The first Asus Padfone station was a creepy device with an awful design and user experience; however, Asus has done a lot of work to improve the concept of smartphone/tablet hybrid. The new Asus Padfone 2 is a decent device, but its originality can still awe most users away. The Padfone 2 is a symbiotic device that gives you a unique experience of smartphone in a tablet. Unfortunately, the device is too compromising and will not satisfy the likes of great smartphones and tablets.
The design of the Padfone 2 is based around a docking slot where the smartphone is installed. The flap arrangement is done beautifully, and the docking process has never been easier. Nevertheless, the design of the smartphone and the tablet leaves much to be desired. They feel plasticky and awkward in hand. The two lack solidity and a flourish look of Asus rivals – Sony, HTC, and Samsung. The smartphone measures 137.9x 68.9x 9mm and weighs 135g, while the tablet is 263×180.8×10.4mm and weighs 514g. Although the two parts are nice to hold, their conundrum makes it difficult to use the device on the table. In addition to that, the total weight stands at 649g; its rivals – the Nexus 10 and the Sony Xperia Tablet Z – are much lighter.
When it comes to hardware and displays, the device fares off decently. The Asus Padfone 2 sports a 1.5GHz quadcore Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with 2GB of RAM. The internal memory options range from 16GB to 64GB plus 50GB of webstorage for two years. The smartphone has a 4.7in 1280×720 IPS display with nice viewing angles and 312ppi. The brightness is boosted up to 550 nits. The tablet can work only in pair with the smartphone. It has a 10.1in display with 1280x900pxl display. The great thing is that the two parts can share battery power through a bespoke connector. The battery of the smartphone is 2140mAh, while the tablet has 5000mAh. The speaker performance of the device is good. When it comes to audio options, the device offers some for movies, music, and TV. The installed AudioWizard enhances the sound and has several nice tweaks. The calling behavior quality differs on the smartphone and the tablet.
When it comes to software, the device runs on a mostly raw Android 4.1.1, but with some notable tweaks. For example, a user can set the ways the device connects to different Wi-Fi networks at home, in office, etc. The behavior of apps can be modified. The device can use apps both on the smartphone and the tablet simultaneously, syncing all data. The BuddyBuzz app is a kind of Asus’ Android Gallery app, which is perfect for handling photos and videos. All in all, the device caters all Android experiences mostly flawless, but some unprompted restarts do happen when the parts get connected or disconnected.
The device features three cameras: 1-megapixel front-facing camera of the tablet, 1.2-megapixel front-facing and 13-megapixel rear-facing cameras of the smartphone. The front-facing cameras perform decently, while the 13-megapixel rear-facing camera leaves much to be desired – the images are blurry and noisy. Meanwhile, the camera app has been changed and given a number of new options, such as HDR, scenes, and panorama. Asus has added a number of handy photo filters, too.
All in all, the Asus Padfone 2 is a good device, but with a number of serious issues. Its design, performance, cameras, and other features cry “compromise.” It will cost one about 599 pounds, so it may be better to purchase a high-end smartphone or tablet for the sum. The Nexus 4, the Nexus 10, and the latest Xperias are better options. Asus has solved a lot of problems of the Padfone concept, but, nevertheless, failed to find a niche. Its syncing options are usual for Android, so users can have two different devices rather than a middle-range one. The Asus Padfone 2 is neither a great smartphone nor tablet, so Asus is in a tricky situation.