Most handset manufacturers know the importance of making phones for the Indian market. India possesses huge potential given its population. Most manufacturers have made their presence felt in India. The latest manufacturer to join the bandwagon is Panasonic with its P51. As soon as it stepped foot, the company got an able foil in an Indian distribution agency, namely Jaina Group.
The design of the P51 is mind blowing. The front face is a full glass panel. The peripheries are bordered by a graphite strip. This help the screen stay protected if you accidentally placed the phone on its screen. Being a unibody design, you cannot do a battery replacement. The entire body and structure of the P51 is glossy. Luckily, it is not a fingerprint accumulator. When in your hands, it looks like an expensive phone.
The screen of the P51 is a whopping 5”. Made of Asahi Dragon Trail glass, many smartphone pundits feel that this glass is better than Gorilla glass. One of the striking attributes of this phone is its design. The front panel has no physical buttons. The buttons are based on the screen. You will turn on the device to access these buttons.
The display resolution is a whopping 1280 × 720 pixel. And this provides a pixel density of 294. The color reproduction is good. Outdoor visibility is on par. The screen size and resolution makes viewing videos and multimedia content a joy. Be it browsing the Internet, or sending a mail, such an exercise won’t be a strain on your eyes.
To take the Wow! things further is an 8 MP camera with autofocus. There are a bunch of standard and useful camera technologies. The Panorama shot allows you to take a 360 degrees viewing angle snapshot. Smile Detect and HDR complete the feature-set of this camera. You can also record HD videos of up to 1080p. The phone has image stabilization technology to allow you to take videos without worrying about a shaky hand.
A feature that will charm you is the Zero Shutter lag. This is because when you tap the shutter key the photo-capture is instantaneous. You can capture those split-second moments without a moment’s hesitation.
The Panasonic P51 is a powerful smartphone. The phone is powered by a quad core 1.2 GHz processor. This processor is the one found in the Micromax Canvas HD. The Mediatek MT6589 chip is also found is such low-cost budget phones that utilize quad core processor technology. And there is 1 GB RAM as well. So you have a truly powerful phone. Experience lighting fast system responses. Be it downloading content, to rendering videos, to playing games. The experience you get is fluid and without even a hint of sluggishness.
The User Interface (UI) resonates with the virtues of clarity, simplicity, and sophistication. You navigate the UI using the onscreen keys. The stock Android interface remains as it is, and if you have been using Android before, you won’t spot any differences. At first it may look like the interface on Nexus. But there are subtle differences in the way icons are styled. There are no transition animations on this UI. The Quick Start feature lets you bring your device to a working condition in a matter of seconds – 10 seconds to be precise. The Panasonic P51 is the only Rs.20k plus smartphone that is also a dual SIM device. There are extensive settings for SIM management. Network reception and call quality are excellent.
What’s not so great?
While Panasonic has made an attempt to make a great looking phone, there is still scope for improvement. The placement of ports is not ergonomic when compared to other smartphones. For instance, the volume rocker and micro USB ports are not ergonomically placed as per contemporary ergonomic port-placement design. The power button is not accessible in a jiffy. It is awkwardly placed which makes for an uneasy accessibility issue.
The camera is good, but not good enough. Picture and video quality is not the best in low light. The front facing camera is only 1.3 MP. It is just manageable for making video calls. What’s with only 4 GB of internal storage? Compared to some other specifications on this phone, the internal storage specification is sober. But the saving grace is the 32 GB memory expansion facility.
The camera seems to work fine in brightly lit conditions. This is typical of mid-range phones. Incidentally, the sharpness setting for such pictures is quiet high. And this produces a lot of “artificiality” in the pictures. Meaning, they don’t look like real pictures. Images are over-sharpened. Pictures taken in low ambient light have a lot of noise. For a phone of this price, the camera should have been better than what it is now.
Even the HDR mode brings no solace. The HDR mode technology merges images with different levels of exposure. HDR increases the dynamism of pictures. But not on this phone. There is no real advantage of using the HDR technology either outdoors or indoors.
The processor specification is impressive. But Mediatek MT6589 is not an Intel, or an AMD, or Qualcomm. Therefore, you might experience that occasional miss of a couple of frames. You must contend with the fact that this processor is used in several budget smartphones. So don’t expect a Snapdragon-like performance.
The music player on the device is basic. There seems to be no equalizer settings. The music player interface looks plain. The music player features a sound enhancement technology called the BesAudEnh. But it seems to do more harm to the sound quality when turned on.
The one major competitor of the Panasonic P51 is the Samsung Galaxy Grand. The P51 is a more powerful device considering that it is powered by a quad core processor. The processor specification is 1.2 GHz. The Galaxy Grand is a slightly lesser powerful device given that it is powered by a dual core processor, but has a processor specification of 1.2 GHz. The P51 is the better device considering that it has impressive specifications and great design.
Some of the general advantages that this phone has over other phones in this segment is that it features video output. The screen is sharp with high pixel density of 293 ppi. There is better power management technology and faster data speed rates. The screen is of high resolution maxing at 1280 X 720 pixels resolution.
Some of the general disadvantages that the P51 has are that it lacks support for Adobe Flash. There is no support for NFC. The screen is good, but is LCD. It should have been an OLED screen.
The P51’s price is above Rs. 20k. Some people may think that it is a better option to buy the Canvas HD than this device. Because the Canvas HD does have many of the features that this phone provides. So one may ask – is this smartphone overpriced? The P51 has some good things going for it such as the screen size and resolution. But internal onboard storage is low. The buttons are awkwardly placed. The choice of icons on the user interface is unattractive.
The Panasonic P51 is definitely a buy. We wish it was priced lower than Rs. 20k. Then it would have been a must-buy. The phone has excellent design and performance. The camera and battery life are above average. Memory and processor specifications are good. But not as good when compared to Samsung Galaxy S3. Also, the Micromax Canvas HD has similar specifications but is priced lower. So this could be a case to consider.
Price and availability
The average running price of this device is Rs. 21500. The device is available at all leading online stores and electronic outlets.