November 28, 2022


Welcome to Panasonic’s first try to crack the more and more aggressive world of Android telephones outdoors of Japan. Its efforts have crystallized right into a plastic slab that had a curious attraction once we first dealt with it at Cellular World Congress just a few months in the past. We have been shocked at how snug it felt within the hand and whereas its spec sheet will not trigger any jaws to drop, there’s loads of respectable options — a 4.3-inch AMOLED show, dual-core processor and a really stable, soft-finish shell that protects that delicate Android {hardware} towards mud and water.

Panasonic’s not the one Japanese producer seeking to department out from a contracting home market, nonetheless, and now we have just a few considerations with whether or not the Eluga (£370 / $583) could make a dent in European international locations dominated by Apple, Samsung and HTC. Will it deliver the identical awkward Android skins discovered on a number of Japan-only Android telephones? Is it actually all that waterproof? Dive in after the break to see.%Gallery-155515%

Professionals

  • Fashionable, waterproof designRespectable 4.3-inch AMOLED show

Cons

  • Pitiful built-in storageUnderperforming processorBuggy softwareAndroid Gingerbread lives on

{Hardware}

Panasonic saved the design ethos easy and clear — and it is paid off. Whereas the highest and backside edges are straight, the edges gently taper from entrance to again, widening to a flat 7.8mm floor on the cellphone’s thickest level. Regardless of being mild and enveloped in plastic, the Eluga holds regular within the hand, and there is not any unseemly creak — presumably because of the non-removable battery and waterproof shell. The matte plastic covers the whole lot of the again, whereas each the highest and backside have a glossier end. Alongside the underside edge, it is interrupted solely by an area for the decision mic. On the highest edge are waterproof covers for each the micro-USB port and micro-SIM card, whereas the headphone socket, situated between the 2, is left open to the weather.

Not that it issues all that a lot, because the Eluga borrows one among Japan’s extra in style cellphone tips by waterproofing the entire system — supplied you retain the micro-USB and micro-SIM covers closed (one thing the cellphone will consistently remind you of if you boot it up). Whereas it stands as much as rainfall, spillages and the compulsory throw-the-phone-into-a-bowl-of-water check, the system will not operate underwater. The truth is, any water on the touchscreen floor will work together with the system — irritating if you wish to use the system in a watery setting, however the handset will not less than survive the encounter. The non-replaceable battery is an inadequate-sounding 1,150mAh — extra on that in our battery check part. Nevertheless, the largest oversight is on-board storage, with simply over 4GB of useable house. There isn’t a choice to increase this by means of microSD storage. It is a fairly miserly providing and we quickly stuffed it up with a handful of Spotify playlists, apps and digital camera pictures.

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The cellphone’s face is (practically) all display, with a comparatively minor black trim outlining the 4.3-inch AMOLED show. This contains the one speaker that doubles because the ear piece, situated above the display. It is not the best-sounding smartphone speaker and cranking up the quantity on our newest Spotify playlists resulted in heavy distortion and a typically tinny sound — though that is what headphones are for. Three capacitive buttons are tightly grouped alongside the bottom of the cellphone. Panasonic has gone with a three-button structure just like Samsung’s worldwide handsets, with keys for menu, dwelling and navigating backward. Every is signified by an icon and a light-up dot, though you will have to recall which dot is which in low-light settings, because the icons themselves stay unlit. The steeply contoured sides are dwelling to each the ability button and quantity rocker, however they did not appear as awkward because the Xyboard 10.1’s energy button. As an alternative, they felt simply barely accessible. For us, it is nonetheless preferable to inserting the buttons alongside the highest edge– particularly on a bigger-screened system just like the Eluga. The 8-megapixel autofocus digital camera stood out from the largely clean again, with no companion flash. NFC is neatly printed under the lens and there is even a spare card included within the field to check out the function.

Display

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Alongside that stylish design, the AMOLED display stays among the best options of the Eluga — regardless of its PenTile nature. The 4.3-inch, qHD (960 x 540) show proves that Panasonic’s heading in the right direction with its cellphone screens. Whereas it finds itself squarely in the course of the smartphone display league, it is a assured first effort. Viewing angles are robust and the AMOLED know-how retains these blacks black, however anybody with PenTile points will discover the identical off-white hues are nonetheless right here.

