Asus Padfone 2

With a faster processor, tweaked design and bigger battery, the Padfone 2 improves on the original — but Jelly Bean is yet to come.


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About The Author

CNET Editor

Nic Healey can usually be found on a couch muttering about aspect ratios and 7.1 channel sound - which is helpful given that he's the home entertainment guy at CNET.


First impressions

Like its predecessor, the Padfone 2 incorporates an Android-based smartphone that can dock into a 10.1-inch, 1280x800-pixel screen (the Padfone 2 Station), transforming the device into a tablet. The Station has an increased battery life (charging the phone as well), adds some additional storage and will automatically optimise any apps for the new screen size.

There were no real surprises at the launch of the Padfone 2, with photos and specs having leaked in the days leading up to the event.

The new Padfone has a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 quad-core processor, but still, disappointingly, runs Ice Cream Sandwich rather than the newer Jelly Bean (Asus noted that it is "upgradeable" to Jelly Bean). The camera has also increased to 13 megapixels, with a burst mode capable of capturing up to 100 shots at six shots per second, and takes 720p video at 60fps. Memory wise, the Padfone 2 runs from 16GB to 64GB, with an additional 50GB of cloud storage from Asus Webstorage.

The design is also where some major changes have been made. Gone is the slightly fragile "door" at the back for docking the phone unit; the Padfone 2 has a simple slot for the phone to drop into. The phone component itself has an increased screen size of 4.7 inches with a 1280x720-pixel resolution on a Super IPS+ panel (the original was 4.3-inch qHD), but it has lost both thickness and weight, dropping to 9mm at its thickest, 3.3mm at its thinnest and just 135g.

Seemingly also gone is the Bluetooth-enabled stylus that operated as a headset for taking calls when the phone is docked in the Station.

Battery has significantly increased, with the Padfone 2 sporting a 2149mAh battery, while the Station has a 5000mAh battery, which is capable of charging the Padfone over three times. Asus claims that the Padfone 2 by itself has a 3G talk time of 16 hours, 13 hours of browsing, nine hours of video and a standby time of two weeks. With the Station attached, this increases to 48 hours of talk, 39 hours of browsing, 27 hours of video and six weeks of standby.

In all, the new design feels sturdier, yet the total weight of both is just 649g — noticeably lighter than its predecessor. In terms of use, our short hands on suggests that the quad-core processor certainly makes the Padfone 2 feel smoother to use, but we'd need a longer review period to see if it makes a difference to typical usage patterns.

We were definitely quite impressed with the audio — the Asus Sonic Master technology gives excellent sound reproduction, if you're someone who's worried about tablet speakers.

The Padfone 2 will be available in a number of countries across Europe and Asia in December, although Australia is not one of them, and local pricing and availability have yet to be announced. In Taiwan, the price is around AU$860 for the 32GB and AU$930 for the 64GB.

Nic Healey attended the launch of the Padfone 2 in Taipei as a guest of Asus.



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JohnnyW Facebook
10
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"Amazing, exceeds expectations"

JohnnyW posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Build quality, Sound quality, Speed, Battery life

The Bad:When something delivers I dont really want to complain about the price..

Honestly this phone has nailed it.

First and foremost, I am in Sydney Australia and ordered the phone from an online retailer here in Sydney (there a few selling it now) with the Station.

I have an iphone 5, and have owned a ONE X, SGS2, iP 4S, amongst other phones in the past.

This phone is slick! Screen is like ONE X, very clear extremely bright and great out doors.

I have amazingly, on my first full charge cycle, gotten from 7am to 9pm with 86% battery life! Seriously I have not owned a phone that has lasted this long.

Admittedly I only had the screen on for around 2hours 20 minutes, and made about 38 mins of phone calls, but this is awesome - best so far I have ever had.

In terms of power, well it got a score of 7631 on quadrant and its only running ICS.. when it gets Jelly bean this figure might go up even more, which is insane.

The station is well built, light and lasts all as promised on the box :).

Display on Phone is BRIGHT! Clear, and sound quality is impressive, really clear like a little HK or BOSE speaker, very clean sound, not crazy loud just clean.

Im very happy and its a sigh of relief when I took a gamble, but this phone has nailed it.

 

DarrenC posted a reply   

Is it acceptable to post who the online retailer is? As I would be very interested.

 

t.sull posted a comment   
Australia

It certainly seems they have put a lot of effort into this one, excellent design, did you say 3.3mm at its thinnest? I was wondering how it feels in the hand compared to say a Galaxy S3? Is it a plastic backing? Does it have the solid feel of an iPhone, or still cheap and plastic? Does the tablet function in any way without the phone? it seems to be a bit of a gimmick if not; guess i'd have to try it out though.

 

Im Batman posted a reply   
Australia

Agreed, it does look slick, the dock on the tablet looks clean.

Bit sad not to see any pictures of the front of the tablet.

 

Nic Healey posted a reply   
Australia

We've got some shots from the launch event here: http://www.cnet.com.au/asus-padfone-2-launch-339342054.htm




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User Reviews / Comments  Asus Padfone 2

  • JohnnyW

    JohnnyW

    Rating10

    "Honestly this phone has nailed it.

    First and foremost, I am in Sydney Australia and ordered the phone from an online retailer here in Sydney (there a few selling it now) with the Stati..."

  • t.sull

    t.sull

    "It certainly seems they have put a lot of effort into this one, excellent design, did you say 3.3mm at its thinnest? I was wondering how it feels in the hand compared to say a Galaxy S3? Is it a p..."

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