The Padfone 2 is an interesting attempt by Asus to create an all in one tablet and smartphone convertible. However, the initial promise is let down by a number of niggling flaws that make its £600 price tag feel a little steep.
Phone has reasonable screen, decent performance, decent camera in regular light, excellent battery life, ability to run tablet and smartphone off one data plan
Tablet section build quality not great, camera can't handle low light, tablet section's display is disappointing
Model: Asus Padfone 2
Display: 4.7 inches 720x1280 pixels, 312 ppi pixel (Phone), 10.1 inches IPS display, 1280x800 pixels (Tablet)
Processor: Quad-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm
Storage: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
Wireless connections: WLAN 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth V4.0, NFC, LTE/WCDMA, HSPA+ UL:5.76 Mbps/DL:21 Mbps, LTE UL:50 Mbps/DL:100 Mbps 3G WCDMA 900/2100, EDGE/GPRS/GSM : 850/900/1800/1900, LTE 800/1800/2600is
Camera: 13MP rear camera and 1.2MP front camera
Dimensions: 138x69x9mm (Phone), 263x181x10.4mm (Tablet)
Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 2140 mAh battery (Phone), 5000 mAh (Tablet)
Weight: 135g (Phone), 514g (Tablet)
Asus has a track record for creating hybrid devices. This started with its Transformer series of tablets, which allowed users to turn an Android tablet into a fully functioning netbook replacement, using an attachable keyboard dock.
The trend then continued with its original Padfone, which offered users a 4in Android smartphone that could be turned into 10in tablet via a separate docking station.
Despite the clear benefits of the idea, allowing users to run two devices from the same SIM card, the first Padfone was at best a modest success.
And ehile innovative, the device received middling reviews and never really caught on with the general public.
Clearly unperturbed by this, Asus has rushed out a whole new generation of tablet-smartphone hybrids, releasing its its top-end Padfone Infinity, and the mid-range Padfone 2 reviewed here.
Design and build
The Padfone 2 keeps up Asus' understated approach to design, with both the smartphone and tablet section having a bare-bones, minimalist look.
The main phone section, which acts as the heart of the device, looks something like a cross between an iPhone 5 and black LG Optimus 4X HD.
It features a metallic lining around its sides, plain Gorilla Glass front and textured plastic back. complemented with slightly rounded corners.
The Padfone measures in at 138x69x9mm and weighs 135g, meaning it sits in the same size bracket as most current top-end Android smartphones.
Overall, this makes the Padfone smartphone look fairly unassuming when compared to the vibrant designs seen on competing devices like the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4 and Nokia Lumia 920.
While some will be put off by the understated design, we quite liked its unashamed focus on usability over fancy design, with the metal lining and textured back making making the Padfone's smartphone section feel solid yet comfortable in the hand.
Our only real qualm with the smartphone's design is that, like the HTC One and Apple iPhone 5, its silver metal sections are prone to picking up marks and blemishes meaning it can soon start to look scruffy.
Next: Design and build