Sony Ericsson Cedar 3 Stars

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Sony Ericsson designs phones for two ends of the market. The high-end Android phones (sold as Experia) come from the same stable as the Greenhart brand, which appeals to the eco-aware consumer. The former comes at a suitably flashy price, while the other appeals to buyers on a budget. So how about a device that comes in somewhere in between these two brands?

Appearances

That’s where the Sony’s latest entrant onto the market, the Cedar, comes in. It comes from the section of Sony that produces the cheaper, green range. It’s simple, won’t weigh down your pocket – and is just a bit tacky.

It’s been made from materials chosen for their green credentials and budget price, and it has no pretensions about being a smartphone. Just fire up the launch screen and that will be made clear. If there’s no sim card in the handset, all you’ll see is the Cedar’s demo animation and a message to insert the sim card. We quite enjoyed the demo – which makes the user aware that the Cedar offers Twitter and Facebook functions, as well as a long-lasting battery. We have to say though, that after the third time of the repeating animation, we’d had enough of it.

Eco friendly

The Cedar is certainly no heavyweight; it’s very light thanks to the fact that it is mostly made from plastic. The downside is that it makes it feel cheap – witness the plastic back of the handset. Mind you, we were quite pleased with the matte keys, which add a bit of class to the proceedings.

There are three things that make the Cedar eco-friendly – it comes packed in minimal materials, it is made from recycled materials, and its manual is included on the phone. It might not be wasting paper – but it is so complicated we’d suggest you don’t bother with it, unless you really need to.

Bare necessities

At this kind of price you’re not going to see a touchscreen, of course – but there are lots of keys to make up for that. You will of course find send and end buttons and number keys. Plus, there are customisable shortcut keys as well as a pair of soft keys placed beneath the display as well as a Clear button. The square direction pad features a round button in its middle, and can be used to take you to the homescreen. Here you’ll discover yet more shortcuts in the guise of widgets. Included are widgets for Twitter, Facebook, Notes and Clock. These shortcuts can also be included in the main screen – just press Show – then the user can scroll sideways between them.

The screen comes in at a compact 2.2inches – pretty decent for a handset of this size and at this price, but it soon gets packed full of widgets. Having said that, we must say we really liked some of the widgets – updating status and checking up on recent updates is simple using the Facebook widget. Net surfing is not the handset’s strength, so don’t expect to be doing a lot of web browsing.



Sound and vision

To be fair, at this budget price, no one could expect a flashy camera, but we still were disappointed by the two-megapixel offering on the Cedar. The basic snapper produces pretty average images, and should not be relied on in low-light situations – however the bonus is that Sony has included its great Photo Fix. Uploading your images to the likes of email, Facebook and Twitter is a simple process.

If you like to use your phone as a music player, you’ll be glad to see that Sony has thought to include a 3.5mm headphone jack – many low-price handsets boast these now. Mind you, we’ve seen phones in the price bracket without either 3G or Bluetooth, and the Cedar has the benefits of both.

The verdict

Anyone who wants a basic phone, which tackles basic functions well, and comes in at a decent price, should take a look at the Cedar. It’s a pleasing handset, which tackles social networking functions and won’t weigh down your pocket.

Pros:
Super price; far from weighty, aesthetically pleasing.
Cons:
Plastic chassis, lacking features, unsatisfactory camera.
Rating:
  • Look and Feel 4 Stars
  • Ease of use 3 Stars
  • Features 2 Stars
  • Performance 3 Stars
  • Battery life 3 Stars

Final verdict: 3 Stars

Review by Mobile Choice