“The Pansonic Eluga Arc is the brand’s attempt to blend security with style”
The Rs 10,000 segment in the Indian smartphone market has witnessed a crazy amount of activity lately, thanks to the value-for-money devices launched by a bunch of Chinese as well as home-grown phonemakers, that offer specs similar to what you might expect from a mid-range smartphone. Panasonic entered this quest to deliver more for less with its Eluga Arc smartphone, which is the company’s first to offer a 2.5D curved glass display. The company claims that its new smartphone blends style with security and hence, also offers a fingerprint scanner. However, the rest of the specifications aren’t as mouth-watering as one might expect in this raging niche of the market. Let’s check out if the involvement some skilfully-smithed glass and biometrics is enough for the Eluga Arc to stand out.
The phone ships in a square box navy blue cardboard box. The box carrying the phone can be slid out from the thick cardboard cover using a small ribbon loop. Flipping open the concealed box lets you access the smartphone which sits with its rear panel facing up, in the right half of the box.
The left half comes covered with a thin cardboard flap, which can be undone to reveal all the accessories the Panasonic Eluga Arc comes with. You will find a screen protector, a pair of in-ear headphones, a micro-USB to USB cable, necessary documentation, a SIM-ejection tool, and a two-pin 1A wall charger.
The Panasonic Eluga Arc is a smart looking device. The phone sports metal-finish on its back, however, the construction material is plastic. While that takes a little bit away from the x-factor, it does make the phone amazingly light. To add to the handiness, you get a thin chassis and curved back. Up front the 2.5D curved glass display also one-ups the looks.
The port placement is standard… you get the volume rocker, and power button on the right edge, an audio jack, and an IR blaster on the top, and a micro-USB port, along with the primary microphone on the bottom spine. The phone sports a unibody design, and hence you will find an ejectable SIM tray on the left edge.
The fascia comes flanked by the usual assortment of sensors, front camera and an earpiece on the top. The company went for soft navigation keys wasting quite a bit of real estate below the screen, resulting in horizontal bezels which were way too thick for our liking. The rear panel sports the primary camera module followed by an LED flash and the fingerprint reader. Just below the fingerprint reader you will find some branding. Following the trail, at some distance, the phone’s moniker has been etched, and ultimately, the list rounds off with the presence of a loudspeaker grille.
With an overload of curves on the corners, up front, and on the back, the Panasonic Eluga Arc looks like a device you can flaunt. It’s easy to carry and specifically meant for one-hand usage, which is always welcome.
The display on the device sports HD resolution, and on a 4.7-inch span, it translates to a pixel density of about 276ppi… which is sharp enough. The colours looked vibrant enough, however, the brightness was just about average. While the display didn’t look completely washed out under bright sunlight, we could have done with a little more brightness. The viewing angles were decent.
The Panasonic Eluga Arc sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 SoC under its hood, which is a dated processor now. Aiding the chipset is 2GB of RAM. You also get integrated Adreno 306 GPU to take care of the graphics. While the phone didn’t seem to stutter during our small usage session, we’ll reserve our final comments until we review the device.
The Eluga Arc ships with 16GB of built-in memory, out of which you get about 10GB for personal use. The storage can be expanded further up to 32GB, and no more, which is a bit disappointing.
The phone runs Android v5.1.1 Lollipop with Panasonic’s Eluga UI on top. The interface is nearly stock, however, the phone comes preloaded with a bunch of third party apps. These include all apps from Google, Clean Master, Flipkart, NewsHunt, Paytm, Saavn, Snapdeal, SwiftKey Keyboard, Turecaller, along with some games like Asphalt Nitro and Spider-Man: Unlimited. You also get separate apps to set up the fingerprint sensor, and to use the IR blaster.
Camera-wise, the Eluga Arc sports an 8MP primary shooter, and a 5MP front cam. The primary camera module uses f/2.0 aperture and a 6P lens.
The default camera app is not majorly loaded, and looks like any other camera app. You get a few preset shooting modes like Nightshot, Beauty and HDR. There’s a Pro mode to give you control over various settings like ISO, white balance and shutter speed. There’s nothing new about the settings option.
We clicked a few pictures to see how the camera fares and in daylight, the Eluga Arc’s shooter managed to capture nice colours and detail. We’ll see if the performance remains consistent in different shooting conditions.
The Panasonic Eluga Arc is a dual-SIM device, which supports 4G on its primary SIM, while the secondary SIM is 3G only. The rest of the connectivity options are pretty standard. The phone comes backed by an 1,800mAh non-removable battery, which is on the small side. However, the company claims it ships with a built-in battery optimisation software, which should help the Eluga Arc deliver one day of battery life. Additionally, the phone supports Qualcomm’s QuickCharge tech.
Panasonic has priced the Eluga Arc at Rs 12,490. At this price point, the smartphone competes directly with the likes of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (review) and the LeEco Le 1s (review), both of which surpass the Eluga Arc from a specs standpoint. Whether or not the phone’s stylish looks and compact build, coupled with the presence of a fingerprint reader, are enough for you to pick it up from the bunch of promising smartphones you can find in the price segment… you’ll find out in our full review.