The Sony Ericsson Cedar is an inexpensive, basic phone that has one great feature: 3G support.
Right now, when every phone launched seems to be a touchscreen smartphone, the Sony Ericsson Cedar manages to stand on its own as a basic, non-touchscreen phone with an alpha-numeric keypad and whose two biggest features are 3G connectivity and an inexpensive price tag.
Sony Ericsson Cedar features
The Sony Ericsson Cedar is a pretty basic phone except for its support for 3G connectivity. The Cedar has a 2.2in TFT colour screen with a resolution of 240x320. It’s pretty light at 84g and sports a normal 'candy bar' design. The Cedar also has a 2Mp fixed-focus camera with no flash. It supports 3G and Bluetooth but not GPS.
The Sony Ericsson Cedar's hardware connectivity is taken care of by a microUSB port and a 3.5mm headphones jack, and storage by 280MB of internal storage and microSD card support up to 16GB.
The Sony Ericsson Cedar also comes pre-installed with a Facebook app and Twitter and Facebook widgets that you can add to the homescreen. Other pre-installed applications include a Track ID app, three demo games and a converter/calculator among many others.
Sony Ericsson Cedar design and usability
It's been a long time since I last reviewed a basic phone with an alpha-numeric keyboard (the last being the Nokia X3, and even that one was a slider phone). So the Sony Ericsson Cedar, resplendent in its 'old' style, actually looks rather refreshing.
Sony has added the human curvature design element to the Sony Ericsson Cedar as well, meaning the phone’s back curves fit properly in the hand. Also, the keys are raised on the keypad, making them look jagged from the side - which not only results in a cool-looking design, but also aids in blind typing.
In spite of being entirely made of plastic, the Sony Ericsson Cedar feels solid and capable of withstanding rough usage.
The Sony Ericsson Cedar is generally easy to use and figure out, although it does tend to get a little sluggish under duress. The speed of opening menus and jumping between applications isn’t all that great. The Cedar also has all the requisite hardware buttons except for a dedicated hardware camera button. To aid in navigation, the Cedar also provides a handy shortcuts popup menu and task manager.
The Sony Ericsson Cedar's shortcuts pop-up and task manager
Sony Ericsson Cedar browsing and multimedia
While the Sony Ericsson Cedar means well with its 3G support, its default NetFront browser doesn’t exactly encourage web browsing. The browser is pretty bad at rendering pages and is also slow. Plus, navigating through links using the D-pad isn’t the smoothest experience.
The Sony Ericsson Cedar's 2Mp camera performs exactly the way you'd expect - it isn't the worst camera ever, but it certainly isn't very good. The images we shot with the camera had oversaturated colours and pretty low levels of details. The good news was that it performed like any 2Mp camera would, and it kept noise levels in check.
Video recording is just about average with videos that look okay but with very choppy framerates.
The Sony Ericsson Cedar is good for playing music and videos, although how many people would actually like watching videos on the 2.2in screen is anybody's guess. The music player especially has plenty of sound customisation options and also some cool themes and looks.
The Sony Ericsson Cedar has a good battery that lasts over a day of regular usage. We haven't been able to test its battery usage under 3G, though. Call quality is also really good, with the phone maintaining reception even in our basement where mobile phone reception normally goes to die.