There’s not a lot of innovation happening in smartphones. They all look the same, with the major changes being constant across product lines and brands. To really shake up the world of smartphones, it’s apparently necessary to think about… toast? Yeah, that’s right. Meet the Balmuda phone.
The Balmuda phone is made by a Japanese company that specialises in making luxury toasters if you can believe it. And, unusually for an established company that ‘decided to release a phone’, it hasn’t just gotten a generic slab of something and rebadged it. That would be far too easy, and it’d also miss the point.
The company has an entire story (make sure your Google Translate is on) explaining why it chose to make a phone, but it boils down to the company having an interesting idea and trying it out. It’s made something compact and filled with curves, which looks like a combination of the feature phones of yore and a modern-day smartphone.
On the inside, it’s not too shabby. The 4.9in display is actually FHD (1,920 x 1,080), there’s a 2, 500mAh battery (which doesn’t sound… great), a Snapdragon 765 processor, and a weird recessed fingerprint reader on the back. It runs Android 11, another sign that Balmuda hasn’t just rebranded someone else’s shoddy hardware, and there’s a USB-C charge port. The phone is rated IPx4, so it should handle being out in the rain but it won’t like being dropped in the sink.
It’s… different. It certainly looks unusual compared to the sea of flat black rectangles that populate the smartphone world at present. But it’s also hard to get. The Balmuda phone is on sale at the moment (at the equivalent of about R14,000 — luxury brand, remember?), but only in Japan. Pity. We’d have liked to get our hands on something different.