Rakuten Mobile has released the original smartphone "Rakuten mini" in line with the second recruitment of the free supporter program. The free supporter program is a program that Rakuten, which has become the same MNO as docomo, au and Softbank since fall 2019, recruits free monitors before the full service in spring 2020. You can use domestic and overseas calls and domestic and overseas data communications free of charge.
The author has fallen out of the primary recruitment [5,000] in the fall of 2019, but is revived by the secondary recruitment [up to 20,000]. Thanks to winning at this timing, I felt like I was able to buy the small smartphone “Rakuten mini” released at the same time and get some residual fortune.
Rakuten mini features a compact size, as the name suggests. Approximately 106.2 height × 53.4 width × 8.6 mm thickness and weighs about 79 g, it is small and light in recent smartphones with large screens. According to Rakuten Mobile, it is the world's smallest and lightest smartphone equipped with mobile Felica [Osaifu-Keitai]. It is large enough to fit in the palm of your hand, so even if you put it on your neck strap and hang it from your neck, you'll forget it.
Compare with a small smartphone “ Palm Phone ''
Speaking of palm-sized smartphones, it was released SIM free in the spring of 2019 “Palm Phone, But the Rakuten mini is slightly larger. Both employ a home-launcher that looks exactly like scrolling the icons vertically.
Rakuten mini's CPU is Snapdragon 439, and Qualcomm says that CPU performance is 25% higher and GPU performance is 20% better than Snapdragon 435 used in Palm Phone. When you compare them, the perceived speed, such as the response to scrolling and touching and the startup time of the app, is clearly different.
The battery is 800mAh for Palm Phone and the Rakuten mini is 1,250mAh. The actual battery life is longer for the Rakuten mini. In addition, the number of corresponding LTE bands is large, Wi-Fi covers 5 GHz, and above all the price is 45,630 yen for Palm Phone, the price of Rakuten mini is 21,800 yen, less than half the price.
In a small smartphone confrontation, it can be said that Rakuten mini is a victory. However, the Palm Phone has IP68 dust and water proof performance, but the Rakuten mini's waterproof and dust proof performance is IPX2 and IP5X and drip-proof level. Also, as will be described in detail later, it should be noted that the Rakuten mini adopts eSIM, so the SIM card cannot be removed.
Osaifu-Keitai is convenient after all
The Rakuten mini is a small smartphone that can be operated without stress and has a good battery life. The rear camera of about 16 million pixels and the front camera of about 5 million pixels are not multifunctional, but they are simple to use and have a filter function and a beautiful skin mode. It's small and light, and it's easy to shake, and the autofocus and shutter speed are slower than the high-end smartphones of each company.
Like a camera, it is the size and weight that can be worn with a neck strap, so it can be used easily and lightly, which is the real pleasure of a small smartphone. For example, when jogging, running in the pants pocket does not cause the pants to slip down due to the weight of the smartphone [true story …]. What's even nicer in such situations is that Osaifu-Keitai can be used at this size. Although QR code payment has become popular recently, it is still convenient to be able to pass the ticket gate with this one.
In addition, as a unique feature of the Rakuten mobile and free supporter program, a beta version of the "Rakuten Link" application that summarizes phone, message and SMS functions is also available. Since it is not pre-installed, you need to add the app yourself.
You can call from the Rakuten Link application because it is a so-called IP phone, so there is no call charge in Japan or overseas. Usage is almost the same as the standard call function. I tried a friend's mobile phone or a landline phone at home, but although I noticed some delay, the sound quality was not bad. If you do not pay much attention to noise and delay, you will not notice an IP phone.
As mentioned above, Rakuten mini uses eSIM, so you cannot replace the SIM card. However, it seems that you can additionally register another provider that provides eSIM service.
I tried to register IIJmio's eSIM plan using QR code as a trial, and I could register and access it as usual. There is no point in using the paid extra service during the free supporter program, but it may be a good idea to remember if you are considering a transfer in the future. By the way, if you switch to a model other than the Rakuten mini with the free supporter program, a fee of 3,000 yen is required to issue nanoSIM.
Lastly, I am worried about how much the Rakuten Mobile network can be used in the first place. The author checks the signal strength everywhere in various places. If the area is already areaed and the outlook is reasonably good, including your home, you are connected without any problems.
As for speed, there are still few users, so it's perfect for the moment. However, roaming of au is still switched in some places, such as in the shadows of buildings or in underground shopping malls, and there are times when it is not possible to connect deep inside the building. What will happen around here? After winning the free supporter program, I would like to closely watch the service in spring 2020.