Asus Padfone 2 hands-on: A different transformer
Asus Padfone 2 hands-onThe Asus Padfone 2 has grown over its predecessor, both in terms of screen size and specs.
The Super IPS+ display offers excellent image quality and great viewing angles too. The display is 4.7" in diagonal, which combined with its 720p resolution makes for a sharp 312ppi pixel density.
Asus decided to use standard capacitive keys on the front (Back, Home and Task switcher), instead of going the on-screen route.
Here's the Padfone 2 next to a Galaxy S III. It looks like the Asus phone has the advantage in screen brightness, which was to be expected as its display is officially rated at 550 nits.
We like the back of the Asus Padfone 2 - it feels good to the touch and provides plenty of grip. The handset and accompanying tablet will be available in black and white.
Anyway, the back is home to the 13MP camera. It can do burst mode like many other current high-enders but beats them at speed - 6fps for up to 100 shots. The video capture is fast too - at max resolution (1080p) it does the usual 30fps, but if you go down to 720p, the Padfone can record at 60fps framerate.
Also on the back is the loudspeaker. It was demoed on stage using a microphone, but now that we've heard it with our own ears, we have to say it sounds pretty good.
The Asus Padfone 2 uses microSIM cards, which are placed on a tray (and you need a SIM ejector tool to open it).
To turn the Padfone 2 into a tablet, you slide it into the back of the Padfone Station. There are rubbery teeth that hold the handset securely, so you don't have to worry about it slipping out. The phone's main camera will serve as the tablet's camera and the 3.5mm audio jack is accessible from the top.
Here's a closer look at the dock on the back of the Padfone Station.
The whole setup feels very light - lighter than we expected (and as light as the current iPad).
The tablet has a 10.1" screen with WXGA resolution (1280x800), which uses IPS technology and its viewing angles are very good (for a tablet, not quite as good as the phone's screen). The biggest problem we had with the tablet's screen is that it's quite reflective.
The Padfone 2's front-facing camera gets obscured when you dock it, but the Padfone Station has its own front-facing camera, so you can still do video calls.
The Asus Padfone 2 will have a keyboard accessory too, which will likely become available at the same time as the phone. Asus representatives on the spot weren't sure if it will be compatible with the old docks.
By the way, the Station packs a 5,000mAh battery inside it, which triples the battery life numbers of the phone itself.