“Despite its glass sandwich design, the Eluga U tips the scales at 141 grams, making it great for single-handed usage”
As a brand, Panasonic has been quite popular amongst consumers in India since a very long time. But it's relatively a new player when it comes to the smartphones category. After the launch of its first smartphone, the Panasonic P51, the brand has quite a few phones in its portfolio now. Now it has announced the launch of the Eluga range of smartphones in India, with the Eluga U smartphone coming soon in stores across the country.
The Eluga devices try to break the monotony of a standard design and offer something fresh and exciting, at least from the brand’s perspective. We got a chance to experience the new Eluga U smartphone during the launch event that took place in Delhi and here are our first impressions on the device along with a few words on its first-hand usage experience as well.
Eluga stands for ‘Elegant User Interface Gateway’ as per the company, but in essence, the Eluga range of devices are designed around offering the best user experience while not missing out on the functionality bit. Keeping this in mind, Panasonic has based the Eluga U around a 5-inch display size. The design emphasises on single-hand utility of the device majorly.
The design of the Eluga U is identical to the older Google Nexus 4, only slimmer and much lighter. The smartphone has an overall weight of 141 grams, which as per unibody glass sandwich design standards is quite low. This has been made possible by using plastics to contain both the front and rear glass panels, as opposed to metal and glass used by manufacturers like Apple and Gionee for the iPhone 4 and Elife S5.5 respectively.
Although Panasonic has emphasised on the single-handed utility of the Eluga U, the device does miss a few parameters. For instance the power key and the volume rocker are way out of the reach when using the smartphone with one hand, unless you have really long fingers. Additionally, most users would need to use the 5-inch device with both hands to operate it comfortably and avoid any kind of damage which might arise because of dropping it while trying to use it with one hand.
However, the smartphone is a classic example of quality craftsmanship and offers a great look and feel. At the same time, it's sturdy as well. The device gets rubberised plastic all around the centre, which allows for better grip and confidence while handling it. The 5-inch, 720 x 1080 pixel resolution display is protected using the third generation of Corning’s Gorilla glass for protection against scratches and accidental knocks.
Under the hood, the Eluga U hides a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU clocked at 1.2 GHz powering its modified user interface based on Android KitKat 4.4.2, optimised for single-handed usage. For supplementing this, there is 2GB of RAM that imparts better multitasking and app execution ability to the device. Internal storage is pegged at 16GB with the option of expanding it to an additional 32GB using a microSD card.
For imagery, there is a 13-megapixel camera provided at the back with a 2-megapixel fixed-focus camera on the front for selfies and video calling. The quality of the camera seems okay at this point, though we will reserve our judgment for the detailed review that will follow soon.
In essence, the Panasonic Eluga U is a good-looking and lightweight Android smartphone that has been priced at Rs 18,990, at which it competes with devices like the Micromax Canvas Knight (review) and the Gionee Elife S5.5 (review), which also feature a similar glass sandwich design... the latter being the slimmest smartphone in the world. However, for non glass-sandwich design based smartphones, there is plenty of competition for the Panasonic Eluga U especially from devices like the Moto G (review), which is now priced Rs 2,000 cheaper than before, and the newly-launched Xiaomi Mi3 (review), offering much better hardware at a much lower price point. Nevertheless, these are just the first impressions, and a full review of the device in the coming days should help you decide if the Eluge U is worth your money or not.