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Panasonic Eluga review

Slimline and waterproof Android smartphone

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 8 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 4 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 540 x 960

View full specification

For

  • Slim
  • Bright display
  • 8MP camera
  • 720p HD video shooting

Against

  • Poor battery life
  • No ICS
  • Volume too low
  • Occasional lagginess

The Panasonic Eluga is the first smartphone to arrive since the Japanese electronics manufacturer announced its plans to shift over 1.5 million handsets by the end of March 2013, following its re-entry to the European market.

Originally unveiled at the company's European conference in Hamburg in February, and then formally introduced at Mobile World Congress the following month, the Panasonic Eluga dl1 is available from online retailers for around £380 SIM-free in the UK (and $700 SIM-free on Amazon.com in the US, although it isn't listed on the Panasonic US site).

This pitches the company's comeback handset against the likes of the Sony Xperia S and the Motorola Razr - two mobile phones that also boast the same sized display as the Panasonic Eluga at 4.3 inches.

Panasonic Eluga review

And, for a 4.3-inch smartphone, the Panasonic Eluga is tiny. It's not quite as slim as the 7.1mm Motorola Razr but, with a girth of 7.8mm, it has the same waistline as the HTC One S.

But, because it is around 7mm shorter and narrower, and its extra sharp curved edges bring its lowest thickness measurement down to around 3mm, it appears even slimmer than those competitors at first glance. And it's easily the lightest 4.3-inch-screen mobile phone that we've come across too, at a slender 103g.

Panasonic Eluga review

One of the key features that Panasonic is keen to push is the Panasonic Eluga's water and dust-proof skills.

It has nabbed itself an IP57 certificate, which means that it can handle a dip into water (up to 1m and for up to 30 minutes) and that dust can't enter in a large enough quantity, thanks to the gaskets and O-rings, to cause it any bother.

We didn't go the whole hog of taking it snorkelling for half an hour, but we did leave it in the sink, under a running tap, and it didn't seem to cause it any problems.

Panasonic Eluga review

On the top of the Panasonic Eluga are its only moving parts - two flaps that make way for a micro USB port and micro SIM insertion - and these seemed to keep the water out without issue.

You may have already gathered from the lack of a third flap that there's no microSD option on board - a real shame when you consider that built-in storage is a rather underwhelming 8GB.

The display, as mentioned, is a 4.3-inch one with a 960 x 540 qHD resolution, which puts it on a par with the likes of the HTC One S and the Motorola Razr, but it's not quite up to the 1280 x 720 standards that Sony set with the Xperia S.

It's an AMOLED display, which offers vibrant colours and great viewing angles, if somewhat muffled in crispness, thanks to a touch of over-saturation.

Panasonic Eluga review

The Panasonic Eluga's matt black or silver finish to its back means that it's comfortable to hold and won't suffer too much from smears and fingerprints.

The power and volume rocker button placement isn't ideal, though. They are easy enough to access if you're operating your smartphone southpaw-stylee, but try pushing them with your right hand and you're in for an uncomfortable experience.

Panasonic Eluga

The power button, especially, is a tricky little blighter. And we mean little. Sure, Panasonic's gunning for a slimline, minimalist beauty here - but would it really have hurt to make what is a very frequently used button (it also doubles as the sleep/wake one) a bit more accessible?

Panasonic Eluga review

Also on the back is the Panasonic Eluga's 8-megapixel camera lens, sans-flash, sadly, along with a notification of its NFC capabilities, which we'll come back to later.

Panasonic Eluga review

The front of the Panasonic Eluga keeps the sharp theme going - not just with the piano black 4.3-inch AMOLED display, but by almost seamlessly blending the screen with the thin bezel.

There's not really much room for anything else up front, save for the Android control buttons, a tiny Panasonic logo, a minuscule speaker grill and a titchy LED for notifications - and if that's one too many superlatives for small, we apologise, but the Panasonic Eluga's raison d'être is its minute attributes.

The Panasonic Eluga is running Android 2.3 Gingerbread for now, although a summer update to 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is promised. It runs via a TI OMAP 1GHz dual-core processor, which may have wowed us a bit more last year, before the quad-core revolution hit full wing.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in Memory8 GB
Built-in FlashNo
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, UMTS, HSPA+
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyELUGA
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedWCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100, GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraNo
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NamePanasonic
Battery Talk Time4 Hour
Screen Size10.9 cm (4.3")
Screen Resolution540 x 960
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)103 g
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Processor ManufacturerTexas Instruments
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.3.5 Gingerbread
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density254 ppi
Height123 mm
Width62 mm
Depth7.8 mm
Radio TunerNo
Battery Standby Time300 Hour
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product NameELUGA
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeOMAP
Product LineELUGA
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor TypeProximity Sensor, Digital Compass, Accelerometer, Ambient Light Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberEB-3901KDEPE
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

Waterproof Android Smartphone

Call For Fresh Style

Introducing a smartphone that embraces style and resists water: The ELUGA. Enjoy its super thin frame and big screen with 66% display area ratio. Moreover, experience its ergonomic design, which makes it easy to control everything with one hand. Packed into a super compact, simple and smooth body.

Ultra Slim, Ultra Light

Panasonic takes slim to a higher level. With its curve-edge shape the ELUGA forms a new Smartphone format, which will fit to your fingers in a nice way and suit your pocket seamlessly. Its intelligent control concept makes it easy to control everything with one hand. Smart has never been so slim! Available in classic black and silver.

Package Contents
  • ELUGA
  • USB Cable
  • Headset
  • Power Supply
  • Quick Start Guide
  • IC Tag Card