After impressing with the Eluga Arc smartphone, Japanese company Panasonic has come up with a big-battery phone called the Eluga A2. It is priced at 9,490. We take a look at whether the rather pleasing design and the gamut of features make this phone worth your time and money.

Design: Hefty but good-looking

The Eluga A2 looks more like a 5.5-inch smartphone than a 5-inch one. The bezel is a bit too wide and the attempts to mask it by putting a black strip around the display do not necessarily work. The smartphone tips the scales at 167g which is not bad for a big-battery phone. The volume rocker and the power/screen unlock button are placed higher up on the side panel and so are not accessible without shifting the phone a little.

There is no doubt that the Eluga A2 excels in terms of the amount of grip available to you thanks to the finish, and the rather pleasing looks that hide the bulk well. The brushed matte finish on the plastic back panel almost looks and feels like metal. It also feels good in the hand.

The phone supports micro USB and a 3.5mm jack. The lack of fingerprint sensor is surprising considering that it is no longer a premium feature and is available in smartphones selling at less than 7,000.

Display: Good for reading and watching movies

The 5-inch display has a healthy screen resolution of 1280x720p. The display looks crisp but the colours looks slightly washed out in photos and videos. Visibility from odd angles is good which makes reading and watching movies fun. The display smudges a lot, though. The navigation keys are integrated within the display which means you end up with slightly smaller than 5-inch screen.

Software: Unique dual UIs

Panasonic Eluga A2 runs the older Android 5.1 (Lollipop) version of Android with two separate user interfaces. There is an Android interface which looks and functions exactly like a plain Android interface while the secondary interface is a custom UI called Fit Home which offers some interesting customisation options. Here you can switch to a single-handed mode with the size of the app drawer reduced to half the screen. You can arrange apps in the order you prefer and you can apply new themes to change the look and feel of the interface. While the Android launcher was smooth, the Fit UI feels a little buggy and still needs work in terms of overall optimization.

Performance: Works smoothly until stressed

The phone is powered by an entry level MediaTek MT 6735P quad-core processor which powers several budget smartphones in the range of 4,000 to 15,000. Paired with 3GB of RAM, the phone was able to handle individual apps, tasks and ordinary games well. Even when we had more than 8 apps running, it worked smoothly. However, its not cut out for heavy games and showed significant lags with heavy games.

The phone offers 16GB of internal storage which is expandable to another 128 GB via a micro SD card. It cones with dual micro SIM slots and they support all 4G networks and VoLTE (voice over LTE) technology.

Battery: Good but not the best

The smartphone’s key highlight is the 4,000mAh battery. Even with moderate use the battery gives a day and a half at most which is not bad but we were expecting more out if it. This could also be because of less than perfect optimization of the software running on the phone. Future updates could solve this.

Camera: A mixed bag

The 8-megapixel camera impresses in terms of detail of reproduction and sharpness in outdoor conditions. Colour reproduction is a bit inconsistent. Colours look pale and due to poor contrast levels brighter colours don’t really stand out from the rest. Low-light and indoor shots are mostly washed-out and noise-ridden. The 5-megapixel camera is wide and can take good-shots if the lighting is good.

Colours look pale and due to poor contrast levels brighter colours don’t really stand out from the rest.
Colours look pale and due to poor contrast levels brighter colours don’t really stand out from the rest.
Low-light and indoor shots are mostly washed-out and noise-ridden.
Low-light and indoor shots are mostly washed-out and noise-ridden.

Verdict

Panasonic Eluga A2 is notable for its big battery, unique user interface and good looks. You can get all of these and a little more in the Lenovo Vibe P1M ( 7,499) at a lower price. In case you want a phone with a bigger display, better battery, superior camera and better performance you can check out the new Asus Zenfone Max which is selling at 9,999.

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