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Asus Padfone 2 Review: One of the Best Androids We’ve Ever Used

Asus Padfone 2: One of the Best Androids We've Ever Reviewed
Asus Padfone 2: One of the Best Androids We’ve Ever Reviewed

Asus Padfone 2 Review

We’re going out on a limb in this review and say right off the bat that the Asus Padfone 2 is the best Android device that we’ve reviewed so far. We say this mainly because it’s so versatile, ridiculously powerful, and competitively priced. We have a few minor criticisms but the positives greatly outweigh them so this gadget definitely earns our two thumbs up. In fact if we had a rating system here on Unbox we’d give it a 9.5/10. Find out why in our full review below!

Here are the complete specifications for the Asus Padfone 2:

Asus Padfone 2 Spec Sheet

  • 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 (quad-core)
  • Adreno 320 Graphics
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB/32GB/64GB Internal Storage Options
  • 4.7-inch Super IPS+ LCD capacitive touchscreen, 1280ร—720, 312 pixels per inch
  • 10.1-inch IPS display, 1280ร—800 resolution (tablet aka Padfone station)
  • 13.0-megapixel rear-facing camera with autofocus and LED flash
  • Records video 1080p@30fps
  • 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • Phone Battery: 2140mAh
  • Tab Battery: 5000mAh

If you haven’t read our unboxing and initial impressions yet, click here. Now that we have that out of the way let’s jump into the review!

It transforms from a quad-core phone to a quad-core Tablet!

Why is called Padfone? Simple. It can transform from a smartphone to a tablet. You do this by docking the Padfone 2 into the Padfone Station (which is designed like a tablet). Docking it activates the tablet and it will use the insides of the phone for processing, computing, imaging, messaging, calling, and all the radios including 3G/HSPA+ connection. Without the smartphone docked into the station it won’t work as a standalone tablet.

Dock the Padfone 2 in the slot of the Padfone Station
Dock the Padfone 2 in the slot of the Padfone Station
The Padfone 2 Station comes alive as a tablet!
The Padfone 2 Station comes alive as a tablet!

The Padfone 2 is not just some weird gimmick to call attention. It actually works and there are tons of uses for it when docked in the station. So what are the benefits of this set-up? What we loved about it is that the tablet option gave the device much more versatility and flexibility than any other gadget in the market today. Say you’re in the bed or living room relaxing and you want to watch a movie… you won’t enjoy that on a small 4.7-inch screen but it will definitely be better on a display twice the size! Same goes for browsing the web, reading (especially on apps like Pulse and Flipboard), gaming, and social networking.

Another added benefit is the additional battery. The Padfone 2 Station has its own 5,000mAh battery which you can actually use to charge the Padfone 2 when you’re running low on juice. Awesome right? That’s more than doubling the potential power of your smartphone!

The only thing missing, methinks, is a physical keyboard option that you can dock the station to so you have some sort of mini-laptop set-up going. Hopefully this is something that Asus will think about for the next generation Padfone (better yet they should just release the accessory, hehe).

Hardware Review: Design, Aesthetics, and Usability

Looks amazing from any angle. :P
Looks amazing from any angle. ๐Ÿ˜›

One thing that I appreciated a lot about the Padfone 2 is that Asus didn’t make a generic Android handset. The front is made mostly of glass (from the screen) and white plastic. The Asus logo is emblazoned in sliver at the bottom. There’s a brushed metal band around the device which also hosts the power lock, volume rocker, micro SIM tray, and the headphone jack.

IMG_3280

The back is made from some sort of textured matte finish. There’s a circular pattern which gives it a very elegant and classy feel. The texture also helps with the grip so that it doesn’t slip from your hand which usually happens with glass covered gadgets.

Display is abnormally bright… we like it!

The Asus Padfone 2 has a 4.7-inche Super IPS+ LCD Capacitive Touchscreen. The glass itself is made from highly scratch resistant Corning Gorilla Glass. When you turn it on you’ll find the display to be very bright. In fact even at 0% brightness it can pass off as being brighter than the 50% of other devices, lol. This is awesome for users who check their phones mostly when they’re under direct sunlight.

Bright display
Bright display

The display quality is also beautifully detailed and crisp. It has a resolution of 1280×720 which comes out to around 312 pixels per inch. Animations, graphics (especially for gaming), images, and video all look amazing.

Software Performance: Padfone 2 is a BEAST!

As a standalone smartphone, the Asus Padfone 2 is already one of the very best in its class. The quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean combo out-of-the-box is not just for show. Check out the mind-blowing Antutu benchmark results below and see for yourself what we mean.

Smoked!
Smoked!

As you can see the Asus Padfone 2 smoked all the other top handsets from other global brands like Samsung, LG, and HTC.

