Asus Padfone 2 review

We review the Asus Padfone 2, the ultimate convergence device or a gamble that didn't pay off?

Rating: 
5
Typical Price: 
£599.00
Pros: 
Fantastic concept, well executed, Powerful, perfect for gaming, Screen on phone is sharp and bright, Strong battery life
Cons: 
Low resolution tablet dock, Phone back slippery, feels hollow, Dock functionality very occasionally glitchy,
Verdict: 
The Asus Padfone 2 hasn’t just created a new sub genre of device, it’s totally nailed it with strong design, a clean UI, stacks of functionality, incredible performance and fantastic battery life.

The Asus Padfone 2, it’s a phone, it’s a tablet and it’s finally available to buy in the UK.

Key specs include quad-core internals, a 720p screen and 32GB of memory. Sound all too familiar? That it may, but the Padfone 2 is fundamentally different from every other phone on the market thanks to its tablet dock.

Doubling up as a battery pack and a cranked up loud speaker, the dock’s key feature is its tablet form factor.

Costing £599 for phone and dock, it might seem pricey at first glance, but after a week and a half with the Padfone 2 we’d argue to the contrary.

What’s more, Asus has done far more than create a phone/tablet replacement, it has created an entirely new, entirely relevant product category.

Asus Padfone 2 review: Design

With individual styling, the Asus Padfone 2 doesn't look like an iClone or a Samsung Galaxy S3 by any means.

At 9mm thick, it isn’t even racing in the skinny phone relay and with a 4.7-inch display, it features a screen size that’s been tried, tested and mass produced to the nines.

What you do get therefore is a sizing we know works, a phone that fits in the hand and still feels secure.

The backing packs a spiral moulded plastic finish which we aren’t too particular about. It’s somewhat slippery in sweaty hands and feels slightly hollow at the top, surrounding the camera mount.

The sides are in contrast framed with a rich aluminium, cold to the touch and grippy to boot.

As for the fascia, there’s that 4.7-inch display in centre stage and three capacitive buttons underneath. Below these sits a nuanced chin, recessed, producing a rich bevelled illusion.

The power button and volume rocker sit along the right side. At the top is the 3.5mm headphone jack and microSIM eject tray, while down below is the microUSB port.

The tablet portion is considerably simpler to sum up. Being little more than a brainless chassis, there are no ports beyond a quirky microUSB port for charging. Buttons include a power button and a volume rocker, while a loud speaker and a front facing camera make up the only other highlights.

When docked, the Padfone is incredibly secure, looks good and is by no means unwieldy.

All in all, a huge, huge improvement over the original Padfone and a form factor that in principle and execution, gets our attention and our vote.

Asus Padfone 2 review: Screen

The displays are a mixed offering. Both phone and tablet are HD Super IPS+ displays, but neither are full HD.

In terms of pure screen tech, Super IPS+ produces a strong picture and the Padfone 2 is no exception. Viewing angles are superb, brightness levels impressive and responsiveness lagless.

The phone portion takes this further by delivering a very respectable 720p resolution and a PPI, that’s pixels per inch of 312. Video, photos and text therefore look fantastic with gorgeous pure whites and a sharp picture.

The tablet however is where things start to fall down a little. Despite the screen tech being strong, the 1280x800 pixel resolution is very outdated. Originally debuting on the Motorola XOOM, this drops the PPI to a middling 149, much lower than that of today’s premium tablet experiences, with the Google Nexus 10 packing a whopping four times the pixel count.

When the tablet hitsthe masses, we’ve been told it will have Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Our version however packed 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. Asus customises the experience ever so slightly by removing the on screen buttons and adding some quick settings. It also adds a pretty aggressive power manager which we’ll come onto in the battery section.

Given the fact all add to the experience, off the bat, we’re happy with what the Padfone 2 offers.

Specifications

Length 137.9mm
Width 68.9mm
Thickness 9mm
Weight 135g
Screen Size 4.7-inches
UK Launch March 2013
Phone Style Touch screen, with optional tablet dock
Typical Price £599
Camera Resolution 13-megapixels
Video Resolution 1080p, 30fps
Flash LED
Built-in Memory 32GB
Additional Memory Asus WebStorage, 50GB

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