stay connected at an affordable price, whilst retaining features such as easy browsing capabilities, access to e-mail and social networking sites.

Like its eco-friendly predecessors, the Elm and Hazel, the Cedar is included into Sony Ericsson ‘Greenheart’ range. This is an attempt to regain the green balance, in much the same way as car manufacturers are currently under pressure to maintain an acceptable average level of carbon emissions – throughout their various models. In this case, the Cedar is the equivalent of an ‘ecobox’ or smart car, with a view to reduce the continuous threat impact on the environment. Even with the sheer volume of handsets ending up in landfill, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

The SE Cedar is produced from recycled household plastics and without using any lead either, where there is a significant reduction in the amount of chemicals involved within the manufacturing process too. The mobile phone is also sold in compact packaging made from recycled materials, with the user manual being stored on the phone as a .pdf file instead of in printed form within the box. Even the handset’s wall plug charger is a low power consumption version, to just hammer home the overall greenness and not in an naive way. All of which is a commendable achievement, especially when you consider the general resources used to manufacture the average mobile phone these days.

However, as well as boasting ‘green’ credentials you will hardly notice the device in your pocket, as it weighs in at 84g. The Cedar is a compact phone, measuring just 111x49x15.5mm and actually appears fairly well designed from the outset. The internal memory available on the phone is only 280 MB, which can be expanded via a microSD memory card to a lofty 16GB in capacity.

SE’s green mobile arrives with some applications pre-installed for accessing popular social networking sites such as YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. In addition to accessing social networks, the Cedar is a competent messaging device. The mobile has support for push email, with multiple accounts and Instant Messaging; as well as the usual MMS, SMS and standard email access. A full music player is also onboard, with support for multiple digital music formats, including MP3, AAC, eAAC+ and more surprisingly, WAV, MP4, H.263 and H.264.

The on-board media-playback software is based upon on Sony Ericsson’s Walkman program, which offers up an above-average range of options and customisation. You’ll be relieved to find a 3.5mm audio jack, where you can choose your own headset. This is a welcomed edition to the musical prowess of the phone, as SE has used their proprietary FastPort socket in the past. Cedar’s 2 megapixel camera lacks an LED flash, which in turn produces predictably muddy and ill-defined pictures; although couldn’t expect much more for a lightweight device of this nature.

If you feel that you could live with a technologically anaemic phone to appease the environmental puritans, then the Cedar is as good as it gets in our current climate (no pun intended). However, I think you would be forgiven for considering the current myriad of competitively priced superphones before committing to such a purchase.

- B

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