Asus Padfone Infinity review: First look

News Basil Kronfli 09:18, 27 Feb 2013

The Padfone 2 has just been announced for the UK, but that hasn't stopped introducing a 1080p update - the Padfone Infinity

No sooner is the Asus Padfone 2 up for pre-order in the UK, the Padfone Infinity is announced at Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona.

Sporting the same phone and dock form factor as its predecessor, the Padfone infinity introduces a 1080p display on both the tablet and the dock, as well as an updated design, not to mention Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 600 processor as found in the HTC One and the LG Optimus G Pro.

Looking less tapered and more, dare we say, iPhone than its predecessor, the Padfone Infinity is a larger 5-inch screened device. The brushed aluminium backing and more classical aesthetic come together to create a bold look that also feels very rich.

The phone doesn't pack on screen buttons, instead, three capacitive buttons sit below the display. While this isn't a stock Android touch, the user interface is generally pretty true to Google's vision.

Despite being metal, the Padfone Infinity still packs NFC under the hood. Asus manages this in a similar way to HTC on the HTC One - by adding a plastic banding for the NFC element to lie. The actual point of NFC contact is the Padfone logo on the reverse - a nice touch.

The real visual highlight has got to be that 1080p display. Even though we've seen plenty of these this MWC, it's still impressing us on every new device it lands on. That Asus couples it with its Super IPS+ screen technology just compounds the wow factor of the 441 pixels per inch panel.

Inside, it's Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. This is crucially important as the update was really for the benefit of tablets over phones. Docking the Padfone Infinity in turn churns out a much more appealing UI than that found on the original Padfone or the Padfone 2.

This also means you're opened up to all of Google's apps as well as a few pre-installed ones from Asus. It's how these apps are handled across pad and phone that really make us coo with anticipation for the phone's release though.

Say you're in the note taking app on your phone, just dock it into your tablet and your note will reopen perfectly stably, only in a complete tablet layout. Ultimately, this makes it feel like you've got two devices, sharing one brain.

And that's understandable, because that's exactly what the setup is. The processor sits inside the phone, the dock is just a screen, a loud speaker and an external battery. The latter even goes so far as to charge your phone when docked, supplementing the handset's 2400 mAh battery.

This means in addition to giving you a bigger display to work with, you also get a re-charged phone when you come to undock.

Other specs of note include a 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragpon 600 processor an 2GB RAM. There's 64GB internal memory, so the lack of expandability via microSD card shouldn't be to much of a problem.

It's set to cost around £799, which you think about it, isn't as astronomical as it sounds. The Sony Xperia Tablet Z for example will set you back over £1200.

Admittedly, Asus' set-up only gives you one processor but for someone who wants just one data contract, one set of game saves and one saved dictionary across devices, the Asus Padfone could be the premium product for you. As for when we can expect this, we'll let you know when Asus set a date. In the meantime, enjoy our hands-on video below.

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