Asus Padfone 2 review: Plug and play

GSMArena team, 21 February 2013.

Docking station controls

The Asus Padfone 2 slides into its docking station effortlessly, but thanks to cleverly designed locks it fits firmly in place once it's there. Even if you turn the docking station upside down and shake it vehemently the smartphone won't fall off.

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The nicely designed docking space makes sure the smartphone doesn't fall off

The docking station itself packs a 10" screen, with a video-call camera sitting right below it. There's no need for another camera at the back as you can use the smartphone's 13 MP shooter when it's docked.

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There's a front-facing camera above the screen

On top you get the power button, while the volume rocker is on the left side of the tablet body. Another 13-pin port sits at the bottom, while the back hosts the loudspeaker and the microphone pinhole.

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The docking station power button and volume rocker The 13-pin port

Asus has put a lot of effort into optimizing the audio output of that loudspeaker and it shows. The company has developed the SonicMaster technology together with Bang&Olufsen. It's not quite perfect, but it's certainly better than just about every other tablet loudspeaker we have heard.

Displays

The Asus Padfone 2 comes with a 4.7" Super IPS+ display with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. This comes down to a pixel density of 312ppi - not quite as good as the recent wave of 1080p flagships, but the perceivable difference is minor.

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We love the Asus Padfone 2 screen

The screen of the smartphone boasts good brightness and great contrast, along with decently vibrant colors. The viewing angles are impressively wide and the overall image quality is generally very pleasing. Sunlight legibility turned out surprisingly good, as seen in the chart below.

We have seen slightly better (the HTC Butterfly, which we reviewed the other day springs to mind), but the Padfone 2 screen won't let users down. Besides, Asus claims that thanks to the technology used this is also one of the most responsive smartphone screens around having an average touch response time of 65ms, compared to Galaxy S III's 85ms and HTC One X's 75ms. Of course this is not the kind of difference you can feel in real life, but what's important is the Padfone2 is as responsive as a proper flagship smartphone should be.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Asus Padfone 2 0.26 320 1243 0.48 600 1256
Asus Padfone 2 (docking station) 0.25 238 950 0.42 387 911
HTC Butterfly 0.14 173 1200 0.45 501 1104
Sony Xperia Z - - - 0.70 492 705
Oppo Find 5 0.17 176 1123 0.51 565 1107
Sony Xperia S - - - 0.48 495 1038
Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III 0 174 0 330
HTC One X 0.15 200 1375 0.39 550 1410
Nokia Lumia 920 - - - 0.48 513 1065
Nexus 4 0.22 314 1447 0.45 608 1341
LG Optimus G 0.14 197 1445 0.33 417 1438
Apple iPhone 5 0.13 200 1490 0.48 640 1320

The docking station is an entirely different story, though. With fullHD screens available on phones, 1280x800 pixels on a 10"display is bound to result in mediocre image quality.

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The screen on the docking station is hardly exciting

The contrast of the screen is not bad and its colors are okay, but the pixilation is pretty obvious. After all, you when you slide the Padfone 2 in the docking station you gain more than four times the surface and yet you only get 80 extra pixels on one of the sides. The difference in the pixel sizes on the two screens is pretty big, as you can see in the two images below captured with our digital microscope.

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Padfone 2 phone and tablet screen matrices compares

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