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Panasonic is already on a spree to launch at least 24 new smartphones by the end of this financial year. Looking at the products range so far, it is quite evident that the Japanese brand will successfully complete its goal.
- Unique wide angle rear camera
- lasting battery
- Heavy built
The smartphone manufacturer brought in two new devices last month, the Panasonic Eluga Ray 500 and 700 which are sub10 k smartphones. Let's have a look at what the Eluga Ray 500 has to offer. We will also try to figure out how well does the smartphone fare against competitors.
500 has a very unique set of cameras which we will discuss in detail when we talk about the camera.The Panasonic Eluga Ray 500 is powered by the same old yet reliable MediaTek MT6757 quad-core processor. The device gets 3GB of RAM and has a 32GB inbuilt storage. MicroSD card support enables you to expand memory to 256GB. The smartphone has a 5-inch IPS LCD display with 720X1280 pixels of resolution. It has a pixel density of 294ppi.
Eluga Ray 500 has a dual rear camera setup with 13MP + 8MP combo. A single LED flash supports the dual rear camera. On the front, the smartphone has a 5MP snapper and unlike its peer from China and from India itself, it does not offer a front LED flash. The smartphone boasts Android Nougat 7.0 accompanied by a stock Android UI. It gets 4,000mAh battery to last through the day.
The smartphone comes in Champagne gold, Mocha gold, Marine Blue colors.
Priced at Rs. 8,999, Panasonic Eluga Ray 500 has standard specifications. We have seen very few smartphones with dual rear camera setup in the price segment and Eluga Ray
Design: Takes some getting used to!
The front panel of Panasonic Eluga Ray 500 has an all black and dark finish. The display is indistinguishable from the bezel when the lights are turned off. Even with the display turned on, the bezel does not seem to be too prominent.
The front panel also acquires a home button that also houses a fingerprint sensor. The multitasking, home and back buttons are present on the display on a retractable virtual tray. The front camera and earpiece lie on top with Panasonic branding right below the earpiece.
The rear panel has the primary dual camera setup in the left corner. The cameras are aligned in a horizontal manner and the rear flash lies just next to the camera setup. A single antenna band runs along the base of the rear panel. 'Panasonic' and 'Eluga' branding are placed in the center.
The bottom edge of the device houses a micro USB 2.0 port with speakers on either side of the port. 3.5 mm audio jack lies on the top edge while the power toggle and the volume rockers are on the right edge.
The smartphone with an all metallic unibody design looks decent enough. The rear panel has a metallic texture and the device feels really comfortable in hands. The downside of the design is its weight which scales to 163 grams. Users will have to get used to it before they can fluently use it with a single hand.
Camera: Something different!
Panasonic Eluga Ray 500 has a 13MP+5MP dual rear camera setup. We have seen all sorts of dual rear camera ranging from monochrome enhancement to bokeh creator and with quality improvement prowess. However, what Eluga Ray 500 offers is a lot different. The smartphone has a normal 13MP camera that is just decent enough; on the other hand, it offers a wide angle rear camera that offers a whole new perception to pictures.
For those of our readers who are not too well versed with the capabilities of a wide angle camera here is a little extra information. A wide angle camera offers a wider field of view, which means that a wide angle lens allows you to look and capture more of the ambiance you are located in.
Wide angle cameras are great for capturing pictures in tight spaces and they are equally great for clicking landscape pictures. The wide angle lens offers a pleasant and new perception to photographers. Also, unlike portrait cameras the wide angle cameras do not have the issue of focus loss. That said, a wide-angle lens in this budget price-point by Panasonic is a welcome addition.
The picture quality of the 13MP camera requires little improvement; however, the wide angle camera is wide enough to offer unique perception with a decent quality. I was too occupied with the wide field of view and quality of pictures was not something that really concerned me.
Panasonic could certainly introduce updates to its camera app. The lack of filters is something that might not work in its favor. The 5MP selfie camera is just useable. It does offer a beauty mode but the missing filters are really a nudge here. In its favor, I would say the camera retains the natural tone and the pictures do not have a solid texture that gives it an artificial feel.
Performance: Glitch free multitasking!
The MediaTek MT6757 quad-core processor on the smartphone is clocked to 1.25GHz. It is coupled with 3GB of RAM to handle multitasking smoothly. The MediaTek MT6757 processor is coupled with Mali-T720MP1 GPU for basic rendering of small sized games. The day to day performance of the smartphone is glitch free and the 3GB of RAM pulls it through several apps running simultaneously.
However, the smartphone is not meant for games that dig into the substantial part of on board RAM. None the less, it can easily run small sized games and brain teasers.
Operating System and UI: Android Nougat with Arbo!
The Panasonic Eluga Ray 500 runs Android Nougat 7.0 making the smartphone an addition to the plethora of devices in the sub 10 K range that boast next to best Android OS.
Eluga Ray 500 has a stock Android UI which is not only very clean but is also very responsive. In addition to a light UI the smartphone also boasts Arbo, which is Panasonic's home grown virtual AI. However, Arbo is only accountable for accessing apps on the smartphone with several features including talkback and text to speech.
Display and Speakers: Competing display!
The display on the smartphone is 5-inch IPS LCD with 720X1280 pixels of resolution. The display resolution is not too rich neither is the pixel density too boastful. However, numbers can be deceptive and the fact is certainly true for Eluga Ray 500. The display of the smartphone may be low on exposure but color composition is quite impressive. This makes the device great for watching videos and movies.
The display is amply saturated and viewing angles of the display are problem free. The daylight performance of the display could be improved upon and the problem arises due to the under exposure. I wouldn't say that the display is great but it certainly isn't anywhere far behind its closest competitors.
The display on Nubia M2 is quite impressive and Eluga Ray 500 tries with all its might to challenge the former.
The speakers on the Panasonic Eluga Ray 500 are not too loud which means that the quality is retained to an extensive level. You would rather enjoy listening to music on this device in closed room than in an open and noisy ambiance.
Battery life: 4,000mAh, straight 20 hours!
The mobile phone boasts a 4,000 mAh battery which easily lasts 24 hours with normal usage. The device lasts close to 20 hours with rugged and abusive usage. The charging time of the smartphone is a little over 2hours which is quite impressive given the large battery size.
Conclusion: A decent smartphones with few shortcomings!
Panasonic Eluga Ray 500's strong suites are a lasting battery, a unique camera and a decent display. While it falls short in terms of gaming performance and has a heavy form factor.
The device will certainly be loved by users who enjoy binge watching their favorite video content. It will also win hearts of users who get little time to plug in their smartphones throughout the day. Panasonic is working continuously to improve the quality of its products which is quite evident from its latest device. Eluga Ray 500 is one example.