Balmuda, a Japanese home appliance company well-known for producing expensive high-end steam oven toasters, have recently launched its first ever smartphone. Known simply as the Balmuda Phone, the new device is an interesting first attempt by the brand, especially in terms of design choice.
Just by looking at the phone, it appears that the company had missed the “what’s trendy now?” bandwagon by a decade, and decided to debut a smartphone straight out of the 2010 era – a design that is often reserved for feature phones, such as Apple’s iPhone SE models and the 2017 Nokia 3310. But despite looking like a long lost device that has been rediscovered after rummaging through an unkempt drawer, the Balmuda Phone does feature a respective amount of modern technology.
It comes with a 4.9-inch FHD display with a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, a fingerprint sensor on its rear panel, a USB-C port for data transfer and charging, NFC and Bluetooth 5.2 support, as well as Android 11 out of the box. While the Balmuda Phone does feature considerably thick bezels, there’s actually a punch-hole camera cutout on its display. It’s also worth noting that it is also water and dust resistant, with a rating of IPX4.
Under its hood is a 5G-enabled Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 chipset, paired together with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The phone is equipped with a 2,500mAh battery, which might not impress the smartphone users of today but hey, at least it is still larger than the 1,821mAh battery on the 2020 iPhone SE. The company did not mention any fast-charging support, but claims that a full charge will take approximately 90 minutes.
As for its imaging system, situated parallel to the fingerprint sensor on the phone’s curved rear plastic panel is a lone 48MP primary camera – again, bringing us back to simpler times when telephotos, macros, and depth sensors aren’t even a thing yet. Meanwhile, housed within the punch-hole cutout on its display is a 8MP camera for video calls and, of course, selfies.
The Balmuda Phone will ship in Japan starting 26 November 2021 and is set to retail at JPY104,800 (~RM3,820), which is actually a pretty steep price for a vintage-looking smartphone. Colour-wise, the new device is offered in either Black or White options.
Unfortunately, it may be unlikely for Balmuda to release its first ever smartphone to other markets, with the possible exception being the US. Which is quite a pity actually, as we would really like to try out the device for ourselves and see if a decade-old design could hold out well in this day and age.
(Source: Balmuda [Official website])