With smartphones getting ever cheaper, the market for so called feature phones is rapidly dwindling. That said, if your priorities are still call quality, battery life, and ease of use, then something like the Sony Ericsson Cedar might be right up your street. Selling for around £50, it undercuts even the cheapest smartphones by a considerable margin, though currently isn't widely available on network deals.
The form factor of the Cedar is as classic as they come, with a 2.2in screen sitting above a cluster of navigation controls and a 12-button keypad. Dimensions are 111 x 49 x 15.5 mm so it's around 10mm shorter and narrower than you’re your average smartphone, though not the slimmest device going. Thankfully it's nice and lightweight at just 84g. Despite this feather-like leaning, the plastic body feels nice and solid with little discernable flex.
Styling is never likely to be a strong suite at this price but as these things go, the Cedar looks very nice. You can get a few different coloured backs – though they seem pretty rare – but we have the silver version here. The gentle swoop it creates along the phone's side along with the overall curve of the back looks elegant and simple. Also, both front and back have a matt finish, which gives the overall look a muted feel and should help keep the phone looking good for longer than glossy rivals, as scratches won't show up as badly.
There are no immediately obvious causes for concern when it comes to connectivity either, with a headphone jack up top, microUSB on the left edge, and if you prize the back off you'll find there's a microSD card slot as well. You don't get a card in the box but it'll support up to 16GB ones. It's also worth noting that there is a volume control on the right edge, as these can sometimes be omitted on cheaper phones. Sadly, it's a little fiddly so is difficult to operate blindly.
On the back is a camera but at only 2-megapixels and without autofocus or flash, it's next to useless in anything less than bright sunshine. This is what we'd expect for such a budget phone though.
The phone's screen is a 2.2in colour LCD with a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels. This actually means it packs in the same number of pixels as a number of budget smartphones, but thanks to its size it looks considerably sharper. Inevitably it's only so much use for watching video or browsing the web but otherwise it holds up well with punchy colours and decent viewing angles. The tough and perfectly flat plastic finish means it should resist scratches well and doesn't pick up reflections as much as more flexible, wobbly examples.