Panasonic Eluga Power pictures and hands-on

Minimal and smart, the Panasonic Eluga Power is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most impressive mobile phones we got our hands on at Mobile World Congress 2012.

The second in a quick succession of mobiles in what is a first foray into the European market in this space from this well-established global brand, this 5-inch, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich handset is about as sleek as they come. In a world of faceless black slabs, the Eluga Power is immediately distinctive because of its curved cross-section and the fact that there are no buttons, no switches and no ports on the two long sides whatsoever.

Instead, the volume and on/off control are switched to the rear and planted just to the left of the 8-megapixel autofocus camera's lens. How practical that positioning is remains to be seen but it's the kind of touch with which this device charms you on first meeting.

The camera itself seems good. There's no flash but you do get 1080p video recording, a few crazy optical effects, auto scene recognition, 8x digital zoom - should you really want to use it - and a front-facer for video calls too.

The only other blemishes you'll see on the exterior of the phone are the 3.5mm jack and covered micro USB port on one end. There's no hard home key and the non-soft Android buttons on the bottom of the front are touch-sensitive and so discrete that they're set to disappear into the darkness when not in use. That can be a touch confusing, which indeed was the only real downside of the Eluga Power in our hands-on time, but we're pretty sure it's something you just need to familiarise yourself with.

The star of the show for this phone has to be the beautifully clear, 5-inch LCD screen with pin sharp pixel detail, thanks to the 1280 x 720 resolution pattern. Powered by a dual-core Qualcomm S4 1.5GHz processor, it zips about from panel to panel as you cruise your way across the executive-look Android ICS experience with a Panasonic UI that's so minimal you barely notice it.

In fact, this whole experience is so pared down that it's hard to believe that the phone weighs a comparatively heavy 133g with 9.6mm profile. The plus side is that you get a sizeable 1800mAh battery inside, which we hope can offer more life time per charge than the average Android smartphone. The impressive stat that we do get from Panasonic is that it will be able to reach 50 per cent charge in just 30 minutes. Very nice.

On top of all that, like the straight Eluga (non-Power) announced earlier in the month, the new phone will be water and dustproof.

Completing the package is 8GB of internal memory and a micro SD card slot supporting a further 32GB.

Price and date when we get it.



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