ASUS PadFone S

HWM (Singapore) - - TEST - by PyHo

The ASUS PadFone se­ries has been around for two years now, and con­tin­ues to be the only 2-in-1 phone-tablet hy­brid around. The ba­sic form fac­tor has re­mained un­changed since the orig­i­nal PadFone was re­leased in April 2012, where the smart­phone can be docked into a tablet shell, turn­ing it into a full tablet de­vice.

At 10mm, the PadFone S is sig­nif­i­cantly thicker than other flag­ship mod­els. In fact, it’s ac­tu­ally thicker than the first gen­er­a­tion PadFone, which was 9.2mm. De­spite its bulk, the phone isn’t too heavy, com­ing in at 150g, which is slightly over av­er­age but noth­ing too alarm­ing. Like the PadFone In­fin­ity, the PadFone S sports an alu­minum frame with cham­fered edges. How­ever, the rear gets a down­grade de­sign-wise as it’s now a re­mov­able poly­car­bon­ate plas­tic. It feels quite cheap, and it’s cer­tainly not up to the qual­ity of pre­vi­ous Pad­Fones that sport alu­minum back­ing. De­spite the rear cover be­ing re­mov­able, the bat­tery is sealed and can’t be re­moved. This time round, the op­tional tablet dock­ing sta­tion comes in a 9-inch form fac­tor, for an ad­di­tional $199.

The phone is equipped with a 5-inch Su­per IPS+ LCD screen, with a 1,920 x 1,080 pixel res­o­lu­tion. This gives it a pixel den­sity of 441ppi, which yields very crisp and sharp images. You also get a 13-megapixel rear cam­era, which per­forms fairly well un­der nor­mal light­ing con­di­tions.

The PadFone S runs on the fairly pow­er­ful Qual­comm Snap­dragon 801 2.3GHz pro­ces­sor, with 2GB of RAM. Bench­mark per­for­mance was gen­er­ally quite good, and com­pared fa­vor­ably to other, more ex­pen­sive, flag­ship smartphones. Bat­tery life, how­ever, was slightly un­der av­er­age, last­ing only 7 hours on our video loop­ing bench­mark.

Over­all, the new PadFone S is an in­ter­est­ing propo­si­tion. On the one hand, at just $449, it’s very af­ford­able. The In­fin­ity’s $899 launch price was a lot to ask for, es­pe­cially for such an ec­cen­tric de­sign, but $449 might just be low enough for any­one in­trigued with its hy­brid propo­si­tion. On the other hand, the PadFone S is prob­a­bly the worst PadFone ad­vance­ment ASUS has ever made, with the low price re­sult­ing in cut­backs in both de­sign and build ma­te­ri­als.

Hav­ing said that, there’s still lots to like about the PadFone S. Even if you ig­nore its dock­ing tablet ca­pa­bil­i­ties, you’re get­ting a lot of value for its price with flag­ship-level per­for­mance and cam­era qual­ity.


8.0 /10

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