Asus Padfone 2 review: Plug and play

GSMArena team, 21 February 2013.
Pages: 123456789101112

Tags: Asus, Android

Google Now shows what virtual assistants should be like

Google Now was first introduced in Jelly Bean 4.1 and is definitely one of the most interesting additions to the OS. Simply put, it's Google's version of a personal assistant. Google Now is in the same neck of the woods as Apple's Siri, but it learns constantly from your use patterns.

It's accessed by swiping up on any of the three on-screen controls and gives you a short overview of information it believes is relevant to you. Going to work the same route every morning? Google Now will let you know there's a big traffic jam on your usual way to the office and will offer to re-route you.

It can interpret a lot of things from your search history as well. If you've been searching for, let's say, your favorite football team, Google Now will prepare a card showing you the next match the team is playing and will provide you with score updates once the game begins.

Asus Padfone 2 Review Asus Padfone 2 Review Asus Padfone 2 Review Asus Padfone 2 Review
Google Now is getting better

Google constantly updates Google Now and in its latest version has become even smarter. If you allow it, the service can scan your email for upcoming flights, deliveries or restaurant reservations and let you know when they are due. There are also numerous kinds of cards like birthdays (yours and those of your contacts and friends in the Google+ social network) and what distance you've walked in a particular month. The last one could definitely feel creepy for some users, but it's easy to turn off from the Google Now settings menu.

Google has also integrated Voice Actions. They can handle stuff like sending messages (SMS or email), initiating a voice call, asking for directions, taking a note or opening a site. Google Now can also launch apps, check and manage your calendar and look for nearby places of interest and stuff like movie openings in theaters.

One big advantage of Google's Jelly Bean is that the voice typing functionality doesn't require an internet connection to work. You can enter text by speaking anywhere you can use the on-screen keyboard - be it the Messaging app or a note taking app - without the need for a data connection as long as you have pre-downloaded the needed language packs (and those only take about 20-25MB of your storage per pack).

Making voice typing available offline also made things faster as it's not dependent on the speed of your data connection. What's even more impressive is that the transition hasn't cost it anything in regards to accuracy.

Synthetic benchmarks

The Asus Padfone 2 is powered by what was until very recently the most powerful chipset in the Android camp and that's the Snapdragon APQ8064 Pro. The four Krait CPU cores in the Padfone 2 are clocked at 1.5GHz and are bundled with an Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB of RAM.

It's a truly powerful package, but no longer that uncommon as the Oppo Find 5, Nexus 4, HTC Butterfly and Xperia Z pack the same chipset. So, to come on top of the slew of similarly-spec'd droids out there, the Padfone 2 will depend on its clever use of resources and UI optimizations.

First up in our battery of benchmark tests was BenchmarkPi, which tests the calculative performance of the individual processor cores. Here, the Padfone 2 comes on top of the high-end droid pack by the skin of its teeth, beating the benchmark heavyweight champion Xperia Z by just 2 miliseconds.

Benchmark Pi

Lower is better

  • Asus Padfone 2
    262
  • Sony Xperia Z
    264
  • Oppo Find 5
    267
  • Sony Xperia T
    269
  • HTC One X+
    280
  • LG Optimus G
    285
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    305
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    330
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    350
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    359
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    362
  • Nexus 4
    431

The Padfone 2's march forward continues in Linpack, where multithreaded performance is put to the test. Here, the Padfone 2 also manages to beat the Xperia Z, but just barely.

Linpack

Higher is better

  • Asus Padfone 2
    623
  • Sony Xperia Z
    630
  • LG Optimus G
    608
  • Oppo Find 5
    593
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    214.3
  • Nexus 4
    213.5
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    189.1
  • HTC One X+
    177.7
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    175.5
  • HTC One X
    160.9
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    141.5

In the compound benchmarks AnTuTu and Quadrant the Padfone 2 doesn't disappoint and ranks just as high as the other Krait-powered smartphones out there.

AnTuTu

Higher is better

  • Asus Padfone 2
    21922
  • Sony Xperia Z
    20794
  • Oppo Find 5
    15167
  • Nexus 4
    15146
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    13562
  • HTC One X+
    13519
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    12288
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    11820
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    11633
  • LG Optimus G
    11226

Quadrant

Higher is better

  • Asus Padfone 2
    7846
  • Sony Xperia Z
    8075
  • HTC One X+
    7632
  • LG Optimus G
    7439
  • Oppo Find 5
    7111
  • HTC One X
    5952
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    5916
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    5450
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    5170
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    4814
  • Nexus 4
    4567

We ran GLBenchmark off-screen, which means we're testing at a fixed resolution for a more comparable gauge of its raw GPU power. The Padfone 2 aced this one as well, scoring 1 FPS higher than the Oppo Find 5 and a tad better than the Sony Xperia Z.

GLBenchmark 2.5 Egypt (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Asus Padfone 2
    31
  • Oppo Find 5
    30
  • Sony Xperia Z
    29
  • LG Optimus G
    29
  • Apple iPhone 5
    27
  • Nexus 4
    26
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    17
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    15
  • HTC One X+
    12
  • HTC One X
    9

But most games will probably want to run at native resolution, so we're including Epic Citadel, which uses Unreal Engine 3. Unreal Engine is popular with mobile game makers, so it's a pretty important test. The benchmark was run at the High Quality setting and yet the Padfone 2 once again shined, posting an amazing result while pushing towards the 60fps cap of the benchmark throughout almost the entire test.

Epic Citadel

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia Z
    55.6
  • Nexus 4
    53.9
  • Asus Padfone 2
    53.4
  • LG Optimus G
    52.6
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    41.3
  • Oppo Find 5
    38.6

The streak of the Asus Padfone 2 was interrupted once we moved to the browser trials of our benchmark series. We assume it's the stock Android browser's fault, as it's not the latest version available, but frankly, Google has been mostly focusing on the Chrome mobile browser for a while now.

However, scoring 1107ms in SunSpider isn't too shabby, considering the Xperia Z scored a lot less than that. In BrowserMark 2, however, things head further south - the Padfone 2 is last here - only ahead of the LG Optimus G, which has the same chipset and resolution.

SunSpider

Lower is better

  • Samsung Ativ S
    891
  • Apple iPhone 5
    915
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    910
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    972
  • HTC One X+
    1001
  • Motorola RAZR i XT890
    1059
  • Asus Padfone 2
    1107
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1192
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1312
  • LG Optimus G
    1353
  • Sony Xperia Z
    1906
  • Nexus 4
    1971
  • Oppo Find 5
    2045

BrowserMark 2

Higher is better

  • LG Optimus G
    2555
  • Sony Xperia Z
    1865
  • Oppo Find 5
    1797
  • Nexus 4
    1794
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    1774
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    1760
  • Samsung Omnia W
    1632
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1247
  • Asus Padfone 2
    1215

Vellamo

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2418
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2189
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    2078
  • Asus Padfone 2
    1717
  • Oppo Find 5
    1658
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1641
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1568
  • LG Optimus G
    1522
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1468
  • Nexus 4
    1310

Asus has managed to squeeze all the performance the quad-core Krait has to offer. It did beat the similarly spec'd Xperia Z, topping the charts in most tests, but that's not such a big achievement considering the Z's 1080p display. Still, as it stands, the Padfone 2 is nothing short of an Android powerhouse.

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