Very good build and finish
anasonic is one of the names that cross your mind when you’re looking to buy a plasma TV or an air-conditioner, but certainly not a smartphone. So when the company announced it was entering the smartphone rat race, we couldn’t help but feel apprehensive about how it would manage to break the stronghold of emerging brands like Micromax and Karbonn. The P51 is Panasonic's first attempt and after a rather shaky start due to inflated pricing, the smartphone is now back on everyone’s radar after a price drop. The phone competes directly with the Samsung Galaxy Grand as far as features are concerned and also goes up against the HTC One S, an older but still very relevant handset.
Design and build
The P51 has that typical "phablet" form factor. The 5-inch display has a generous bezel all round, which increases the size of the handset even further. There’s a lot of excess space at the bottom that could have been avoided since there aren’t any capacitive buttons. The sides and the entire back has a smooth rubberised coating, which feels nice to hold while offering good grip too. The back is completely sealed off, so all the slots for the microSIM and SD card are placed on the side, protected by flaps. The volume rocker and power button are placed rather inconveniently on the top, making it difficult to reach.
Very good build and finish
The handset is pretty light at just 135 g and slim too at just 8.5 mm. These are much better dimensions when compared to the Grand. Due to the slimmer chassis, the 8MP camera lens protrudes out a bit, so you’re going to have to be careful when placing it down. Overall, we are impressed with the fit and finish of the P51, which turns out to be a lot better compared to the Galaxy Grand.
Slim and sleek design
The P51 packs in a very good HD IPS display, bringing the pixel count up to 294 ppi. The panel is evenly backlit and produces bright, vivid colours and sharp text. The display is also protected by Dragon Trail Glass and features an oleophobic coating as well. Panasonic hasn’t tampered much with Jelly Bean (4.2.1) apart from the icon set and the addition of audio profiles. The interface is very smooth thanks to 1GB of RAM and the speedy MediaTek MT6589 SoC. This chipset packs in four CPU cores running at 1.2GHz each.
Easy to navigate UI
The P51 also comes pre-installed with a bunch of applications. There’s a file manager, Chrome, Evernote, Google+, Skitch, Media Share for DLNA, ToDo and WeChat. Panasonic also has a Quick Start feature to shorten boot time. The icon set is a bit confusing at first and takes some time getting used to. Apart from this, the P51 functions like you would expect a quad-core handset to function.
The phone also comes bundled with a flip cover and a capacitive stylus. The cover does not have a magnetic layer to lock/unlock the screen and, sadly, there’s no provision to keep the stylus anywhere with the phone, so we’re not sure how many people would actually use it.
Panasonic has added secondary video and audio players that aren’t too different from the stock players. The custom music player adds the ability to shake the phone to change tracks, but forfeits equaliser presets. Audio quality is better with the stock player, however, since you can tweak the sound. None of the players has a lock screen widget, though.
Media player is strictly average in terms of features
The custom video player gives you thumbnail previews of the videos. The codec support is the same as the stock player and AVI and MKV files playback just fine. There’s only 4GB (2GB usable) of onboard memory, but you can expand it via a microSD card. The phone easily handles 1080p video and the vivid display makes for an enjoyable viewing experience.