Expandable Storage and Better Performance
ASUS PadFone Infinity
ASUS impressed us with the 5-inch version of its eccentric phone-in-tablet PadFone Infinity device when it launched earlier this year. Less than six months later, the Taiwanese company has released a new and improved version with an updated Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, improved camera software, and expandable memory via a microSD card slot. However, the 64GB internal storage configuration has been removed, and a new 16GB option is now available.
Design-wise, not much has changed with the new PadFone Infinity. The rear edges of the aluminum unibody frame now sport ‘diamond-cut’ chamfered edges, which make the phone look a bit more polished, although, with so many newer models hitting the market since the PadFone Infinity was released six months ago, it’s looking a bit dated now - the screen bezel in particular looks rather fat, which is particularly noticeable on the new Platinum White color. The PadFone Infinity Station, which turns the device into a tablet, remains unchanged from the previous version.
Like the previous model, the new PadFone Infinity sports a 5-inch 1920 x 1080 Super IPS display. The display is bright, with good clarity and vivid colors. A useful Outdoor Mode lets you bump the brightness up to 400 nits, maintaining visibility, even under bright sunlight.
The new model is running Android 4.2.2 Jellybean, which includes a few tweaks from ASUS. Compared to the old PadFone Infinity, icons and menus look cleaner and simplified, and a few apps like the calendar and gallery have been given a fresh new look too.
While the camera hardware hasn’t changed, ASUS has improved the PadFone Infinity’s camera software, which now includes nine different camera modes. The most interesting of these is Hi-Light Mode, which uses ASUS’ PixelMaster technology to combine pixels from a 13MP image into a 3MP image (similar to Nokia’s PureView technology), and should result in less noise and more overall detail. A new ‘turbo’ burst setting that shoots up to 100 continuous frames at 12FPS is also included.
Under the hood, the PadFone Infinity processor has been upgraded to the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, which puts it on par with other 5-inch flagship smartphones like Sony’s Xperia Z1 and LG’s G2. In our benchmark tests, it performed well, scoring far better than the previous model, and on par with the Xperia Z1 and G2. Battery life was slightly worse than the older PadFone Infinity, lasting about six and a half hours on our battery looping tests, due to the higher power consumption of the Snapdragon 800 processor. In general usage however, it still managed to last an entire workday, with about 15 per cent left by midnight.
All things considered, the new PadFone Infinity adds a few nice upgrades to an already decent device, but overall, doesn’t offer enough over the current model for existing PadFone Infinity users to upgrade. The addition of a microSD card slot is welcome, but the design is looking a bit dated now, and the diamond cut-chamfered edges don’t make a big enough difference compared to the original.