Asus PadFone Review
Introduction:

The Asus PadFone is a pretty unique device – it's a combination of a phone and a tablet chassis, powered by that phone. The idea is that you already have huge processing power in your handset, so why need to buy another device with similar specs when you can use the phone's hardware and only get a bigger screen? This should also translate into saving a few dollars since you don't have to pay twice for things such as the processor.

As good as the idea sounds on paper, though, the PadFone is the first gadget of this kind, so the big question is whether Asus managed to wrap an interesting idea into a similarly well finished product? The answer is not that clear – with tablets slimming down in both bulk and price, the PadFone has to answer to some serious engineering challenges to succeed.

Design:

First, the Asus PadFone itself. It surprises with very elegant, sleek forms, finished in Asus's zenbook design language. That means a very eye-catchy rippled back plastic cover that is also very grippy and practical, and also pleasant to touch.



You can compare the Asus PadFone with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

On the sides, a matte aluminum frame in a teardrop shape encircles the device and holds its volume up and down buttons, as well as the lock key. Those keys are also aluminum with just the right amount of travel – you don't need to press too hard or light, the engineering of the phone itself is excellent.


The Asus PadFone also feels very light at 4.6 ounces, and relatively thin at 0.4 inches (9.4mm). We should also note that it uses the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on-screen buttons, so the front is completely clean of physical or capacitive keys.


We also appreciate Asus' decision to include separate micro-HDMI and micro-USB ports on the left. Having a micro-HDMI port makes it extremely easy to hook up the phone to an HD TV, and cables are easy to find.




Display:

The 4.3-inch 540x960-pixel Super AMOLED screen might not be up to the size game as most high-end Android devices nowadays rely on bigger screens. We wouldn't necessarily hold this against it, but we should caution you that those on-screen buttons take up a noticeable chunk of those 4.3 inches, so you're left with even less space after all.

When it comes to the details, Super AMOLED means a PenTile screen and this in turn translates into less subpixels, and the qHD resolution while not bad certainly seems a bit behind the times. If we don't pick the nits too much though, you'd be happy with the vibrant colors and deep blacks on the display. Asus has handily included an “outdoor mode” that boosts the screen brightness, and makes it much easier to use the screen outdoors even on a sunny day.

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34 Comments

1. kamil

Posts: 118; Member since: Feb 07, 2012

It's actually quite innovative, I like the fact that you can get longer battery life when you connect the phone to the tablet, that what's lacking in the smartphone environment

7. neutralguy

Posts: 1152; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

true true!

9. neutralguy

Posts: 1152; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

IMHO, it's stylus is a great thing. PA saying: "but we wouldn't want to be in your position when people see you talking to a pen." would you rather put a pen next to your ears or put a phablet size phone that almost covers your entire face? Gnote2 should get one of this. It's crazy. It's great. And the thing is, you can talk to someone even if you're phone is charging without worrying about the wires of the charger tucked in to your phone.

15. buccob

Posts: 2975; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Also, if you don't like the pen, you can use the bluetooth of your preference... For me is the Plantronic Backbeat 903+ which is great for music and ok for calls, and it is awesome to hear people with both ears... So PA statement are really exaggerated

36. chocolaking

Posts: 495; Member since: May 22, 2012

I think the pen stylus is such a brilliant idea!! Honestly, would you rather hold up the huge ass tablet to have a conversation? The reviewer is seem to be very very objective while writing reviews.

12. Jeradiah3

Posts: 1149; Member since: Feb 11, 2010

this is a valuable risk. i like the idea and id consider it if the phone was so small. all they need to make this Tablet-Phone combination better is marketing. i hope it doesnt fall by the wasteline like the Dell Streak did

2. OptimusOne

Posts: 694; Member since: May 22, 2012

This atleast deserves an 8-8.5? when this comes to US as form in carrier, I bet the review score will increase

3. RamyRamz69

Posts: 390; Member since: Dec 12, 2011

I wouldn't call a high end phone + a high end 10.1 tablet with a stylus expensive for 850$...

4. ajac09

Posts: 1482; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Id love to see a gs3 with a note type dock. Wish more manufactures would do this

5. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

i think this is a very awesome device... it has eveything I'm looking for... high end tablet with stylus and phone capabilities... not to mention a docking station.. but... too bulky to carry everytime you'll be switching modes. I'd like to wait for a smaller device.. my Asus Prime is getting too much to carry... my next upgrade will involve a 5-7" device for sure. oh by the way, i got rid of that xperia play already for cash and a brand new htc cha cha... will be saving,... soon.

6. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

I think 7 is a fair score. I could have seen it up to 8, maybe 8.5, since it's such an excellent concept (one I had years ago, but using phone to power an all-in-one desktop as well, attaching the portable screen to the body of the AIO which has more connections and/or optical drives), but the execution and pricing doesn't justify the innovative form factor just yet. Get it closer to $500-700, and it'd be a much better purchase

8. neutralguy

Posts: 1152; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

aww. you're kidding right, $500 is just too small for a bundled high end products. This thing is a steal.

