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Panasonic Eluga Review

Verdict

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Slim design
  • Compatible with Lumix cameras

Cons

  • Ships with Gingerbread
  • Not the brightest screen

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £380.00
  • Waterproof (IP57 certification)
  • 4.3in 960 x 540 pixel OLED screen
  • NFC-ready
  • 1GHz dual-core CPU
  • Android OS

The Panasonic Eluga smartphone represents, according to its maker, an “Elegant, lucent, gateway”. While our brief hands-on with the Android-powered smartphone can’t confirm each of these claims, we were pleased to get some time with the handset, whose April release will see the manufacturer return to the smartphone market.
Panasonic Elgua 7

Any misconceptions we held after hearing about its shock-resistant and waterproof credentials were blown away by its slim good looks. It’s easily pocketable at 123 x 62 x 7.8mm and light at just 103g.

The 4.3in capacitive touchscreen is not made of Gorilla Glass but stood up to its toughened claims when our esteemed counterparts from the international media began dropping it from waist height onto the floor while Panasonic product managers looked on nervously – before returning it to the relative safety of a fish tank full of water. Despite rough treatment from our heavy-handed competitors, the phone remained defiantly intact. It’s certified to the IP57 standard, which means it can withstand immersion in water to 1m for at least 30 minutes and is virtually dust-proof.
Panasonic Elgua 9

While not the brightest, the OLED qHD screen has a resolution of 960 × 540 pixels, which, given its slender frame, Panasonic claims is the largest display-area-to-volume ratio on the market. It’s a line used to excuse not offering a 720p screen like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, but does tell you one thing – the Eluga is incredibly slim. Panasonic Elgua

The phone will ship with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) but will get an update to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) in the summer. It hosts all the bells and whistles you would expect from a smartphone, including microUSB, GPS and an accelerometer. Battery life is a claimed 300hrs on standby with 240 minutes talktime.

The Eluga features a 1GHz dual-core processor with only 8GB storage on bnoard and with no option to expand this relatively meagre offering. The phone features an 8MP camera and can connect to a compatible Lumix camera over Wi-Fi, to relay the camera’s shots to the handset.

The era of the fully connected home isn’t quite here yet, but the Panasonic Eluga brings it a step closer. It offers a DLNA media streaming interface, tailored for use with the Panasonic Viera
Connect service, built into many Panny TVs. With it, television content can be streamed from TV to phone
and vice versa. With decent native video codec support and 8GB of internal memory, the Eluga has the power to double up as a decent home media player.

Panasonic Elgua 12
The Panasonic bonuses don’t end there. The Eluga can be used as a remote
control for a number of the manufacturer’s devices, from Blu-ray players
to surround sound systems, something the corporation’s European Chief
Executive and Chairman Laurent Abadie says makes the phone the
“centrepiece that will connect all Panasonic devices”.

Panasonic Elgua 5
The phone is also NFC ready. Near-field
communication technology isn’t much use yet but will one day let you pay for things with your mobile – assuming the economy holds out that long.

Panasonic Elgua 6

Verdict

The Panasonic Eluga marks an impressive return to the smartphone market for the manufacturer. It’s a sleek-yet-rugged Android phone that is waterproof, dustproof and light with some reasonable specs to boot. It’s not the fastest or brimming with pixels, but owners of Panasonic TVs will love the Eluga’s multimedia capabilities.

We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.

Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.

Used as our main phone for the review period

Reviewed using respected industry benchmarks and real world testing

Always has a SIM card installed

Tested with phone calls, games and popular apps

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