Panasonic is quite an old brand in India and has a long history of making phones. It has been selling Android phones in India for quite a while now and although it isn’t as popular as Xiaomi when it comes to overall fanfare Panasonic does play its own unique card when it comes to packing features at a price.
The Panasonic Eluga Ray 500 is Panasonic’s recent entry into the rapidly evolving dual camera sensor market. Dual camera phones have really been the star of the show for quite a while now, especially with the budget segment of the market. So let’s get inside the review of the Eluga 500 from Panasonic.
Packaging and Accessories:
The Panasonic comes in a very standard looking box with a nice paint job on the front of the box. The box does feel quite good to behold and the contents are well packed in containment bins and plastics inside the box.
As for accessories, the device comes with a standard manual and warranty information which also contains the SAR compliant rating of the device. Then there is a pair of in-ear style headphones which are good enough for calls. The box also has a standard charger which isn’t quick charge compliant, also to connect it to the PC or the charger there is a micro-USB cable bundled along.
Design and Display:
The Eluga ray 500 will immediately strike you as a very fat device. It is to be expected considering its big battery and small proportions. The body is made out of plastic, painted to look like its aluminum. The rear of the device has some warning signs and the dual camera setup at the top. It also houses a fingerprint sensor at the front of the device, right where the home button is. Co-incidentally, the fingerprint sensor can be also used as a home button for navigation. The front of the device isn’t anything to write home about and houses the phone’s 5-inch display but I do approve of the front fingerprint sensor setup which most manufacturers do not include for some reason.
Coming to the display, it is a 5 Inch IPS panel with a resolution of 720×1280 pixels. It has good viewing angles and that gives it a total pixel density of 294 ppi but with the bezel’s humongous proportions, it manages to capture only 66% of the available front space of the device. It does kind of makes you wonder where did all the space inside go considering that competitive devices in the same price bracket have similar specifications with much slimmer bodies. The phone also weighs quite a lot, coming in at 163 grams which is more than most flagships.
Performance wise, there is nothing really to write home about. It is powered by a MediaTek MT6737 which is a quad-core chip with four low power cortex A53 cores clocked at a low 1.25GHz. This chip is very weak and you can forget about playing graphics-intensive games in this or subjecting it to heavy loads. But despite this, the phone performs admirably well and doesn’t lag or freeze during most tasks.
The phone also comes preloaded with an ample 3GB of RAM which is good but you’ll probably run out of processing power before you hit your RAM cap on this device.
Graphics are handled by a Mali-T720 MP2 which is also a weak dual core graphics chip for this device.
On the software end of things, the Panasonic runs Android v7.0 Nougat and not the updated 7.1.1. If somehow Panasonic manages to bless us with the Android 8 Oreo update for this device then it’ll truly be a testament to customer care and support. But we are diving up the wrong alley here probably. On the plus side, the device comes with a stock version of Android with a little amount of bloatware that can be removed if you so wish. I’m actually really glad that it came with the stock android because any custom skinning would probably tax the device to the point it lags. So, good move there Panasonic!
Camera and Storage:
The party piece of the Panasonic Eluga Ray 500 is its dual camera setup at the rear. It has a 13Mp+8Mp sensor as the primary camera and takes some decent pictures. It has an aperture of f2.0 for wide angle shooting. It would’ve been nice if Panasonic to include some form of image stabilization for the device since the cameras are decent and take decent pictures and focus fast on subjects. It has a bunch of image enhancement modes like HDR, Exposure compensation and ISO control. It also has face detection, digital zoon and touch to focus for the camera interface. The front of the device though has an average 5MP camera with a really narrow f2.4 aperture. It’s nothing fancy but gets the job done mostly provided that the conditions are right.
Storage wise, Panasonic did a good job by providing it with an ample 32GB of storage which can be further expanded to 128 GB via an SD expansion card that can be popped in the hybrid sim tray.
Battery and connectivity:
The Panasonic Eluga Ray 500 is powered by a 4000mAh lithium ion battery which is one of the highest in its price bracket. It does keep the device powered up for quite a while considering that it has a low-resolution display and a power efficient CPU.
Connectivity wise, it supports Indian network bands including 4G LTE, 3G, and 2G. The device can also connect to Wi-Fi 802.11, b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0, GPS with A-GPS support and lastly micro USB. It doesn’t come with NFC or an IR blaster though.
The Panasonic Eluga Ray 500 is a very interesting device. It does many things right and I wish that it came in a more attractive body, more powerful CPU and lastly a full HD display. Many devices in this price bracket have these features and it’s a shame that Panasonic went ahead with these glaring emissions. The Panasonic Eluga Ray 500 price in India is Rs.8999 which puts it in a tight spot with the likes of Redmi 4 which is a much better device all around but doesn’t have a dual camera setup.
Further Reading: Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime Review, Specifications, Price, Features