Well, here it is: a Panasonic smartphone. Just when you thought there were some companies that would never venture outside of their comfortable bounds into the ruthlessly competitive mobile computing market, the renown general electronics company does just that. Although the P100 certainly isn't their first smartphone, it's rare to hear about any they do make, so without further ado, let's dive into the hardware of this machine and see what it's made of.
To briefly run down the general picture here, this device is far from high-end: It's running on the minimum specifications for a budget handset that maintains a semblance of functionality. The price tag is quite low as well, but it's a little short of eye-to-eye with the hardware that's included. There isn't much to say — 16 GB of internal storage paired with a MediaTek SoC, 2 GB RAM and a just-passable GPU gets the 720p display and its similarly dense camcorder a reluctant nod of approval. The first impressions say this should be a fine device for those with simple needs and a sense for thrift, but we'll delve into the specifics to help you make a decision.
Processing and Storage
You can normally tell right off the bat how entry-level a smartphone is meant to be by the inclusion of a MediaTek SoC. This isn't a bad thing; it's just that for shoppers who aren't savvy beyond interpreting raw numbers on paper, the CPU in the Panasonic P100 can seem more powerful than it really is. In truth, you're getting a bare-minimum quad-core deal that works fine for basic multitasking in tandem with the passable 2 GB RAM, but that's about it. Worth noting is that the MT6737 boasts swell efficiency with GPS management, so you should expect navigation to go easier on the battery in the P100.
The 16 GB storage should be ample for anyone who's on the budget end of the spectrum with their smartphone shopping sense. If you need more, there's always a microSD slot to give you a little boost. Don't expect to use the camera suite too often as a recreational option, but you can at least fill your space with a decent number of apps. Overall, the P100 meets decent marks in this area for the listed price, but you won't be zipping between apps without hold-ups and lag on the way.
- SoC: MediaTek MT6737 64-bit
- CPU: Quad-core 1.25 GHz Cortex-A53
- RAM: 2 GB
- GPU: Mali-T720
- Inbuilt Storage: 16 GB
- MicroSD Support: Up to 2 TB
Although the 720p camcorder is rather disappointing, it's enough to fill out the screen resolution for videos that are played right on the phone. It's to be expected with the included chipset, which isn't much for marks on the rendering side but still ample for basic requirements even at a sluggish 30 FPS. On the plus side, the inclusion of flash on the front snapper is a pleasant surprise since many high-end devices only include it on the back. This category meets expectations for this handset.
- Photo Resolution: 8 MP back, 5 MP front
- Video Resolution: 720p 30 FPS
- Back Camera Features: Flash
- Front Camera Features: Flash
These days, you won't find many devices anymore that are decked with less than a five-inch panel, and Panasonic's little handset isn't any different in that regard. Boasting a standard 720p HD screen, imagery should be reasonably sharp although the LCD panel may wash the colors out a little. With Corning's chemical-treated protective glass, the screen brings a degree of scratch and shatter resistance. The Panasonic P100 does fair in this category, but you're not getting a cinematic experience here, so keep your expectations tempered.
- Screen Size: 5.0 inches
- Resolution: 720 x 1,280 (720p HD)
- Ratio: 16:9
- Pixel Density: 294 ppi
- Screen-to-Body Ratio: 65.1%
- Display Technology: IPS LCD
- Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass (version unspecified)
Admittedly, 2,200 mAh feels a bit flimsy, but Panasonic probably felt that the MT6737 would make it last, especially with GPS applications. That said, the tame specs in the P100 mean you probably won't be using it as often as multimedia powerhouses that need a larger battery to accommodate more playback time with games and videos. You can expect modest battery life that will get you through the day on moderate usage.
- Capacity: 2,200 mAh
- Removable: No
- Technology: Li-ion
Design and Features
Although the color options are quite limited, it's pleasantly surprisingly to see a fingerprint scanner and Android 7.0 right out of the box in the P100. With fairly standard dimensions and the expected but unconcerning lack of water- and dust-resistance, Panasonic's smartphone delivers solidly in this area. Although the price is very much within the affordable end of the spectrum, you're always recommended to put a case on your phone to protect the screen and mechanical aspects of the camera.
The one major concern worth mentioning is the idea of software updates. This is more essential than the general public gives credit for, and without timely updates, your device can become vulnerable to malware and hacking rather quickly. Panasonic has unfortunately developed a reputation for unresponsiveness when pushing new Android software patches through to users. This not only restricts your ability to tap the latest features in Google's operating system; it also puts your personal information at risk. Proceed with caution.
- OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
- Dimensions: 145 x 73 x 9.9 mm (5.71 x 2.87 x 0.39 in)
- Weight: 174.8 g (6.17 oz)
- Ruggedness: No
- Features: Rear-mounted fingerprint scanner
- Colors: Gold
Overall, the Panasonic P100 is a featherweight in its offerings even for the price. With that said, you should still fare well with the included hardware and especially the software — for now. Down the road, the lack of consistent software support will open the way for rapid obsolescence. Your eyes are likely better set on competing entry-level handsets that offer more for a comparable price range.