Want more good news? These numbers are felt in real life usage of the device! When it comes to basic transitions, live wallpapers, animations, widgets, and whatever you want on the screen, the Asus Padfone 2 simply delivers. Where it truly shines though is in graphics intensive applications. We’re talking about games, high quality video playback, high resolution photos, and multiple apps all running at the same time.

One of our favorite test cases for graphics these days is Temple Run 2. The default setting is at medium graphics but you can actually crank this up a notch and put it at HIGH. At this level there are more shadows, more animations, and more pixels. The Asus Padfone 2 can easily take this setting with no problem at all.

You can play Temple Run 2 on HIGH graphics on the Padfone 2 and it looks stunning. No lag or delays too.
You can play Temple Run 2 on HIGH graphics on the Padfone 2 and it looks stunning. No lag or delays too.

We absolutely have no complaints whatsoever with the Asus Padfone 2 when it comes to software performance. It is undeniably one of the kings of Android right now.

Camera is one of the best we’ve ever seen on a smartphone

The Asus Padfone 2 packs a 13.0-megapixel rear-facing shooter with autofocus and LED flash (4032 x 3224 pixels). While the phrase “13-megapixels” sounds impressive on paper, nothing really beats seeing the photos to check for quality. I’m happy to report that we’re very pleased and satisfied with the optics in the Asus Padfone 2. We daresay it’s one of the nicer ones we’ve had the pleasure of trying (and we’ve tried a lot).

Here are sample shots taken during a recent wedding that we attended:

P_20130202_195704

P_20130202_155955

P_20130202_155226

P_20130202_165828

P_20130202_165921

P_20130202_160406

Awesome, awesome, awesome stuff.

Battery life can go the distance, especially with the Padfone 2 Station

The Asus Padfone 2 has a 2,140mAh battery (non-removable). That’s pretty standard these days for high-end smartphones. In terms of real life usage it should be enough to last you a day with moderate-heavy usage. The game changer though is the Padfone 2 Station. It can actually charge the handset giving it more power just in case you’re already low on juice.

By the way, we noticed that the micro USB port of the Asus Padfone 2 looks weird. Apparently they had to modify it a bit for the docking procedure with the Padfone 2 Station. Don’t worry though as your usual microUSB cables will still fit (a bit loose though).

IMG_3291

What we don’t like about the Asus Padfone 2?

We mentioned at the start of this post that we did have a few criticisms for the Padfone 2. First is the absence of a microSD slot. Getting stuck with 16GB or 32GB of storage won’t sit well for some people. If Asus included a microSD slot this would have been ridiculously perfect.

Secondly, the response area of the home button is quite large. There were some instances wherein we accidentally pressed it when your finger brushed on the space when we were hitting the spacebar on the on-screen keyboard.

IMG_3294

Lastly make sure avoid getting the white Padfone 2 model. The back of the Padfone 2 Station (tablet) gets dirty fast so you’ll need to clean it often if you want it to have a pristine, brand new shine.

Value for Money: Php35,000 for a High End Phone… and Tablet?

At face value price the Php35,000 price tag is definitely daunting. However if you’re after maximum value you might want to give it a second look since the Padfone 2 Station gives you the tablet experience in just once package. Despite this we’re certain that the Padfone 2 will still face an uphill climb in the Philippines since our market is very price sensitive. It will probably help though if they’re able to have a telco offer it under one of their postpaid plans to lower the cost of acquisition.

Asus Padfone 2 Feature in Video

If you want to get a better feel of the Asus Padfone 2, watch our segment on it on the Unbox Video Podcast below. The Padfone 2 segment starts at 20:25. Just fast forward to that part if you want to skip the initial discussion about the latest offerings of Cherry Mobile.

Verdict: We love it to bits.

The Asus Padfone 2
The Asus Padfone 2

I honestly cannot count how many Android devices we’ve tried and reviewed but we can definitely say that we will never forget the Asus Padfone 2. It offers so much versatility and power making it one of the very best Androids we’ve ever had the pleasure of reviewing. We highly recommend it to those who have the budget to get one. You will not be disappointed. ๐Ÿ™‚

For those interested, the Asus Padfone 2 is available at Widget City for Php35,590.

Carlo Ople

Carlo is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Unbox.ph. During daytime heโ€™s the Managing Director and Partner of a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines and by nighttime heโ€™s living out his passion as a gadget enthusiast and story teller through Unbox.

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3 Comments

  1. Yeah… Too bad… Nothing is perfect. I agree that having a MicroSD card slot would have made me consider this one and could be a keeper. I will just have to wait for HTC’s M7. It looks quite promising.

  2. @ferdinand marte:

    Comments are good, but to rant curse and be agitated about it is childish. Just don’t buy the damn phone!

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