Panasonic has launched its latest smartphones in India, the Eluga Ray Max and Eluga Ray X. The phones will be available to buy exclusively on Flipkart in the coming days, and are targeted at the affordable and mid-range segments. The Eluga Ray Max will be launched in two variants, with the 32GB storage option priced at Rs 11,499 and the 64GB storage variant priced at Rs 12,499. The Eluga Ray X is a bit more affordable at Rs 8,999.
The new phones’ signature feature is the new Arbo personal virtual assistant, which offers artificial intelligence powered suggestions that use machine learning. The Arbo virtual assistant learns from your usage habits to make suggestions on what apps to use, along with providing easy-access shortcuts for options that you may often be using. Arbo was available to try on the demo units that I tried out, but won’t roll out to the final devices for some time. Eventually, Arbo will come as an over-the-air update for The Eluga Ray Max and Eluga Ray X.
At first glance, Arbo appears to be a bit more feature-filled than options from other brands. However, Arbo isn’t an app you speak to; instead, it simply studies your usage habits and makes suggestions accordingly. This can include shortcuts to the apps you often use and contacts you may be calling often. Additionally, it also studies usage habits of particular apps. For example, if you place a Skype call at noon every day, the app will give you a reminder when it’s time for your call, as well as other tasks and reminders based on your appointments or plans. You can tweak various settings within the app to control how much access it has to your apps and data, or deactivate it entirely if you choose. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to test the full potential of Arbo in the short time I spent with it, and this is something we hope to try out properly when we review the device. ALSO READ: Samsung Bixby: If done well, it might leave people impressed yet again
Arbo has been launched alongside the two new smartphones from Panasonic, which will compete in the cut-throat mid range segment. The Eluga Ray Max is the more expensive of the two phones, with a metal body and 5.2-inch full-HD screen with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The phone also has a 3,000mAh battery and is compatible with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 for fast charging, and is powered by an Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 1.4GHz SoC with 4GB of RAM. Additionally, the phone has a fingerprint sensor at the front, and runs Android 6.0, with certification for Android for Work enterprise solutions. There’s also a 16-megapixel rear camera and 8-megapixel front camera, with flash for both cameras.
What works for the Panasonic Eluga Ray Max is its all-metal body and near-stock user interface. The focus on Arbo is clear, as the virtual assistant launches immediately on unlocking the phone. However, you can deactivate this if you like. It’s fairly light-weight despite the all-metal body, and performance seems smooth enough for a mid-range device. The near-stock user interface makes the phone easy to use and will no-doubt appeal to buyers looking for a good software experience.
Not too much was said of the second phone being launched, the Eluga Ray X. We do know that it has a 5.5-inch HD screen, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and a 4,000mAh battery. Panasonic has partnered with Flipkart for the launch of the two phones, which will be available exclusively on the e-commerce portal.