Gadgets

Hands-on with Asus Padfone 2

The evolution of the smart device has taken an intriguing turn with the Asus Padfone 2, partnering a phone and tablet dock in a Lego-like union.

The phone portion of the Padfone 2 is an impressively specy Android, with a nippy quad-core processor and 13-megapixel camera. The 4.7inch screen is brilliantly bright, throwing out vivid colours and sharp text. Bouncing around websites and videos is a joy – outshining the likes of the iPhone 5. The styling isn’t remarkable: a comfy blend of metal rim, glass front and textured plastic, lacking the polish of many HTCs and Samsungs.

The party trick of the Padfone 2 is an innovative solution to the quandary of switching between your portable devices: Say you’ve returned home from work and want to swap your pocket-sized screen for a sofa-friendly tablet. The Padfone 2’s smartphone slides into a docking slot on the back of its accompanying tablet, immediately switching whatever you were doing on your phone to the larger screen. Now you have 5.4 more inches to watch that hilarious YouTube video of a bird avoiding a GP2 car.

In contrast to the impressive screen of the Padfone 2 phone, the 10.1inch tablet is a touch disappointing: a lower resolution is noticeable when browsing text-heavy screens, while dark colours and blacks are dull by comparison. Anyone used to the retina display of an iPad will likely be disappointed.

Another drawback of the Padfone 2’s inventive docking system is that, owing to a lack of internal trickery of its own, the tablet is a lifeless black screen until you slot in the brains of phone. Once docked, the tablet performs as speedily as its mobile counterpart, with apps and video ticking along nicely, and touch sensitivity brilliantly responsive.

If you're the type that lets your smartphone slide down the back of the sofa when you reach for your tablet, the experience offered by the Padfone 2 is ideal. For £599 (sim free), you bag yourself a great Android phone and a perfectly respectable tablet – a tempting deal for those looking for multiple devices (an iPhone 5 and iPad would set you back the best part of £1,000). Asus have delivered an unique, impressive package, well worth considering.