Whether you love them or hate them, 5-inch devices fill that nice gap right between phones and tablets. Some users may complain that 5-inches is way too big for their hands, while others may find them just perfect.
One thing is sure, however — 5 inches definitely does not make a compact phone and it may be a little ridiculous to carry such-sized phone around in your pocket, much less to answer publicly whenever you get a call. But, if you’re someone who wants the functionality of a tablet in the comparatively smaller size of a phone, these devices may be after your heart.
After the debut of the Samsung Galaxy Note, at one point dubbed a “phablet” or “phoneblet” as it dipped its feet in both smartphone and tablet waters, a number of other 5-inchers have cropped up. Though neither of these two contenders have hit the market yet, both LG and Panasonic have decided to give the 5-inch territory a shot and show Samsung that it’s not the only one willing to push the envelope.
First introduced and announced at the Mobile World Congress this year, the LG Optimus Vu and the Panasonic Eluga Power may or may not be contenders for the Samsung Galaxy Note’s crown. Though more details will appear once these phones hit the market, let’s see how they may fare against the available Galaxy Note.
Design and Display
Let’s start with the Samsung Galaxy Note, as it was the first to really push the boundaries. With dimensions of 146.9 x 83 x 9.7 mm and a weight of 178 g, the Note is equipped with an HD Super AMOLED 5.3-inch capacitive touchscreen and an 800×1280 pixel resolution. Just from those display specs alone, the Galaxy Note is confident in showcasing media such as movies, videos, and pictures.
Though it’s got a plastic body, it does come with Corning Gorilla Glass, which may make this device a little more durable.
What really made waves when the Note came out was its stylus and with good reason; the stylus’ presence brings new ways to interact with your phone, such as being able to jot down notes and even doodle a little if you feel bored on the ride home.
Unfortunately, the stylus is small and may feel a bit like holding air. It also has delayed response and may take some training to use. One definite advantage is that the stylus can snugly fit into the phone, which makes it easier to bring around.
Artists who work extensively with graphic tablets may be thrilled to know that the Note’s screen responds to pen pressure. For people who love taking down notes, but loathe bringing around bulky notebooks (whether we’re talking about the old-fashioned ones made out of paper or the electronic ones with a keyboard), the ease of not just having your phone in your hand but also as something to use in class is definitely an advantage.
Set to debut first in Korea, the LG Optimus Vu has dimensions of 139.6 x 90.4 x 8.5 mm and a weight of 168 g. We can already see that it’s a whole 10 grams lighter than the Note, but its 5-inch display is also at the slightly lower resolution of 768×1024 pixels at an aspect ratio of 4:3.
The Optimus Vu also comes with a pen dubbed the Rubberdium. But, unlike in the Samsung Galaxy Note, it doesn’t fit anywhere inside the device. This makes it highly possible to lose your pen if you’re not careful.
Panasonic decided to jump into the ring with the Panasonic Eluga Power, which people are calling the big brother of the regular Eluga. The phone’s developers aimed to deliver the convenience of a 5-inch HD screen, superfast charging (reportedly full charge in less than an hour or so), water and dust resistance, as well as adding features like NFC.
People who’ve tried texting with the Eluga Power have reported that it’s easier to wield than the Note but may be a little awkward to type on with the thumb of one hand, given its size. Equipped with an OLED screen, the Eluga Power has a 720×1280 pixel resolution for a 5-inch display. Its dimensions are 136 x 70 x 9.6 mm and has a much lighter weight at 133 g.
You can purchase your Samsung Galaxy Note with either a 16 GB internal memory or a 32 GB, depending on your needs. If you need extra space, you can expand memory with up to 32 GB more, thanks to the Note’s microSD card slot. It’s got 1 GB of RAM.
Not to be one-upped, the LG Optimus Vu also packs 1 GB of RAM but is only available with 32 GB internal memory. You can max out with a microSD expansion card of up to 32 GB.
The Panasonic Eluga Power, by comparison, seems to have a disadvantage in this area as it has been reported to have internal memory of only 8 GB. Storage expansion up to 32 GB also applies to this device, if you’re worried about not having enough space for your files, music, and apps.
All three of these phones are packing a 8-megapixel cameras, but it’s in the front facing camera that they differ.
The Samsung Galaxy Note’s own front facing camera packs 2 megapixels, while the LG Optimus VU only packs 1.3 megapixels.
As of this writing, there doesn’t seem to be any specs for the Panasonic Eluga Power but we have been informed that it will have a front-facing camera.
Processor and Operating System
The Samsung Galaxy Note comes out of the box with Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread. Inside of the device, you’ve got an Exynos chipset, a dual-core 1.4 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, and a Mali-400MP GPU.
The LG Optimus Vu also comes with Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread but LG has already announced that an Ice Cream Sandwich should be hitting the Optimus Vu in a few months. The Optimus Vu comes with a Qualcomm MSM8660 Snapdragon chipset, a dual-core 1.5 GHz Scorpion processor, and an Adreno 220 GPU.
Not to be bested by the Samsung Galaxy Note and the LG Optimus Vu, the operating system is really where Panasonic is aiming to shine. Rather than settling for Gingerbread, the Panasonic Eluga Power is pushing for Ice Cream Sandwich right out of the box. Inside, we’ll find a 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, and an Adreno 225 GPU.
The Samsung Galaxy Note has been tested and the battery in the device can offer a standby time of 960 hours on 2G and 820 hours on 3G. Where talk time is concerned, if you’re on 2G, you’ll get about 26 hours out of your phone, while you may only get about 13.5 hours while on 3G. Of course, length of battery life may differ, depending on how you use your Note.
Though these two contenders haven’t been tested yet, we’ve been told that the LG Optimus Vu packs a 2080 mAh battery, to provide us with longer life, while the Panasonic Eluga Power has a 1800 mAh battery, which is said to charge faster.
We’ve yet to see the performance of the LG Optimus Vu and the Panasonic Eluga Power in the hands of consumers, but their improvements over the Samsung Galaxy Note’s size is definitely worth looking out for.
If you’d like the huge beautiful display that a 5-incher can provide you, but not the bulk that comes with it, the Panasonic Eluga Power seems to be the best contender in terms of weight. The Eluga Power also seems the most promising, with its Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box yet its internal storage is a little skimpy next to the LG Optimus Vu and the Samsung Galaxy Note.
We’re certainly looking out for the performance of the Optimus Vu’s battery, which may be able to keep the device running for a longer period and keep us away from charging at the end of the day.
Until we see and actually hold these two contenders, the Samsung Galaxy Note may still keep its crown and keep note-takers and doodlers alike entertained while in class, meetings, or just killing time commuting.
Have you already settled for a Samsung Galaxy Note? Tell us how awesome it is. Or, are you holding out for either the Panasonic Eluga Power or the LG Optimus Vu?