Hands-on with Panasonic’s elegant Eluga [MWC 2012]


Some phones are built around hardware, others are built around beautiful design. The best combine both. Panasonic has taken a big step forward with the newly announced Eluga, and we had the opportunity to check out the handset on site at Mobile World Congress. Almost immediately the phone’s sharp yet elegant form calls to mind a sense of class you don’t see too often in an Android handset. The already thin 7.8mm Eluga appears thinner still thanks to an ergonomically curved back that tapers at the edges. But for as light, thin, and elegant as the phone appears, it feels equally solid in-hand.

The Eluga features a 4.3-inch qHD display (960 x 540), 8GB of onboard storage, and an 8MP camera. A dual-core 1GHz processor seems a bit underwhelming for such a well designed handset, but it holds its own behind a modestly customized build of Android 2.3.5. Panasonic is promising Ice Cream Sandwich as an update over the summer. One catch to the ultra-thin design of the Eluga is a non-removable 1,150mAh battery. This seems a bit skimpy on paper but it’s impossible to tell with only limited hands-on time.

Another design quirk is the placement of the on/off/standby and volume rocker keys. Rather then being positioned on the top or next to the screen, the fall closer to the back of the handset. The positioning is ergonomically fit for the taper of the phone’s back casing, but  reaching for the buttons comes off as a bit unnatural.

As with nearly every phone originating in Japan, the Eluga is fully waterproof. Go ahead and take it in the shower, drop it in the toilet, make a call from your surf board. OK, it’s not exactly encouraged to douse the device in buckets of water, but it isn’t going to fall down to a bit of H2O. Check out the video above to see the Eluga take a dripping and keep on kicking.

The Eluga gets other features you might expect on a phone designed with the Japanese population in mind, including the ability to use the phone as a remote control for a television set and NFC support. Panasonic does plans to bring the Eluga to a handful of European countries, but there is no word on a release in North America. The company has expressed interest in expanding to more regions, and with a phone like the Eluga they definitely have the chops. In a crowded mobile market it’s not always as easy as it sounds.

Is the phone perfect? There is room for improvement. Would you look extra suave slipping it out of your pocket? You better bet on it. A beefed-up variant of the device, the Android 4.0-powered Eluga Power, has been announced though it sacrifices some of the sleeker design elements to house Qualcomm’s new 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 platform, a bigger 1,800mAh battery, and a 5-inch display size.

Kevin Krause
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  1. I didn’t see a flash for the camera??

    1. It doesn’t have one, but didn’t get a chance to test the camera out too much

  2. oh nice!! i’ll write a post on my italian blog: http://www.androidevice.net

  3. Beautiful phone. Reminds first gen me Sony Androids.

  4. thin, sexy, waterproof.  Cant wait for waterproof to become standard on high end phones.  Wishing my galaxy nexus was…

  5. When will Panasonic bring the Lumix phone to the states?

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