Feeds
Asus PadFone 2

Review: Asus PadFone 2 phone-tablet combo

Can't decide on a tablet or a phone? Have BOTH IN ONE!

Intelligent flash storage arrays

I thought the first Asus PadFone was a jolly good idea the moment I clapped eyes on it. Sadly it never made it to these shores but the PadFone 2 has. In a nutshell, what we have here is an Android smartphone that can be docked into a dumb tablet giving you not only a choice of two screen sizes but also the convenience of one data connection, and unified app selection and storage.

The phone part of the duo is solid, physically well proportioned and, at 135g, reasonably light. It looks thinner than its actual 9mm front-to-back measurement thanks to a tapering metal frame. There’s a bit of chamfering below the off-screen capacitive buttons to add a touch of style, and it has a pleasingly tactile patterned back.

Asus PadFone 2

Asus' pad'n'phone: the PadFone 2

In fact, the PadFone's phone feels like Asus’ take on the LG-made Google Nexus 4 and, thanks to the same quad-core 1.5GHz quad-core Krait-class Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 2GB of Ram and a very similar 4.7-inch, 1280 x 720 IPS LCD display, that’s exactly how it performs. Thankfully the Asus is less prone to overheating when working hard.

The tablet part of the equation - or "station" as Asus calls it - is just a battery and a 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 IPS LCD screen. It isn’t as pleasant to hold as the phone because it’s made of plastic and has a rather sharp and obvious seam where the front joins the back.

The slight lip that surrounds the screen doesn’t do anything to lessen the feeling that the tablet has been built down to a price. Still, at £599 for the lot, something had to give.

Asus PadFone 2

Docked

Docked the entire kaboodle weighs 649g which puts it between the 662g Apple iPad 4 and the 603g Samsung-made Google Nexus 10. The docking slot at the back adds a slight bulge to the design raising the centre profile from 9mm to 16mm but that has no impact on usability.

Both the phone and tablet screens are made from Corning Gorilla Glass and have an oleophobic coating, though the material sprayed on the tablet doesn’t seem to do its job all that well. Other than that both screens cut the mustard, offering ample brightness thanks to a super-illuminated setting that Asus calls "Outdoor Mode".

Naturally with a pixel density of only 149dpi the tablet screen is noticeably less crisp than the 312dpi phone. It suffers in comparison to the likes of the Nexus 10 and iPad 4 too, but its still a resolution I could live with.

Asus PadFone 2

The phone and dock use a modified micro USB port

There’s no need to worry about the phone not having the grunt to power the tablet because it returns an AnTuTu benchmark score of well over 21,000. Undocked you have a very powerful phone, docked you have a very powerful tablet.

That there is no storage expansion will be a dealbreaker for some folk and means you are stuck with the handset’s 32GB or just over 26GB after system requirements. Talking of system, the PadFone 2 runs Jelly Bean 4.1.1.

At the bottom of both phone and tablet you’ll find a modified micro USB port for charging, data transfer and video streaming. As well as MHL, the port also supports USB On The Go. Curiously you need to turn the USB connector over when you swap it between phone and tablet. You can use regular micro USB cables for both data connection and charging but they fit loosely and come adrift easily. That’s a pain if you want to charge the PadFone and use it at the same time but don’t have the special Asus cable to hand.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Next page: Dock to who

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Microsoft fitness bands slapped on wrists: All YOUR HEALTH DATA are BELONG TO US
Wearable will deliver 'actionable insights for healthier living'
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
Amazon hopes FIRE STICK will light up its video service
We do streaming video? It seems we do...
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?