We have a look at Panasonic’s take on the ‘over-sized’ smartphone with the Eluga Power taking on Samsung’s Galaxy Note
It’s the battle of the big boys this time with Samsung’s Galaxy Note taking on Panasonic’s newcomer, the bizarrely-named Eluga Power
Samsung Galaxy Note – 146.9x83x9.7mm, 178g
Panasonic Eluga Power – 136x70x9.6mm, 133g
The Eluga Power has a much more interesting design than the regular Eluga, of course its larger size gives it a bit more presence, but along all the edges it has a contoured shape which lends it some extra character.
The bezel along the sides is very thin which keeps things modern and even the bodywork along the top edge is somewhat narrower than we typically find on current smartphones,
Overall it has a very angular form factor and minimalist styling in keeping with current trends. One other thing to note with the Eluga Power is that it is water proof up to 1 meter and is both water and dust resistant with IP57 certification.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note bears more than a passing resemblance to the manufacturer’s current flagship, the Galaxy S2, but of course, on an inflated scale. Like the Eluga Power, it’s a 5-inch device.
It’s perhaps somewhat telling of the way design trends have changed in a short time, the fact that we used to consider Galaxy Note‘s shape stark and sharp, now by contrast it appears relatively curvy compared to the razor-edged lines of the Eluga Power and its ilk.
We can’t really say that there is a ‘better’ looking phone between these two as they both have a very different aesthetic but in each case it’s been very well executed and they’re both appealing to us.
Winner – Draw
The Note has a 5.3-inch Super AMOLED capacitive multi-touch display with a 1280×800 pixel resolution and a pixel density of 285 pixels-per-inch (ppi). It also uses Corning Gorilla Glass for a stronger screen that will be more resistant to knocks and bumps.
The clarity of this screen is fantastic, which is particularly impressive for such a large display, we were very impressed when we had one in the office and it’s great for browsing, viewing media such as videos and photos, and, of course, gaming.
Panasonic’s Eluga Power has a slightly smaller 5-inch capacitive LCD multi-touch display with a 1280×720 pixel resolution and puts out a higher pixel density than its opponent at 294ppi.
As a result it should be slightly sharper than Samsung’s offering, though with such a small difference in ppi we expect any variation in clarity will be barely noticeable and puts them both on par.
It’s also worth pointing out that, being LCD-based rather than OLED the Eluga Power may fare a bit better in bright light conditions, but on the flip side the Galaxy Note’s Super AMOLED should have deeper blacks and better contrast.
Again, though, with both being quite high-end setups of their respective screen technologies, we expect on the whole the experience to be comparable and equally favourable in either case.
Winner – Draw
Storage is one of the areas where these phones differ most significantly. The Eluga Power has 8GB of internal capacity, along with 1GB of RAM and micro SD support for cards up to 32GB. Against this, Samsung’s Note can boast options for either 16GB or 32GB of onboard space along with the same amount of RAM and card capability is Panasonic’s offering.
Of course, this makes Samsung’s Note the preferred choice here with a higher top-tier overall capacity.
Winner – Samsung Galaxy Note
Samsung’s Galaxy Note runs on a dual core ARM Cortex-A9 processor clocked at 1.4GHz and using Samsung’s own Exynos chipset, which comes with a Mali-400MP graphics processing unit (GPU).
This is more or less the same spec as the Galaxy S2, just with a higher clock-speed. General performance isn’t too bad but there can be some slight noticeable slowdown at times, likely caused by interface optimisation issues. This is something that could well be fixed by firmware updates in the future, however.
The Eluga Power is also dual core but runs much more cutting-edge hardware with Qualcomm’s new S4 MSM8270 Snapdragon Krait architecture clocked at 1.5GHz with an Adreno 225 GPU in tow. The Krait chipset is impressively quick and should offer a smooth and seamless experience on even the most intensive tasks.
Panasonic’s device has a slightly hotter setup here but Samsung’s offering is still extremely capable. The Galaxy Note falls behind slightly because of some minor problems which we expect will be remedied at some point.
Winner – Panasonic Eluga Power
Both handsets are Android devices, Panasonic’s Eluga Power will ship with the latest build of Google’s platform, Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0, already installed. Meanwhile Samsung’s Note runs the previous version, 2.3 Gingerbread, with a custom TouchWiz 4.0 interface tweaked to support the phone’s unique S-Pen stylus.
Samsung has said the Note will be updated to Ice Cream Sandwich this year, but currently there’s a bit of a delay in the schedule and it’s possible the company is having issues integrating the stylus support into Google’s new build. We’re sure it’ll turn up soon enough, however.
Gingerbread runs fairly smoothly on the Galaxy Note for the most part, although as we mentioned there can be the odd judder here and there. Certainly the interface is pleasant enough to use and the added S-Pen features are an enjoyable addition.
However, in until the Note gets updated, the Panasonic Eluga is holding all the cards because Ice Cream Sandwich is a huge step forward from even the modified Gingerbread. It’s much more stable than its predecessor, has a better menu layout, excellent running performance over Gingerbread even on like-for-like hardware and some nifty interface tweaks such as the fast app-switcher which makes task management a breeze.
Winner – Panasonic Eluga Power
The camera setups are more or less the same here with both devices running an 8-megapixel primary at 3264×2448 pixels with 1080p video capture, autofocus, touch focus, geo-tagging and an LED flash. Picture and video quality is reasonably good.
Winner – Draw
If you’re in the market for a larger smartphone you’re looking at two similarly equipped handsets here, but there are differences and they are significant. The Eluga Power has better processor technology and a faster, more streamlined version of Google’s Android operating system.
That said, the Galaxy Note is much more generous when it comes to storage capacity.
Because of this, if you’re making a decision it’s going to have to come down to where your priorities lie. Both are recommendable handsets with a decent degree of polish to them, but the end experience is likely to be quite different.
We feel the Panasonic Eluga Power is a more up-to-date offering but the Samsung Galaxy Note is still a capable device and has plenty of flexibility with the S-Pen stylus and more storage space.
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