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Asus Padfone 2 - Cameras and Software

evan kypreos

By Evan Kypreos

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

Asus Padfone 2 - Cameras

Asus has certainly not scrimped on camera specs. The Padfone 2 comes with a 13-megapixel rear facing camera and dual 1.2-megapixel front-facing cameras (one for the phone and one for the Station), which are primarily meant for video calling.

The app that controls the camera has had a big overhaul since the first Padfone and offers a number of useful features such as camera effects, panorama, scenes and HDR. This makes taking photos a rich experience, you can tweak setting to your heart’s content. Unfortunately the 13-megapixel rear camera really struggles in low light conditions and pictures can be very noisy in anything but perfect conditions.

Another issue is that the colours are a bit muted and there appears to be some heavy post-processing affecting the picture quality. For example the shot of the Shard, below, was taken in good conditions yet the colours are drab and the photo is very flat.

Asus Padfone 2 29

Our dark store cupboard was lit up well by the LED flash, but once again the high resolution sensor struggles with noise.

Asus Padfone 2 30

Aside from pictures the camera can shoot video at 720p at 60fps and at 1080p at 30fps. Video quality is adequate for a phone but again the camera can’t reproduce colours accurately. The front facing camera, on the other hand, do a fine job of sending video over Skype.

Asus Padfone – Software

The Padfone 2 runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. This isn’t the latest version of the Android operating system, but it is just one update off. Plans have been announced for an update to 4.2 in the near future.

The Android experience you get on the Padfone 2 is quite "stock". Asus has added a few features that improve the experience, though. One is a Wi-Fi switching service that automatically connects to the strongest connection you’ve stored. Audio Wizard, on the other hand, lets you pick from five presets that Asus claim provide a more natural sound, whether you’re watching a movie, listening to music, talking or gaming.

Asus Padfone 2

There are also two picture apps exclusive to Asus. The first is called Asus Studio, essentially a slicker version of the normal Android gallery. The second is called Asus Story. This lets you stitch together photos and text into little presentations. Both these features are intuitive and fun to use, but Story did crash on us a few times.

Asus Padfone 2 – Battery life

One area where the Padfone 2 excels is battery life. The phone has a 2140mAh battery, which provides enough stamina for it to last for more than a day with moderate use off a charge. This compares favourably to competitors such as the HTC One and Xperia Z, both of which struggle to last a full day.

We managed to get a little less than eight hours of constant video play with Wi-Fi streaming from the phone and almost exactly the same for the 5000mAh for the Padfone 2 Station. The Station basically doubles the phone’s battery life.

Asus Padfone 2 2

Asus Padfone 2 - Value

It’s hard to defend the Padfone 2 in terms of value. At £600 it costs only slightly less than you’d spend on a 16GB Google Nexus 4 and a 32GB Nexus 10 combined. While the phones are comparable in terms of performance, the Nexus 10 wipes the floor with the Padfone 2 in terms of a tablet experience. Alternatively you can get the recently released Sony Xperia Z, with its full HD screen, microSD card slot and waterproofing and still have money left over for a 16GB Nexus 7 to use as a tablet. The other option is to buy a Samsung Galaxy S3 with a… you get the picture.

The options are almost endless and most provide a better overall experience than the Padfone 2, and allow more than one person to use the phone/tablet at the same time. If you find the Padfone 2 going for a song or you desperately need a 3G 10.1 inch tablet without paying a premium for it then the Padfone 2 is worth considering, otherwise niche users only need apply.

Verdict

The Asus Padfone 2 is a difficult device to dislike because it’s interesting and innovative, but it is also a difficult to defend. The idea of it makes sense on paper and there is a very capable, well-built phone coupled with a functional, if average, tablet. The problem is that it comes at a hefty premium and only one person can use the device at a time.

If the Padfone 2 provided a perfect phone and tablet experience we might be more forgiving of the lack of microSD card slot. However, as it stands, there’s very little to recommend this over practically any other tablet and phone combination at the price.

Overall Score

7

Scores In Detail

  • Camera 7
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 8
  • Screen Quality 7
  • Usability 9
  • Value 4
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schriss

October 16, 2012, 5:40 pm

It probably doesn't have Full HD screen because it would then compete with Transformer Infinity.
Still, it seems to be perfect choice for me. It's what I wanted - to have a bigger screen for my phone, which is still the one and only device I want to continue using.

