A long-standing player in the Japanese smartphone world, Panasonic has recently announced its first smartphone for Western markets, dubbed the "Eluga". With a thin and light frame, a qHD OLED display and dual-core 1GHz CPU, the Eluga looks like a solid contender in the mid-range Android space. Panasonic's also brought over a couple of features which are common to Japanese phones, but rare in their international counterparts -- dust and water-resistence.
Join us after the break for our first look at the Panasonic Eluga from Mobile World Congress, including a quick video tour of the device.
YouTube link for mobile viewing
The first thing we noticed about the Panasonic Eluga was its weight -- it almost feels too light to be a fully-functional smartphone, at a mere 103 grams. It's also one of the thinnest Android smartphones we've seen, measuring 7.8mm, with only the tiniest of raised areas for the 8MP rear camera. As we mentioned, the device boasts dust and water resistance, though with its slim design and sleek profile, it's a far cry from the ruggedized waterproof smartphones we've tested in the past.
On the front, the Eluga is your traditional black slab, and the rear of the device is curved so as to fit more easily in the hand. This, combined with the soft touch plastic used, means it's easy to keep hold of despite its thinness.
Something has to give when you're creating such a thin and light device, though, and in the case of the Eluga it's the battery that's been whittled down somewhat -- the device is powered by a 1150mAh unit. Time will tell whether the phone's components are efficient enough to deliver a full day's use on a comparatively small battery.
On the inside, there's a standard set of mid to high-end smartphone components -- a 1GHz dual-core CPU, 8GB of internal storage and a 4.3-inch qHD OLED display. Software-wise, you get a slightly skinned version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which includes a neat alternative lockscreen that's activated by tracing a curved pattern on the screen. Other notables include NFC -- Panasonic's investing in smart tags, just like LG and others -- and a unique DLNA connectivity to allow "flinging" of video content to compatible displays. As with many devices launching with Gingerbread, and ICS update is promised in the months following launch.
The Panasonic Eluga is due for release in Europe starting this Spring.
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