“Playing the offline-only-availability card, Panasonic recently launched the Eluga Note, which is a mid-range phablet packing in decent specifications”
Probably the one turn off that’s common about many VFM smartphones these days is their limited availability. For instance, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (review), Lenovo ZUK Z1 and the LeEco Le 2 are some of the most popular smartphones in the Rs 10,000 – 15,000 segment, but we keep encountering people every other day who want to get their hands on one of these but can’t, mainly because of their limited stocks. Some of these devices are still following a flash sales model of selling. And then there are people who do not prefer buying stuff online altogether. Surprising as that might be, it’s still a fact. And by targeting the same audience, brands like Micromax, Panasonic, and Intex enjoy a healthy consumer base in India. Playing the offline-only-availability card, Panasonic recently launched the Eluga Note, which is a mid-range phablet packing in decent specifications. We played with it for a while, and here are our first impressions.
To start with, let’s talk about what all the retail box of the Eluga Note offers. You can slide out the black cardboard box carrying the device from a thin cardboard sleeve featuring all the product information.
The lid of the box can be flipped open to reveal the handset. Removing the cardboard tray atop which the phone rests, you find a silicone back cover, a pair of in-ear headphones, a micro-USB to USB cable, a two-pin wall charger, and some documentation.
The Panasonic Eluga Note is a 5.5-inch smartphone sporting a full HD display. Under the hood, it gets an octa-core processor ticking at 1.3GHz, and aided by 3GB of RAM. Storage wise you get 32GB of built-in expandable storage, out of which 25GB is available for personal use. The Eluga Note sports a 16MP primary camera, with triple LED flash. There’s a 5MP secondary shooter as well. The phone runs Android Marshmallow with Panasonic’s FitHome UI on top. You also get usual connectivity features like 4G LTE with VoLTE, two SIM slots, A-GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. A 3,000mAh battery backs the Panasonic Eluga Note.
In terms of look and feel, the Panasonic Eluga Note stands slightly apart from the smooth full-metal body-toting phones in the market with its textured cross-hatched back panel. It's not outright stunning, just different. The phone does not offer any trace of metal on its body. The camera module which protrudes a tad bit, along with the triple-LED flash module, make for the main elements you'd find on the rear panel of the phone, apart from branding and regulatory info.
The port placement is pretty much standard. The Eluga Note offers decent overall build quality, and can be operated easily with one hand. However, despite its textured finish, it feels a little slippery.
The display looks pretty sharp, colours appear vivid, and the screen brightness is more than adequate. Since the display is not very reflective, the Eluga Note can easily be operated outdoors. We just saw a hint of blue while viewing the screen from extreme angles.
We tried out Asphalt Nitro on the phone, and while it's a little early to comment on performance, did encounter slight stutters. However, switching between apps and navigating through screens was smooth. We’ll have more to say after our full review.
The UI on the Eluga Note has been tweaked quite a bit. The app drawer, instead of opening as a completely new window, opens as a menu which spreads halfway through the screen. The company claims to have to gone for this layout to enhance the ease of use with a single hand. While all the apps do lay within the reach of your thumb, the interface might need some getting used to. The phone comes with a bunch of third party apps as well… Amazon, Dailyhunt, Flipkart, Midnight Poker, Peel Smart, Saavn, and Truecaller, to name a few.
The default camera app offers regular options, although the layout is slightly tweaked. The shutter speed was decent, and the image we clicked showed good details and colours. We’ll be testing the shooters in different lighting conditions, before giving out our final verdict.
The smartphone offers Intelligent Standby Power Saving mode, and a Battery Saver mode, to help you extract the most juice out of the battery. Although, 3,000mAh itself sounds enough for you to easily use your phone all through the day.
At Rs 13,290, the Panasonic Eluga Note competes directly with the likes of the Moto G4 Plus 16GB (review), which offers stock Android, and a fingerprint sensor as well. There’s also the Lenovo ZUK Z1 (review), which offers a full-metal body. However, as we mentioned earlier, the Panasonic Eluga Note is available in the offline market, which is a huge plus for the smartphone. We’ll be assessing every aspect of the device to put out our final verdict as to how it fares as a daily driver, so keep watching this space.