Recently I was given an opportunity of testing Asus Padfone 2 and it was really a pleasure for me as a gadget lover to do this test.
I have divided the test in few sections.
Padfone 2 design, look and feel
Before I got Padfone 2, I had a chance of using first version of Padfone for short time, but enough to be able to make a comparison. At first I was a little skeptical about whole idea of putting a phone into dock and making it a tablet. What’s the use if I can’t use both at the same time. But after few days of using Padfone 2 I got use to this concept and it didn’t seem stupid anymore.
When I took the phone at first I have noticed several differences comparing to first Padfone. First, Padfone 2 doesn’t have cover over phone when it is in Station. As an alternative it has brakes that hold the phone in place. This is good as far as I’m concerned, since I tend to break moving parts. Second difference is new socket for battery charging and phone docking that has replaced two micro USB ports previously used in Padfone. This more practical and it makes phone look better than before.
As for design itself, at first I was annoyed with a fact that phone looks like it’s thinner in lower end, but in just few minutes I colud see that phone looks great in hand. Dimensions are perfect for people with average hand size. All parts of 4.7 in screen I was able to reach with one hand, which is significant since we don’t always have both hands free. The production quality of exterior of Padfone 2 is great. Edges are maybe too sharp for some people, but I don’t think it sholud be a problem.
Thing that really got on my nerves is charger cable that goes into handset in one way, and another way into station. Although you can see how it should go (it is written on the cable), I still can’t get it why wasn’t charging socket turned the same way on both phone and station. It is small thing, but can make you nervous until you get used to it
Padfone 2 uses Android 4.1.1. Actually I think that from production it comes with Android 4.0, but it got to me already upgraded to 4.1.1. It worked very smooth no matter what I did to it. This is because of Qualcomm Quad core processor and 2 GB of RAM. I really don’t want to spend time on OS and discussions like why is iOS or Windows Phone better than Android, so I will skip the part where I praise Android and I will just mention that you can create Web Storage account and get 3 GB of cloud space.
Also, Padfone 2 has NFC (Near field communication) capability and uses Android Beam. This is something that only few phones can brag about at this moment.
Front camera has 13 megapixels, and front camera has 1.2 megapixels. It mostly has standard features like face detection, auto-focus and stuff like that. Also it can shoot panorama photos, and HDR photos. Aside from that it can shoot up to 100 photos in just under 20 seconds (I have used stopwatch :D).
Generally photos are great but if you don’t use digital zoom. If you want to zoom in, you will most likely be disappointed because image rapidly loses quality on digital zoom, and I guess this will be addressed in next version of Padfone.
One of the first things I have noticed about Padfone 2 is sound quality. I got a random song and played it on phone. Sound was above the average, but than I have docked phone to station, and got really surprised. Sound was just great. It has put to shame my HP laptop with Altec Lansing speakers both by volume and by sound quality.
Video and graphics
I have tried to be brutal when testing graphical performance of Padfone 2, and wanted to see what it can do. I went to Google and asked it what was graphically most demanding game available on Google Play. On several forums title “Blood and Glory” came up, so decision was made. I have downloaded 320 MB of base game, and who knows how many megabytes of additional packs, and started the game.
I can say that most of PC games would be put to shame by graphics in this game, and I have played it for several hours. Not a glitch happened during any moment of game. It wasn’t even extra heated.
Voice call and connection quality
Generally I think that voice call and connection quality aren’t an issue anymore when testing mobile phones. These features are advanced enough and they are compulsory. If some of these features aren’t good enough, phone would be useless. With Padfone 2 I can’t say I had any problems.
Padfone 2 specs say that it has non-removable 2140 mAh Li-Ion battery, and here is a main objection to this phone. Why is battery non-removable and what is gained this way. Only thing user can have with non-removable battery is a headache when it weakens.
As for battery life, I have managed to drain battery from 100% to some 15% in just over 10 hours, but that is not a realistic time, since during that 10 hours I was playing “Blood and Glory”, using camera, talking, mobile network was always on, GPS was always on, wireless was on, so you can say it was in pretty extreme conditions. I guess with normal usage it can last up to 35 or 40 hours.
It should be mentioned that if you drain phone battery, you can dock it into station and phone battery would get recharged a little.
Also note that you cannot recharge Padfone Station battery via USB if Padfone is docked into it. You have to use charger.
In the end, I can say that phone is remarkable, but it comes with a price that would be out of reach for many gadget lovers, although it isn’t more expensive than other phones of similar class if station is not included.
Anyway with few minor objections, Padfone 2 has all recommendations, and if you are Android fan and you can afford it, you should think about this gadget.
This post is also available in Serbian language.