Panasonic is not well known as a phone company. We’ve seen some devices from Panasonic in the past, but by and large you wouldn’t associate it with the smartphone market. That’s why it’s such a surprise to wake up and find out that, not only did Panasonic announce a new phone, but one that we’re actually really excited to try out. Forget the Lumia 1020, this might be the camera phone to beat.
At 900 euros, however, it might not really be a device many people run out to buy. But we wouldn’t blame you for seriously considering it. The video (below) sums the device up perfectly. It’s a 4.7-inch Android smartphone with a 20-megapixel 1-inch image sensor. That’s on a par with Sony’s RX100 lineup, and hopefully indicative of what to expect in regards to the image quality.
And it isn’t just the photo quality we’re excited about—just look at that design. It matches a lot of Panasonic’s most recent professional and enthusiast cameras, throwing back to the earlier retro designs; the construction, meanwhile, looks solid, like it can withstand daily wear and tear. Just slide over the camera switch and the Leica DC Elmarit lens pops out. Beyond that, there’s a slick manual lens ring, allowing you to change settings such as shutter, aperture, ISO and more; there’s even 4K video recording.
Of course, this being an Android device, you’ll have access to all of the pertinent social media apps, so you can easily share the photos you’ve captured. Panasonic has provided some samples here, and they look pretty darn good. (Though, as always, a company providing its own results doesn’t always give us an accurate assessment of the overall quality.)
The rest of the specs include a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, 2GB of RAM, a 2600mAh battery, 16GB of expandable storage (up to 128GB), a 4.7-inch 1080p screen and Android 4.4. It also measures in at 21mm thick, which is obviously a lot larger than your typical smartphone.
The Panasonic CM1 is expected to go on sale in France and Germany in November for 900 euros, with no word yet on a wider release.