Tablet or smartphone, or both?
The design of the Asus PadFone 2 is very similar to that of the original PadFone, although a little longer and wider to accommodate the bigger 4.7-inch display. Asus shaved off 0.2mm in thickness to keep the PadFone 2 (9mm) in line with the other top Android phones such as the HTC One X+ (8.9mm) and Samsung Galaxy S III LTE (8.6mm). Handling wise, the PadFone 2 is comparable to its counterparts.
ASUS ships the PadFone2 with Android 4.0. The main reason for not having the latest Android OS is due to the extra time required to integrate ASUS’s DynamicDisplay, a technology that automatically adjusts the PadFone’s display layout when docked into the PadFone Station. ASUS did bundle a handful of software features on the PadFone 2 such as Instant Dictionary, Audio Wizard and ASUS Studio.
Instant Dictionary is an app that translates foreign languages and checks word definitions. The number of languages supported is quite extensive, including Spanish and Russian.
Another highlight of the PadFone 2 is its new Station accessory. The Station is where the PadFone 2 docks, thus converting the smartphone into a tablet. The Station also acts as a secondary power source with a built-in 5000mAh battery. Being thinner and lighter, the combined weight (649g) of the PadFone 2 and its Station is slightly lighter than the third/fourth generation iPad, which start from 652g.
Armed with a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core 1.5GHz processor and 2GB RAM, the PadFone 2 delivered a smooth user experience. Its 4.7-inch Super IPS+ display, with a resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels, is one of the best in the market with sharp text and accurate colors.
The 13-megapixel rear camera is impressive as it boasts a Digital Still Camera-class Sony BSI sensor with five-element lens, F2.4 aperture and a dedicated image signal processor. Photos turned out to be impressive.
Unfortunately though, when it comes to battery performance, the PadFone 2 struggled to make it through the day with frequent messaging and surfing the Internet. On the other hand, having the Station around can come in handy for a quick charging session while on the road.
The PadFone 2 is a compelling choice for consumers who can’t make up their minds if they require a tablet companion. Aside from its below-average battery life, the PadFone 2 is probably one of the best Android smartphones you can get at the moment.
NETWORK: GSM 1900 /1800 / 900 / 850, HSPA 900 / 2100, LTE 800 / 1800 / 2600
OPERATING SYSTEM: Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
PROCESSOR: 1.5GHz quad-core processor
BUILT IN MEMORY: 2GB RAM
DISPLAY: 4.3-inch Super IPS+, 1280 x 720 pixels
CAMERA: 13-megapixel BSI rear camera / F2.4 / Five-element lens / Auto Focus / LED flash
VIDEO SUPPORT: H.263 / H.264 / MPEG4
AUDIO SUPPORT: WMA / MP3 / 3GP / AAC / AAC+ / 3.5mm audio output jack
CONNECTIVITY: Built-in GPS with A-GPS and Google Maps / Bluetooth 4.0 / NFC / WLAN 802.11 a/b/g/n / ASUS 13-pin dock connector (supports microUSB 2.0 and Mobile High-Defi nition Link for HDMI connection)
STORAGE TYPE: 32 / 64GB
DIMENSIONS: 137.9 x 68.9 x 9mm