The Panasonic Eluga A3 Pro shows the phonemaker's grasp of the market, but to take on the Chinese rivals it has to offer more
Panasonic is trying to make inroads into the budget segment with a wide range of smartphones with the pure Android experience and battery life that can be considered dependable too. The company also plans to launch up to 11 smartphones by the end of the year. The latest in the line-up is the Eluga A3 Pro. It is priced at Rs10,999 and is facing direct competition from the 32GB variant of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, which is selling at the same price.
Design: Metal finish adds a premium feel
The Eluga A3 Pro has a metal exterior but that isn’t the only notable physical attribute it has. The dual metal band on the side panel and the brushed finish on the back looks refreshing. The gold finish doesn’t look blingy so you won’t feel embarrassed using it. The flat side panel, matte finish on the back makes it quite handy. Even though it weighs 161g, it doesn’t feel hefty. The finger print sensor is clubbed with the home button on front. Its accurate and unlock your phone instantly.
The only limitation is the hybrid SIM tray. The microSD slot is built on one of the SIM slots so you can’t use all three of them simultaneously. Redmi Note 4 has a metal body too, but its finger print sensor is placed on back. It is bigger in size but weighs just 165g, which is not bad for a smartphone with a 5.5-inch screen.
Display: Modest resolution gives it a dull look
The 5.2-inch screen has a modest resolution of just 1,280x720p. This gives the screen a slightly dull look, especially when you are watching a movie or playing a game on it. Text in webpages and ebooks look crisp enough for a long haul. There is a picture mode which allows user to switch between standard and vivid mode, but the difference is barely noticeable. Visibility from odd angles and under bright sunlight is good, which still can’t be said for a lot of budget smartphones. The Redmi Note 4 offers a bigger and brighter 5.5-inch screen with resolution of 1,920x1,080p.
Software: No frills interface
Panasonic is one of the few phonemakers who chose to cast aside their own custom UI in favour of plain Android. Lenovo recently dumped the Vibe UI for plain Android. The Eluga A3 Pro runs Android 7.1. It doesn’t use the latest version of plain Android which means you get the app drawer icon on the home screen. It supports Google Assistant and has a separate AI backed virtual assistant called Arbo which provides suggestions on its own when required. You can interact or ask it for information. The Redmi Note 4 runs Android 7.0 with MIUI on top. It is feature rich interface and ideal for users who find plain Android boring.
Performance: Steady and a battery that lasts longer
Powered by MediaTek’s MT6753 octa core processor with 3GB RAM, the smartphone was able to wade through most day to day task with ease. Apps open quickly, and even with 5 to 6 apps running the phone doesn’t feel sluggish. It is not meant for gaming and struggles with the heavy ones such as PES 2017 a bit. The smartphone offers 32GB internal storage and accepts microSD cards of up to 128GB. Battery backup is impressive. The 4,000mAh battery was able to deliver a day and half on modest to heavy use. The Redmi Note 4 runs on a superior Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor with 3GB RAM and handle heavy games better. It has a 4,100mAh battery, but lasts only day in similar scenario.
Camera: Struggles even in daylight
The smartphone comes with a 13-megapixel primary camera and 8-megapixle front camera. Picture quality is average. Colours look brighter than Redmi note 4’s 13-megapixel camera, but suffer from lack of clarity. Even on a bright sunny day, images look a little hazy when zoomed in. Low light shots are mediocre and washed out like the Redmi Note 4. The front camera is too modest and picture quality too dull in comparison to the modern day selfie focused smartphone cameras.
The camera app is basic and offers a few filters and a couple of camera modes such as Picture in Picture and Panorama.
The standout feature of the Panasonic Eluga A3 Pro is the clutter-free Android interface, a battery that lasts longer and the good-looks. It is better than many smartphones in this range, but if you are looking for a powerful device with superior display and an interface that allows you to do much more, the Redmi Note 4 looks like a better buy.