Panasonic Eluga on sale 24 April, £365 SIM-free

Panasonic's waterproof smart phone is due in just nine days, but it doesn't come cheap.

Panasonic's Eluga smart phone has a UK price and release date. Head over to the Expansys site and you can see it'll be on sale on 24 April -- just nine days away. And the price? If you want it SIM-free you'll have to shell out £365, Unwired View reports. That's a pound for every day of the year. Not as pricey as some handsets, but not as cheap as I was hoping.

Panasonic announced the Eluga back in February, and then showed it off at Mobile World Congress, alongside its bigger brother, the Eluga Power. You wait ages for a Panasonic smart phone, then two come along at once.

The Eluga is a 4.3-inch model, with a slim bezel that makes it look all screen. And at just 7.8mm thick, it's not going to bulk up your pockets. It's not the most high-end handset around, but what it lacks in raw power it more than makes up for in toughness.

It's waterproof to a metre for up to 30 seconds, which should give you plenty of time to retrieve it from the puddle/shallow swimming pool you dropped it in. It should also be more than hardy enough to handle a typically rainswept British summer.

The screen isn't as sharp as some handsets, with a resolution of 540x960-pixels at 256 dots per inch, but it seemed pretty pleasing in our hands-on. Rather than Ice Cream Sandwich, the Eluga runs the Gingerbread version of Android, but an update to ICS is due sometime in May. Let's hope it's not delayed. It does seem odd shipping it without the latest version of the software, especially considering the next build -- Jelly Bean -- will be along sometime soon after launch.

The Eluga Power, meanwhile, will come packing ICS, and is higher specced. There's no word on when the Eluga Power will touch down, but I wouldn't expect it to be too much longer.

Are you tempted by either? Can Panasonic mix it up with the big boys in the phone field? Let me know in the comments, or on Facebook.

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