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Asus Padfone 2 review

evan kypreos



Our Score


User Score


  • Unique two devices in one hybrid
  • Decent phone
  • Speedy processor
  • Good battery life


  • Expensive
  • Poor tablet screen
  • Can only use one device at a time

Review Price £650.00

Key Features: 4.7in 720p IPS Plus phone screen; 10.1in 1280 x 800 IPS tablet screen; 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 quad-core CPU with Adreno 320 graphics; 2GB RAM, 32-64GB of storage

Manufacturer: Asus

What is the Asus Padfone 2?

The Asus Padfone 2 is an Android phone that can be slotted into a tablet-like dock called the Padfone 2 Station. It's a hybrid device – a top of the range smartphone that, with one easy movement, becomes a 10.1-inch tablet.

At first glance it makes sense. You’ll rarely be using a phone and tablet at the same time so why spend money on two different devices when you can use one to power the other? With a quad-core Snapdragon processor and 2GB RAM there’s more than enough under the hood. But can the Padfone 2 really provide the best of both the phone and tablet experiences?

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Asus Padfone 2 - Design and build quality

To use an old footballing cliché, this will be a review of two halves. On the one hand we have a very high spec 4.7-inch phone and on the other we have a 10.1 inch tablet. For this reason we’ll split the review into more manageable sections.


The Padfone 2 phone is one of the best-specced phones on the market, and it also shows off the great build quality we’ve come to expect from Asus products.

It’s quite reminiscent of a black iPhone 4S - a good thing. A silvery metal trim surrounds the phone, with a metal SIM-card holder at the top, next to a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The trim makes the Asus Padfone 2 look and feel like a premium phone but it’s all slightly spoiled by a plastic section at the bottom of the phone that tries, but fails, to look like a continuation of the metal. This stops the antenna from shorting, but it’s not an elegant solution.

The body tapers slightly from top to bottom, which makes it much easier to hold and reach those corners that can be a bit tricky to get to on larger phones. At 136g it’s not too heavy, but neither is it too light, a common complaint made about the iPhone 5.

Once you turn it onto its black hard plastic back the Padfone 2 phone looks even better. The camera is centred near the top of the phone, with the LED flash sitting below it and a speaker grille just to the right. It even makes a design statement with a series of concentric ridges that spread out from the camera.

Not only does this separate the Padfone 2 phone from most of its competitors, it also provides an extremely solid grip. It’s different but we like it. The one thing that spoils the line is the micro-USB socket, which juts out a little too far.

Oddly the phone’s back is removable but as there no microSD card slot inside and you’re not supposed to change the battery yourself there hardly seems any point.

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Unlike the Asus Padfone 2’s phone part, the tablet is quite traditionally styled. A 2cm black bezel surrounds the screen, which houses a 1.2-megapixel front facing camera. The volume rocker and speaker grille are situated on the right of the tablet, while the power button sits on the top left. A microUSB charging socket sits on the bottom edge.

Asus Padfone 2 5

The back is covered in soft touch plastic, which doesn’t feel as premium as some other tablets. The back also houses the Asus Padfone 2’s phone socket. This is a cradle and dock that the phone slots into. It connects with a satisfying clunk and feels very secure once in. There’s no chance the phone will accidently fall out.

Unfortunately having to fit a whole phone inside it makes the Padfone 2 tablet a bit lumpy. Odd ridges and ledges make a bit of a mess of the design, although the tablet does a good job if you’re more interested in function over form. The docked phone doesn’t get in the way of holding the tablet in landscape or portrait mode and it’s actually slightly lighter than an iPad 4.

Asus Padfone 2 2

Asus Padfone 2 –Screen and speakers

The Padfone 2 phone has a 1,280 x 720 IPS screenswhile the tablet has 1,280 x 800 resolution. Due to the difference in screen sizes however their pixel densities are very different. The phone is a reasonable 312 PPI, while the tablet has to make do with a measly 149 PPI.


The Asus Padfone 2’s phone screen is very good. It may not have the full HD resolution of the latest new phones, such as the Sony Xperia Z, HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 but the resolution is more than adequate for all but the pickiest.

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Where the Asus’s screen excels is with its rich and deep colours. It manages to provide these without looking oversaturated, and avoids the unpleasant colour tones of some AMOLED screens. If there’s one tiny grumble it’s that the blacks aren’t as deep as those found on OLED displays like the stunning display of the Samsung Galaxy S4.

The scratch resistant corning glass is obligatory these days but the Padfone 2’s phone also has an oleophobic (grease resistant, to you and me) layer. This isn’t a miracle layer, and if you’re tucking into a bucket of KFC while using the phone it will get greasy. However, it resisted fingerprints better than most other phones we’ve tested.

We are also impressed by the maximum volume of the internal speaker. The sound quality at the loudest volumes isn’t great but it’s more than possible to watch a film or listen to some slightly tinny music with company.


It was always going to be difficult for the tablet to live up to the phone’s screen but, unfortunately, it doesn’t even live up to most decent tablets on the market either. The 1,280 x 800 resolution looks sharp on another Asus built tablet, the Google Nexus 7, but that’s on a much more forgiving 7-inch screen. On a 10.1-inch device this resolution doesn't cut it.

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The main gripe is that the Padfone 2’s screen is not quite as sharp as it should be and its colours are slightly anaemic. In addition the anti-fingerprint coating on the tablet doesn’t work quite as well as it does on the phone. You’ll quickly find a crisscross of smears all over the screen.

Watching video is a perfectly acceptable experience. 720p footage looks detailed, if a little drab. The main problems arise when web browsing or reading text. Fonts are a little fuzzy around the edges and you’ll notice it even more if you’ve ever used a sharper-screened tablet like the iPad 4 or Nexus 10.

We’d much prefer it if the Padfone 2 Station had a higher res display. A full HD screen would make a huge difference and it’s a bit of a mystery why Asus has decided to cut corners here, other than to keep costs down. The Padfone 2’s bigger brother, the Padfone Infinity, is able to switch between 1,920 x 1,080 for the phone to 1,920 x 1,200 for the tablet, so it’s not because of any technical limitation.

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Screen disappointment aside, docking the phone into the tablet provides a seamless transition from small screen to big. It takes just a second to switch over and Asus has cleverly tweaked the Android OS to recognise when you’re in tablet mode, altering the layout accordingly.

It’s a pleasingly intuitive feature and, if you do happen to get a call, the tablet also works as a hands free phone so you don’t actually need to remove the phone form the cradle to answer.

Once again the mono speaker is all about being loud, but behaves better at its highest volume than the one in the phone. It’s a little disappointing that the Padfone 2 Station doesn’t possess stereo speakers, which have become the norm in 10.1-inch tablets. Go to the next page to see how the Padfone 2 does in terms of features.

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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.


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.


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!).


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?


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?


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.


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?


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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


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!


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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