Whilst the green revolution continues to trickle its way through the tech world it has been a while since we’ve covered a product that aims to be at the top of the field in functionality and style, but still remain environmentally sound at its core so it’s a nice change to see the release of the Sony Ericsson Aspen, which aims to do just that!
Ignoring the green aspects for a moment and you’ll see that the Aspen is a QWERTY smartphone which also incorporates the ease of a touchscreen and which comes with all the functionality you’d expect from a ‘high end’ phone including the latest version of Windows Mobile.
Let’s start with the form, and on first glance it does look remarkably similar to the Nokia E71 (especially if you squint and ignore the sharper corners) which isn’t a bad thing as it is a very practical shape: the keys are well spaced out and slightly raised to aid typing, and the touchscreen whilst being on the small side will be a great help for quickly navigating around!
Moving inside, the Aspen has a 3.2 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom, multishot and smart contrast which although compared to some of the recent Sony Ericsson phones is pretty meagre is still more than adequate for most things you’d want a camera for on a smartphone!
With regards to the rest of the phone there isn’t anything that especially jumps out as out of the ordinary: you get WiFi, GPS, a whole host of pre-installed apps (Facebook, twitter etc) and of course multitasking and access to Office thanks to the fact that it’s a Windows Mobile-based device.
Not so amazing you may say, and in fairness you’d probably be right – a solid but not very inspiring phone – but that’s really ignoring the two best bits about this phone.
The first of these is the fact that it combines touchscreen and a QWERTY keyboard which really combines the best of both worlds and makes it an ideal business phone – you get the flexibility and ease of use that a touchscreen offers by being able to quickly move around the phone, and the practically of the QWERTY keyboard.
However good touchscreen keyboards get (with haptic feedback etc) I really don’t think that they will get as good as the real thing, at least not within this decade, so if you are going to be continuously writing long emails and occasionally working on documents a QWERTY keyboard is, in my opinion, the only way to go.
The second major aspect of this phone is its green credentials and it is really the main selling point that Sony Ericsson are pushing forward. The Aspen phone is the newest addition to the Sony Ericsson GreenHeart portfolio which currently includes the C901, Naite and the relatively new Hazel and Elm, and the membership to this exclusive club means that has a whole host of eco-friendly measures that make it that bit better for the environment.
Admittedly none of these are especially radical (it’s not made out of corn or anything like that) but they are measures which, as they rightly point, all make a difference! For a start the phones are made out of recycled plastic, before being covered in the friendlier waterbone paint, when it’s then packaged (using the minimum amount of course) along with the green charger and without a paper manual and shipped to you with green apps (to help reduce your CO2 emissions) and a plan to stop it ending up in landfill.
So a good all round phone – it’s a solid smartphone which although doesn’t push any technological boundaries manages to be practical, be functional and best of all allow the user to have a clearer conscience with regard to the environment!