Asus Padfone 2: Design and build
The Padfone 2 has a unique design thanks to the Padfone Station. You can use the smartphone as normal but when you want a bigger screen simply plug the Padfone 2 into the Padfone Station and you've got a 3G tablet.
When the smartphone is docked you can still send and receive calls and text messaged but it's simple to pull the device out of its slot if you wish.
Our review sample came in white but a black version is also available – we prefer the latter. The front looks like any other smartphone but has a slightly larger 'chin' than most where the touch sensitive buttons reside.
We like the metal band which runs around the edge and the tapered shape which means the Padfone 2 in thinner at the bottom.
The device comes with a proprietary version of microUSB but we managed to use a regular connector with the Padfone 2 anyway.
The Padfone Station, or tablet section, looks like a typical 10in tablet with a wide bezel around the display. The main different is of course the huge hole in the back where the smartphone is docked. This has a clever design involving are best described as barbed rubber grips which hold the Padfone 2 in place. You can shake the device without the smartphone falling out, but you don't have to fight hard to pull it out when you do want it out.
The phone feels solid but we don't like the textured plastic rear cover, though. The docking station has a contrasting smooth plastic finish to the rear that is too flexible for our liking and the plastic rear cover unclips and comes away too easily when it shouldn't.
Asus Padfone 2: Hardware and performance
The core specifications of the Padfone 2 are a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. In our GeekBench 2 test these combine to score an impressive 2196 points. Of all the phones we have tested this is beaten only by the HTC One which managed a scorching 2721.
The Padfone 2 continued to impress with a best ever graphics benchmark result of 43fps in GLBenchmark beating the Nexus 4 and iPhone 5 by a few frames. When docked the framerate only dropped to 40fps.
In terms of storage you get 32GB of internal storage, but there's no microSD card slot.
Padfone 2: displays
The Padfone 2 has a 4.7in Super IPS+ display. Its resolution of 720 x 1280 can't compete with the Full HD phones which have been arriving this year but's it's still a respectable pixel density of 312ppi. The Padfone 2's screen is one of the brightest we've seen and has a specific outdoor mode which works very well.
The Padfone Station's 10.1in screen is also an IPS display with a resolution of 1280 x 800. Both the smartphone and tablet parts of the Padfone 2 use Gorilla Glass with a welcome anti-fingerprint coating.
In terms of connectivity there's Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, aGPS and support for both 3G and 4G LTE networks.
Asus Padfone 2: Cameras
The Padfone 2 has three cameras in total: two on the smartphone and one on the Pad Station.
The 13Mp rear camera performed well and we have no major complaints. We like the touch to focus feature and in general out photos looked good with the settings on auto across the board. Video footage can be taken at 1080p at 30fps but the default is 720p at 60fps. Our test footage at the prior setting was pretty good.
Both font cameras are standard – 1.2Mp on the phone and 1Mp on the pad. They are ok for video chats which is primarily why they are there.
Asus Padfone 2 battery life
Battery life is one of the best features of the Padfone 2 for us. It's worth pointing out that the Padfone Station can't function once its battery had run dry, regardless of how much power the smartphone has got.