Digicam

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That is the place the drawbacks start. Regardless of Panasonic’s heavy involvement with cameras, the Eluga bears all of the hallmarks of a newbie smartphone maker. There isn’t any flash, and whereas eight megapixels has turn into the usual for middleweight Android telephones and above, we have been underwhelmed with the outcomes and pissed off with the UI. Our photographs have been noisy even in respectable lighting, and lacked the pop of extra established smartphone households. Following a common development with latest Android units, there is not any devoted digital camera button and no manner of locking focus and publicity to reframe pictures.%Gallery-155683%

The digital camera UI itself is quite unwieldy. Panasonic gives up a collection of point-and-shoot options, together with a magnificence mode (which detects faces and provides some smoothing and further coloration), a collage mode that may break up a single body into three completely different pictures and a panorama mode. Sadly, the digital camera app would neglect your settings — together with the beautiful vital focus mode you have chosen, usually defaulting to a face detection setting. Luckily, there’s a touch-focus function, and the digital camera is fast to regulate to lighting variations. The Eluga can seize as much as 720p video that, whereas able to auto-focus, lacks any handbook management when you’re rolling. The result was comparatively crisp video and focus is mostly fast to regulate, whereas the colours typically matched their actual world topics.

Efficiency and battery life

The Eluga runs on a fairly dated 1GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4430 processor — a Motorola staple — alongside 1GB of RAM. Whereas it is sufficient to energy by means of most smartphone duties, it is actually not essentially the most succesful and does not maintain a candle to Qualcomm’s newest delights or NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3 — one thing clearly demonstrated in each our benchmarks and real-life testing.

Panasonic Eluga

HTC One S

GSM Galaxy Nexus

Quadrant v2 1,756 5,053 1,993
Linpack single-thread (MFLOPS) 42.1 103.9 42.9
Linpack multi-thread (MFLOPS) 64.6 222.2 69.4
NenaMark 1 (fps) 49.1 60.8 53.0
NenaMark 2 (fps) 26.3 61 24.3
SunSpider 9.1 (ms, decrease numbers are higher) 4,157 1,743 1,985
Vellamo 691 2,452 1,159

Swiping between dwelling screens feels twitchy, because the wallpaper stutters alongside behind widgets and apps. The online browser additionally underwhelms — it is frustratingly gradual and has a curious knack for switching off the display when leaping to the browser from different apps. Regardless of a manufacturing facility reset, we could not get the cellphone to keep away from doing it –and this can be a system that is already been on sale for a number of months. The cellphone would typically seize up throughout use, with the touchscreen changing into utterly unresponsive — not a superb signal on an OS as mature as Gingerbread.

Panasonic’s choice to make such a slight cellphone comes at a value — and that is battery life. The 1,150mAh capability actually does not sound like a lot and in our assessments we did not get a lot. Working fixed video playback with WiFi on and the brightness fastened at 50 p.c, the Eluga might solely muster up a paltry 4 and a half hours of playback. Panasonic tried to ameliorate this with a comparatively swift charging operate — you’ll be able to count on the cellphone to re-juice from empty to full in lower than three hours. With extra common use we discovered ourselves nervously reaching for the charger midway by means of the day. We might simply about handle a day on a single cost, however we actually did not really feel assured spending a complete day trip of the workplace and not using a standby charging choice.

Software program

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The Eluga messes up a number of issues right here. In addition to the efficiency points outlined above, Panasonic added some heavy-handed touches to the usual Android Gingerbread expertise. The app drawer is a large number, organizing your applications into pre-installed, downloaded and up to date divisions. There isn’t any computerized choice to reorganize them alphabetically or in any wise order — it is a wholly handbook affair. Personalizing the taskbar on the homescreen is equally complicated and laborious. There’s additionally a dearth of widgets, together with any inventory electronic mail choices, whereas a few of them, just like the digital clock, are simply plain ugly, with oddly spaced characters and a extreme lack of creativeness.

It is also price noting these revisions come atop an older Android launch. Whereas we’re promised an replace to Android 4.0 this summer season, now we have an more and more brief fuse resulting from producers persevering with to promote new units with outdated Android variations. The cellphone does add just a few further software program options to strengthen its providing, although, together with a light-weight NFC software, which lets you use the pre-packaged card to launch an app or alter the cellphone’s homescreen once they come into contact. There’s additionally an eco mode, which makes an attempt to automate these settings changes made to desperately eke out an extended battery life. You’ll be able to set the extent at which the cellphone switches to the power-saving mode, and even alter what that mode includes, from dimming the show to switching off pointless wi-fi connections. Anticipate to set the automated adjustment to 40 p.c — we reckon you are going to want it.

Wrap-up

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We have been hoping for just a bit extra. The Eluga does not embarrass itself, with a delicate, interesting design and a succesful display. However whereas it could possibly shrug off watery risks, it could possibly’t do the identical to severe software program hiccups and lacking components — like respectable media storage, a digital camera flash and (at this worth) a extra competent processor. We needed to welcome a brand new contender to a really hectic Android smartphone battle royale, however, in the intervening time, now we have an also-ran. Panasonic has multiple likelihood to get it proper — hopefully it is discovered just a few classes right here.

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