Panasonic P81 which was extensively teased before its official launch today, is supposed to be the game changer for Panasonic. The phone did manage to raise a few eyebrows with the declaration of octa core chipset, but getting down from the octa core high horse has it got what it takes to last in this competitive market? Let’s take a look at the new Panasonic flagship.

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Panasonic P81 Quick Specs

  • Display Size:  5.5 Inch HD IPS LCD, 1280 X 720 resolution, 267 PPI
  • Processor: 1.7 GHz Cortex A7 Octa Core MT6592, with Mali 450 MP4 GPU,
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Software Version: Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
  • Camera: 13 MP camera, Capable of 1080p Full HD Video recording
  • Secondary Camera: 2 MP
  • Internal Storage:  8 GB
  • External Storage: MicroSD support up to 32 GB
  • Battery: 2500 mAh
  • Connectivity:  HSPA+, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP, aGPS, GPS
  • Dual SIM (Micro SIM) Dual Standby functionality

Panasonic P81 Hands on Video Review

Design, Form Factor and Display

Panasonic P81, is quite sturdy to hold in hand. The form factor reminds us of Note 3 Neo. It’s only 7.9 mm thick and is quite light considering the large form factor. The back cover has faux leather finish and thus will give you nice grip in hand. The flip cover that comes bundled inside the box uses high quality material at the front (perhaps leather) and a glossy back. You don’t have to remove the original back cover to fit the flip cover.

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The 5.5 inch display is one of the best strengths of Panasonic P81. In the mid range price segment, you won’t find many 5.5 inchers and in markets like India and China, the display size is definitely in demand.

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The display is IPS LCD panel and though it’s not as crisp as the one we saw on Canvas Knight, but is good in terms of colors and average in terms of brightness. Being an IPS LCD panel, viewing angles are also quite wide. The pixel density is 267 ppi which is not something to boast about but is quite usable. Option for auto brightness is also present.

Processor and Ram

The processor used in 1.7 GHz octa core unit backed by Mali 450 GPU and 1 GB RAM. The MediaTek octa core has proven to be a capable chipset so far and P81 was also quite snappy. The camera and gallery apps opened fine without any noticeable lag.

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We would have liked to see a 2 GB RAM housed on the chipset as several other manufacturers are offering under 20,000 INR price range. Panasonic P81 might falter in the long run before you hit the performance limit of 8 cortex A7 cores inside due to RAM limitation. Out of 1 GB about 339 MB was free on the device.

Camera and Internal Storage

Camera present at the rear has a 13 MP sensor and in our initial testing we found the clarity and details to be above average. The front 2 MP unit will also suffice for good quality video chat. You can record 1080p full HD videos from rear camera.

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Internal Storage is 8 GB and is expandable using MicroSD card. Panasonic has also provided with the option for installing apps on SD card.

User-Interface and Battery

Software is slightly dated as Panasonic has opted for customized Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The Multiplay feature which Panasonic teased earlier can be turned on from notification center and houses some pre installed apps including notes, camera, SMS, etc. You can’t swipe the panel from the right side as expected. We didn’t find it a very efficient feature to multi task, applications like SwipePad works more efficiently.

Panasonic has also provided with extensive gesture support on P81. You can draw U to unlock, a rectangle to launch camera app and much more directly from lock screen. You can also define gesture for third party apps. This is one of the best features of Panasonic P81.

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Battery is rated at 2500 mAh and although Panasonic has not yet revealed standby time and other back up data, we are optimistic after our initial time with the device. We expect it to last one full day with moderate usage, we will dig more into that after our full review.

Panasonic P81 Photo Gallery

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Conclusion

We liked the 5.5 inch display size, gesture support and the processing power of MT6592 Octa core inside. The resolution would have been more acceptable if Panasonic would have further slashed the price by another 1 or 2 thousand. There are not many devices under 20,000 INR which provide with 5.5 inch phablet sized display and the P81 will appeal to those looking for that extra screen real estate.