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Asus Padfone 2 review

Asus's second generation smartphone/tablet hybrid

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Our Verdict

For

  • Crisp, clear screen
  • Snappy performance
  • Quick and easy docking
  • Can charge phone from tablet
  • Relatively uncorrupted Android

Against

  • Proprietary micro USB charger
  • Low-res tablet screen
  • Poor quality tablet feel
  • High cost

With the Padfone 2, Asus has created a compelling smartphone-tablet hybrid, though it's something of an uneven partnership. It's a fine top-end smartphone married to a mediocre tablet experience, and at the current price this simply doesn't quite add up.

What's more, thanks to its delayed UK launch, the Asus Padfone 2 is already on the cusp of being superseded by sharper, faster smartphones.

In the here and now, though, this is a fine effort, and will suit frequent travellers with a space and contract budget down to a tee.

We liked

The Asus Padfone 2's 4.7-inch 720p display is one of the finest we've seen on an Android device, and it's matched by a potent quad-core processor.

We also like how the tablet dock doubles as a portable charger for this solidly built phone, and the thought of using a single phone contract for phone and tablet usage is compelling.

We disliked

The tablet dock itself is distinctly underwhelming, with a low res display and plasticy build quality. For this kind of money, we expect a slightly more consistent standard across both phone and tablet elements.

We're also a little disappointed by a 13-megapixel camera that promises so much on paper, but delivers merely adequate image results.

Final verdict

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The Asus Padfone 2 may be a smartphone-tablet hybrid, but the star of the show is undoubtedly the smartphone element. It's powerful, well built and energy efficient, and the camera is capable of taking decent photos and videos in the right conditions.

However, that's only half the story, and the tablet part of the Asus Padfone 2 package is sadly lacking when stacked up against rival devices such as the Google Nexus 10.

This would be fine if the Asus Padfone 2 came in at a bargain price, but £599 (around US$905/AU$885) is simply too steep when one half of this unusual partnership isn't pulling its weight.