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Panasonic Eluga Power : Hands on with waterproof 5in handset

28 Feb 2012
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Panasonic doubles size of Android range in one week with larger Eluga

We're not too sure about the name, but we always take notice when Panasonic launches a new product. Last week it announced its first Android smartphone - the Eluga - and at MWC this was quickly followed by a new model - the 5in Eluga Power. As well as being rather striking to behold, the stand-out feature of both handsets is that they are waterproof.

BEER? NOT A PROBLEM.

Panasonic has some experience in this area, stemming from its Toughbook range of laptops. While those are aimed squarely at professionals working outdoors, the idea of a waterproof smartphone has a far wider appeal.

Panasonic Eluga

Here's the Eluga completely immersed in a small bowl of water

Dropping your phone in a puddle, the bath, or a drink is far from unheard of. As long as it survives the fall itself (it's sturdy-feeling, but not certified shockproof) it can manage a full hour underwater with no ill effects. We checked with Panasonic's technical staff and, apart from some stickiness, they assured us the handset was beer-proof as well.

During submersion you can't actually use the phone, as the capacitative screen can't function underwater. But then we can't see many people needing to do this anyway. Once out of the water you just wipe it dry and it's good to go.

Panasonic Eluga

Waterproof, yes. Chunky, no.

What's amazing is how little effect the waterproofing has had on the appearance of both handsets. They are svelte and neat-looking, completely unlike the rather bulbous underwater cameras we often see. The port doors themselves don't look very waterproof, but we guess they must be sealed internally as well in case of leakage.

POWER UP!

Of course all of this applies to both handsets, so back to the new Eluga Power. 5in handsets have proved popular of late, with the 5.3in Galaxy Note and 5in LG Vu both garnering a lot of attention. Panasonic's take is far more straghtforward though, with no stylus or odd screen aspect ratio, waterproofing aside of course.

Panasonic Eluga

The Eluga Power running Android 4.0

The larger Eluga's 5in screen is an LCD, rather than the regular Eluga's OLED example, this means it sacrifices contrast, though it does have a 1,280x720 HD resolution. It's pretty compact too with a thin screen bezel and overall dimensions of 136x70x9.6mm.

Panasonic Eluga

Inside its SnapDragon S4 1.5GHz processor is a big step up over the OMAP4430 1GHz chip in the regular Eluga. There's 8GB of internal memory plus a micro SF card slot. It's not the most thrilling handset, but it's a good alternative for those who prefer a larger screen.

SCUBA-DROID

The first Eluga will be launched in April in Germany and should reach the UK soon after. However, it will be shiping with Android 2.3.5 till an update in the summer. The Eluga Power won't ship till the summer, but will come with Android 4.0 from launch. We look forward to dropping them both into our pints in the near future.

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