Taiwanese technology giant ASUS revealed the new PadFone 2, successor to the original PadFone, a combination of an Android smartphone and dockable tablet known as the PadFone Station. The new PadFone 2 is completely redesigned – thinner, lighter, much more powerful and LTE-ready.
A Better PadFone
In a surprising move, ASUS has debuted a better, much improved version of the PadFone so quickly, the intriguing hybrid device which first wowed audiences at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona early in the year.
The PadFone 2 is a real-deal 4.7″ smartphone, running Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich, featuring a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM. The new 4.7” 1280 x 720 HD Super IPS+ display uses scratch-resistant Corning Fit Glass and delivers accurate colors, ultra-wide viewing angles and 550 nits brightness for stunning outdoor visibility.
A stunning 13MP high-performance camera gives you amazing detail images with no shutter lag and also comes with Burst mode that can capture up to 100 shots at a blisteringly quick six shots per second, while simultaneously recording 1080p HD video at 30fps, or 720p HD video at 60fps. Excellent.
Low-light performance is also enhanced by the wide f/2.4 aperture and a dedicated image signal processor.
Both PadFone 2 and PadFone 2 Station feature superlative sound quality with ASUS SonicMaster technology and audio tuning by Waves built-in, recipient of a Technical GRAMMY Award.
Lean, Mean Machine
What’s most apparent with the PadFone 2 against its predecessor though, is the design and weight. ASUS’ renowned ‘Design Thinking’ philosophy has resulted in a significantly slimmer, trimmer PadFone 2 Station. At 649g, the combined weight of the PadFone 2 and PadFone 2 Station is 200g lighter than previous. That’s significant!
The PadFone itself has been refined to house the bigger screen size of 4.7″ yet reducing its thickness and weight to just 9mm at its thickest point and 135g, respectively. Really good stuff.
The Big Plus, the Big Battery
The big concern of smart devices nowadays is battery life. ASUS has upped the ante again, bundling a high capacity 2,140mAh battery that provides up to 16 hours 3G talk-time and 13 hours Wi-Fi web browsing. ASUS has shaved 1,600mAh off the PadFone 2 Station’s battery to 5,000mAh though, perhaps to save weight. The previous PadFone Station came with a whopping 6,600mAh battery.
For connectivity, the PadFone 2 comes with 42Mbps HSPA+ / 4G LTE and NFC.
Availability & Pricing
PadFone 2 will be launched before the end of December in Europe (Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and Sweden) and Asia (Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and U.A.E). Availability in other countries will be announced at a later date. Expect local prices to be around RM2,399 (SRP) based on current price valuations.
What We Think
Looks like ASUS has been working hard on the hybrid concept they pursued with the original PadFone. Though no longer with the attached keyboard, the newer PadFone 2 is certainly a big improvement in terms of design and refinement. Power has been bumped up and should put it in the forefront of Android smartphones and tablets.
It does remain to be seen if the hybrid concept can garner interest at a mass level. As with the original, slightly clunky PadFone and PadFone Station, it will be a niche product. Nonetheless, as we said in our recent review of the PadFone, the hybrid device is a great idea and concept that begs to be explored and improved further.
As of now, ASUS has improved on the PadFone concept and we can’t wait to get our hands on one for a review.
[spoiler title="Read official press release"]
Quad-core smartphone with incredible battery life and a thinner, lighter PadFone 2 Station deliver the ultimate mobile flexibility.
ASUS, a global leader in the new digital era, today announces PadFone™ 2. Building upon the successful PadFone combination of an Android smartphone and dockable tablet for incredible mobile flexibility, PadFone 2 consists of a higher specification quad-core, LTE-equipped smartphone and a completely redesigned tablet.
ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih unveiled PadFone 2 in front of the world’s media at a press conference in Milan, Italy. “Our relentless drive to innovate through our ‘Design Thinking’ philosophy has empowered us to create PadFone 2. It’s beautiful, it’s fast and, best of all, it’s intuitive,” said Mr. Shih.
PadFone 2 is a fully featured 4.7” Android™ smartphone with industry-leading specifications that docks with the unique PadFone 2 Station to become a lightweight, but fully featured, 10.1” tablet. Apps are seamlessly optimized on-the-fly to support both tablet and phone modes, with an instant transition between smartphone and tablet screen sizes.
Enlarge and charge
ASUS’ world-renowned ‘Design Thinking’ philosophy has significantly reduced PadFone 2 Station’s thickness and weight. At just 649g, the combined weight of both PadFone 2 and PadFone 2 Station is now lighter than most tablets on the market, and the dock mechanism has been redesigned to require just one swift step to use. PadFone 2 has also been subtly refined to increase its screen size to 4.7”, while reducing its thickness and weight to just 9mm at its thickest point and 135g, respectively.
Battery life is astounding, too. The higher-capacity PadFone 2 2140mAh battery provides up to 16 hours 3G talk-time and 13 hours Wi-Fi web browsing, while PadFone 2 Station’s 5000mAh battery gives up to 36 hours 3G talk-time. PadFone 2 Station’s internal battery also has enough capacity to recharge the docked PadFone 2 three times over.
Super phone, super performance
A 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM ensures incredible PadFone 2 performance in both smartphone and tablet modes. The new 4.7” 1280 x 720 HD Super IPS+ display uses scratch-resistant Corning® Fit Glass and delivers sharp, detailed images with accurate colors, ultra-wide viewing angles and 550 nits brightness for stunning outdoor visibility.
A new 13-megapixel high-performance camera captures incredibly detailed images with no shutter lag. Burst mode can capture up to 100 shots at a blisteringly quick six shots per second, while simultaneously recording 1080p HD video at 30fps, or 720p HD video at 60fps. Low-light performance is also enhanced by the wide f/2.4 aperture and a dedicated image signal processor. Both PadFone 2 and PadFone 2 Station feature superlative sound quality too, thanks to ASUS SonicMaster technology and audio tuning by Waves, recipient of a Technical GRAMMY Award®.
Easy to share, easy to save
With capacities up to 64GB and 50GB of ASUS WebStorage provided free for two years, PadFone 2 offers endless possibilities for storing data. Data syncing between devices is also a thing of the past, since PadFone 2 storage is used by PadFone 2 Station when the two are connected, while NFC allows users to share webpages, Contacts and user recommendations from Play Store with others. Shared mobile data connectivity between smartphone and tablet also means just one data plan is needed for both devices, while support for up to 42Mbit/s DC-HSPA+ and 100Mbit/s LTE delivers super-fast web browsing and downloads.
PadFone 2 also features a new version of the SuperNote app that instantly converts handwritten notes made in multiple languages into editable text. Its Instant Translation tool also translates any word, phrase or sentence in an email, web page or app at a touch, without the need for a third-party translation tool.
PadFone 2 will be launched before the end of December in Europe (Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and Sweden) and Asia (Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and U.A.E). Availability in other countries will be announced at a later date.
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