TechVegan

October 17, 2012, 2:58 pm

The lack of Full HD screen is also to keep the price down and preserve battery life.

Indeed, with you on the bigger screen for phone thing - personally really miss a keyboard option though.

gdawg304

October 17, 2012, 3:23 pm

Now if they'd just sell the phone without the tablet, at a cheaper price....the handset sounds like a real S3 and iPhone 5 beater (the latter feels like a toy in the hand, bring back glass and stainless steel!).

jsg

October 17, 2012, 9:37 pm

Think this Padfone is rather pointless. Buy a regular android and ASUS Transformer which would probably be cheaper. What I would want is a cheap £100 tablet shell that fits my phone. So that all the tablet consists of is a screen, charging battery and maybe a graphics card and my phone does the rest. Why doesn't ASUS make that?

epony

October 17, 2012, 10:38 pm

Seeing as it's got Bluetooth 4.0, is there any reason why I wouldn't be able to sync it with an wireless keyboard?

TechVegan

October 18, 2012, 9:39 pm

They might well do, it was hinted that the phone might be sold seperately in the UK - and yes, specs and features-wise it totally beats the iPhone 5/Galaxy S3.

TechVegan

October 18, 2012, 9:43 pm

"Buy a regular android and ASUS Transformer which would probably be cheaper." No it wouldn't, not for these kind of specs.

Plus it does have its advantages: both together weigh less than an iPad, you only need one data contract, everything merges flawlessly so you never need to sync anything or re-download apps/savegames/etc...

"So that all the tablet consists of is a screen, charging battery and maybe a graphics card and my phone does the rest."
That IS EXACTLY what the PadStation is, barring the graphics card which is already as good as it gets on an ARM platform... were you referring to one that would fit any phone?

TechVegan

October 18, 2012, 9:44 pm

No reason whatsoever dear reader.
In fact, Asus may well bring out a keyboard folio case further down the line...

john g

October 19, 2012, 12:26 am

I think it's interesting to watch convergence at work - almost like natural selection! I'd always seen tablets as devices for data consumers, whilst data producers would go for a laptop or netbook. Now the distinction between these two fundamentally different sorts of uses is blurring, thanks to devices like these.

Is the omission of a keyboard so catastrophic if the device will work with a Bluetooth keyboard? For me, that wouldn't matter hugely - I suspect the biggest practical difficulty would be the lack of a kick-stand to hold the tablet on a table at the correct angle for viewing.

schriss

October 19, 2012, 1:30 pm

You missed the point of this innovation completely. If I had use for Transformer Infinity, I would already have it, or any of the Galaxy Tabs. But this Padfone 2 - that's exactly what I want. I want to put my phone into bigger screen with a battery and use it like a tablet, then in the morning take it out and go to work with just the phone.

Powerful

October 19, 2012, 7:44 pm

A number of companies already make bluetooth keyboard cases with kickstands for iPad and others... I suspect it won't be long before they get one sorted for this.

Now all I want is one with a couple of sd card slots built in.

Looking forward to heaving the whole lot to my head when the phone rings!

TechVegan

October 22, 2012, 2:27 pm

"I think it's interesting to watch convergence at work" - very true, I think the convergence we're now seeing between laptop and tablet is one of the most interesting developments in the tech world atm.

As to the keyboard base like on the original Padfone - don't forget that it was not JUST a keyboard, but also increased connectivity and battery life...

As to kickstand, there will be one coming out from Asus.

jsg

October 23, 2012, 6:02 pm

Actually you're right. I thought that the tablet was an Android device on it's own. 650 pounds is about the price of a galaxy s3 + a nexus 7, if they brought the price down I would be interested. Thanks for correcting me.

Rory

June 25, 2013, 3:09 am

how can "Can only use one device at a time" be a con, it's one device not 2

combe

June 29, 2013, 8:56 pm

Hi guys! I'd like to take this phone.
The phone look really nice.
But, I will take just a phone, without station.

Can you tell me, is it good choice?
Is phone products heating problems or bad performance??
I see on net, many people complain on camera dust?

Thanks guys!

User996

May 22, 2014, 4:26 pm

if you haven't taken something else yet phone is very solid and it'svery good other than camera dust problem. but for this model (padfone 2) you can't take just phone, it is 2in1 set

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