Sprint celebrates Earth Day with the LG Optimus Elite

LG Optimus EliteIt’s Earth Day this Sunday, and Sprint has announced an Android smartphone ideal for anyone wanting to do their bit for the environment, while still buying some new tech. Step forward the LG Optimus Elite, which despite being a low-end device for those on a budget, still manages to pack in some interesting features.

Let’s look at its “green” credentials first. The box it comes in is fully recyclable, while the chassis has been constructed using 50-percent recycled plastic, and the device has been given various stamps of approval to show it’s free of nasty, hazardous materials.

The Elite will replace the outgoing LG Optimus S, a particularly uninspiring Android phone released back in 2010. Thankfully, the Elite has been improved in every way.

Powered by an 800Mhz single-core processor, it’s never going to win any speed trials, but it should keep the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system ticking along happily. The 3.5-inch screen’s 320 x 480 resolution isn’t ideal, but in line with other, similarly priced devices.

The rear-mounted 5-megapixel camera has a flash and can record video — but don’t expect it to be super-high resolution — and the phone will come in both silver and white.

Best of all, LG has blessed the Elite with an NFC chip. This means the phone is compatible with Google Wallet, plus it can control NFC accessories and converse with NFC tags.

It’s priced at just $29.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate, plus a two-year contract. Virgin Mobile USA will also be selling the Optimus Elite if you’d prefer a little more freedom. It’s also the network’s first phone with NFC and Google Wallet support.

The Optimus Elite will go on sale on Earth Day, April 22