Fujitsu Tegra 3 Phone Hands-On: Fingerprint Reader, Physical Buttons

HTC and LG aren't the only ones getting into the Tegra 3 smartphone game. Japanese electronics vendor Fujitsu, which sells a lot of smartphones in Asia but none in the U.S., showed off its own prototype Android handset based on Nvidia's quad-core processor at Mobile World Congress.

The as-yet-unnamed 4.6-inch Fujitsu Tegra 3 smartphone sports a 4.6-inch, 1280 x 800 screen that looked very sharp in our brief hands-on, but not as colorful as the AMOLED screen on the Samsung Galaxy or the Super LCD panel on the HTC One X. We're not sure whether it was the screen or the software build or something else, but the screens on the three sample devices we played with didn't always recognize our swipes.

The black, matte plastic chassis on the Fujitsu Tegra 3 phone looks rough, unfinished, and downright ugly, but we can only assume that Fujitsu will make some changes to the design before launch. Like HTC, LG, and ZTE, Fujitsu does not agree with Google's decision to make Ice Cream Sandwich's navigation buttons virtual icons. In fact, the company disagrees so strongly that it is using hard plastic, physical navigation buttons below the screen rather than the less-obtrustive flat capacitive buttons used by others.

On its back side, the Fujitsu Tegra 3 smartphone sports a whopping 13.3-MP camera that's low-light sensitive and capable of shooting at ISO 25600. We can't vouch for the quality of the images, but, when we fired up the camera app and hit the shutter button, the phone took a very noticeable couple of seconds to shoot, meaning that it's not capable of the kind of high-speed shooting we've seen on HTC's One Series.

Perhaps the most unique feature of Fujitsu's Tegra 3 phone is a fingerprint reader, which sits just below the camera lens on the back of the device. The company currently offers biometric security on a number of its phones so the Tegra 3 phone is just following their lead. Unfortunately, there was no software on the Tegra 3 that we could use to test the reader.

As far as software goes, the demo units on display had nothing more than stock Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, with a couple of gaming apps installed and a bright pink wallpaper on one of the devices. Perhaps Fujitsu and its carriers will make some significant changes to the default look of Android before this comes out.

Though we did not have the opportunity to surf the web or play videos on the Fujitsu Tegra 3 smartphone, we were able to play a game of the demanding jet ski racing game Riptide GP, which we've tested before on Tegra 3 tablets. As on the Galaxy Transformer Prime tablet, Riptide GP was speedy and detailed with lots of gorgeous water effects.

Though Fujitsu has no name for its Tegra 3 phone, a rep did tell us it was likely to be a member of the "Arrow" line of handsets. No word yet on pricing or availability, but it's not likely to come to the U.S.