10. 305Bucko

Posts: 506; Member since: Aug 07, 2011

PA's statement: "the phone is what powers that big tablet screen" is a little misleading. I know they meant to say the Hardware (not battery). Tell you what... even if the Tablet is not up to PA standards. JUST the FACT that you got 6600mAh of extended battery for your phone is awesome.

11. loken

Posts: 462; Member since: May 09, 2012

now think of paranoid droid rom on this device!

13. gwuhua1984

Posts: 1237; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

How come the review for this come out so late? I thought Padfone been out for a while already the and the price was around 800-900.

14. buccob

Posts: 2975; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

To rate it "7" is actually very unfair. Specially when the Galaxy Beam (priced similarly at around 600 euros) got an "8" and it has lower specs and less features/innovation than this phone. I recently bought a Galaxy S3 and love it, but I was actually waiting for an american version of the PadFone which I think I would have taken full advantages of it features... The Dynamic Switching is overrated, and in my opinion, saving/closing app and then open it again in tablet mode is no deal breaker. Specially since this is one of the fastest phones available...

16. hoonybro90

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 08, 2012

SO,,,, whens the quad core version coming out? heard it was going to be soon... if im getting this, prob waiting till the quad core version.

17. qwertypoor

Posts: 72; Member since: Jun 09, 2012

Asus that phone looks like something else at first glance

18. eman99

Posts: 410; Member since: Aug 03, 2010

an 8 just for the fact no one has done this since the atrix came out with the lapdock

20. jhattara

Posts: 37; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

I've had my PadFone now for six weeks now and I noticed few issues in this review: 1) Yes, getting the phone out of the PadStation requires some getting used to, but I wouldn't say it would be a lot. I think it took me couple of days to find out how to get it out with ease. Just turn the latch until you feel resistance and then you can just pull the phone out. 2) Dynamic Switching DOES support third party apps, you just need to enable them in the "ASUS customized settings" after installing. Games usually don't work and some apps might require you to lock/unlock the phone, but most of the apps I have tried with it have worked without a glitch. 3) Earpiece in the stylus might sound quiet, but actually it just needs correct positioning. At least I have heard from it just as well as from the speaker of the phone itself. No idea about microphone quality as I haven't been on the receiving end yet. 4) Although the stylus can't be docked into the PadStation, the sleeve that comes with the PadStation has a holder for it. 5) The price is a bargain, if you're looking for both a phone and a tablet. Please, tell me where you can find a comparable phone AND a comparable tablet under the price of the entire package, INCLUDING the stylus and keyboard dock. At least in Finland you just can't.

37. jo_Ny

Posts: 27; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

You are totally right. I too noticed those flaws in the review, I even sent an email to the author pointing them but never got a reply!! And these are supposed to be "professional" reviewers!! Especially the Dynamic Switch point is a serious error made by the reviewer.

21. IamYourFather6657

Posts: 321; Member since: Jul 01, 2012

I don't care about the station , I just want the phone

22. jhattara

Posts: 37; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

At least in Finland it's possible to order just the phone from one retailer at 499€ (699€ with the station). Not sure of other countries.

23. IamYourFather6657

Posts: 321; Member since: Jul 01, 2012

here in malaysia you can too

24. ivanprskalo

Posts: 124; Member since: Dec 09, 2010

I think it deserves higher grade than 7. at least 8 or 8,8! I will definitely buy it, but when price goes little bit down.

25. nicholassss

Posts: 368; Member since: May 10, 2012

I kind of like the phone by itself.

26. wildcat80

Posts: 7; Member since: Aug 02, 2012

You guys do a great job, but you seem to have either a short memory or very narrowly compare products. First, Palm had a concept where they connected a mini notebook sized device to their smartphone. Similarly, Motorola has been selling their lapdock products which seem to work virtually the same as this product but without as cool a dock. You have to love the ability to fully hide the phone. I guess its unique in that marriage of the products products a tablet as opposed to a mini laptop, but they seem to be variations on a theme to me.

27. tchad78

Posts: 17; Member since: Aug 17, 2012

The difference with the Lapdocks is that they have no touchscreen. Coming from the Prime - it is amazing how often I used the keyboard to type and the touch screen like a mouse.

28. eyad_996

Posts: 29; Member since: Jul 10, 2012

way too overpriced it's like it's made out of gold

29. jhattara

Posts: 37; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

Please, try to get anything comparable cheaper than this. You won't succeed.
PadFone
  • Display 4.3" 540 x 960 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus, Dual-core, 1500 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 1520 mAh(8.50h 3G talk time)

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