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Asus Padfone 2 review

Asus's second generation smartphone/tablet hybrid

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Maps

The Asus Padfone 2 offers the standard Google Maps mapping solution - which is to say that it's excellent at helping you to get around, provided you maintain a 3G connection at all times.

It's the mapping solution that famously came to the rescue of Apple following the iOS 6 Apple Maps debacle, and the core experience is much the same here on Android.

Asus Padfone 2 review

Its turn-by-turn navigation system is superb, while Google's layered data for traffic and public transport is a step above most of its rivals.

As we've hinted at, Google Maps's offline capabilities are somewhat lacking - you can save portions of maps to the Asus Padfone 2's internal storage, but not complete countries as you can in something like Nokia Here mapping on the Nokia Lumia 920.

But overall it's one of the best all-round navigation tools you can get.

The Asus Padfone 2's A-GPS technology ensures a quick and accurate global positioning lock-on every time you enter Google Maps.

Apps

Asus Padfone 2 review

As we've already mentioned, the Asus Padfone 2 comes with a full suite of Google apps, including Google Maps (which is featured twice on the home screen, oddly), Gmail, Chrome, Google+, Messenger, Talk and YouTube.

In addition, Asus has included a bunch of its own apps, some of which prove quite interesting.

App Backup enables you to save app data should you need to replace or restore your phone, while App Locker enables you to protect your apps with a password.

File Manager does exactly what it says on the tin, providing a way to access and manage the Asus Padfone 2's files as you would on a computer.

MyBitCast essentially replicates the memo-taking and sharing capabilities of a more popular solution such as Evernote.

It's decent enough, but if you've already invested in a high profile alternative there's little of interest here.

Asus Padfone 2 review

Web Storage is arguably the most attractive of the Asus app suite, offering up a generous 50GB of cloud storage space for two years.

It's not as attractive, intuitive or ubiquitous as Dropbox or Google Drive, but you can't argue with that level of generosity - and you can always supplement it with the aforementioned apps for free.

Speaking of downloading apps, the Google Play app store has improved massively in recent years, to the point where it's biting at the Apple App Store's heels in terms of sheer scope and polish.

We'd argue that the browsing experience is actually preferable to the iOS equivalent, with an attractive (and relatively speedy) UI and preview videos making it feel fresher.

Tablet

Thanks to the fact that the tablet portion of the Asus Padfone 2 shares a similar resolution and aspect ratio with the core phone, even Android apps that haven't been optimised for tablet use look pretty decent when blown up.

The few apps that are tablet-only (and there really aren't many at all) are given their own icons to signify that you won't get any joy out of them on the smaller form factor - a somewhat clunky but arguably necessary measure.

Asus Padfone 2 review

Default apps such as Gmail and YouTube take full advantage of the extra screen space, adding in side menus and other extra UI elements, as do big apps such as Flipboard.

Tip: download the free Tablified Market HD app for a rundown of all Android tablet-optimised apps.

Asus Padfone 2 review