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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

The Balmuda Telephone is a compact cellphone from a high-end toaster firm

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Japanese design firm Balmuda right now introduced its first smartphone at a press occasion in Tokyo. The straightforwardly titled Balmuda Telephone is the debut product from Balmuda Applied sciences, a brand new division of the corporate beforehand recognized for fashionable, premium house home equipment like air purifiers and rice cookers. Balmuda’s toaster specifically has a cult following in Japan.

As you’d count on, the Balmuda Telephone is kind of a bit totally different to different telephones available on the market. CEO Gen Terao mentioned on stage that he felt that smartphones have gotten too huge and unwieldy lately, so the Balmuda Telephone was designed with compactness and class as the first objectives. It has a really sharp 4.9-inch 16:9 1080p show and is roughly akin to a 4.7-inch iPhone SE; the show is barely greater and the cellphone is 2mm wider, however the smaller bezels imply it’s 15mm shorter.

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The Balmuda Telephone is far thicker within the center than on the sides.

The Balmuda Telephone is a full 13mm thick at its thickest level, however the again panel tapers down closely towards the sides. There’s a single massive digital camera with a 48-megapixel sensor within the prime proper nook, and it’s mirrored by a fingerprint sensor within the prime left. The 8-megapixel selfie digital camera is housed in a hole-punch cutout on the prime proper of the display.

The cellphone’s specs are usually mid-range. The processor is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 and there’s 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The battery is simply 2,500mAh, which can hopefully be offset considerably by the lower-power processor, although we’ll have to check for ourselves to see. The cellphone does fortunately have wi-fi charging.

The place Balmuda is absolutely differentiating itself is with design. It’s a well-worn tech writing cliche to say that one thing “feels good within the hand,” however that was clearly Balmuda’s intent right here with the compact measurement and curved again that nestles into your palm like a pebble. I’ve huge arms, granted, however I feel nearly anybody would discover this extra comfy to make use of than the hefty 6-inch slabs most of us carry round nowadays. Whereas the case is plastic, construct high quality feels strong and there’s a pleasant distinction between the textured again panel and the shiny edges. All in all it’s a cute, enticing object.

The Balmuda Telephone has a textured plastic again and is available in black or white.

Balmuda’s built-in calendar app, which syncs with Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook.

The software program, based mostly on Android 11, can be very totally different to what you’d discover on most Android telephones right now. There’s an interactive house display with numerous parts of the wallpaper customizable for various shortcuts; for instance, you may swipe on one of many strains to launch Google Maps. Horizontal swipes transfer you between a number of the built-in software program, like a calendar, a notes app, and a calculator. All of those had neat design touches, just like the notes app’s visible timeline of pictures and memos, or the calculator app’s built-in forex conversion and talent to deal with massive Japanese numbers which can be counted within the 10,000s quite than the 1000’s.

The Balmuda Telephone will probably be obtainable in Japan on contract with SoftBank later this month, and Balmuda is promoting an unlocked mannequin itself for 104,800 yen (about $920). Which may sound like lots for a compact Android 11 cellphone with these specs, however then $329 in all probability seems like lots for a toaster, too. In each {cases}, you’re paying for the design and the consumer expertise quite than the invoice of supplies, and this clearly isn’t geared toward anybody who desires a standard Android flagship. As somebody who does personal Balmuda’s toaster, I’m trying ahead to discovering out how nicely the cellphone holds up underneath normal use — as a result of a lot as I just like the toaster, a smartphone is much more vital to my life.

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