ASUS last week unveiled the PadFone 2 in Singapore. Like the first iteration, the PadFone 2 uses the same concept of a smartphone docking into a customized 10.1-inch tablet, which is known as the PadFone 2 Station (Figure A).
PadFone 2 and the PadFone 2 Station (Photo courtesy of Asus)
With the PadFone 2, ASUS beefed up the smartphone with a larger display, a quad-core processor, and high-speed LTE and DC-HSPA+ mobile support for the region. ASUS also made the tablet slimmer and lighter by paring down its internal battery and removing the back cover.
I summarize some of the PadFone 2’s key specifications in Figure B.
Click the image to enlarge.
The larger 4.7-inch screen (compared to the 4.3-inch screen in the original PadFone) necessitates that the PadFone 2 is slightly longer and wider than the PadFone. In addition, the PadFone 2 weighs 6 grams more than the PadFone. You get a higher resolution screen, a better camera, a faster processor, NFC, and twice the amount of system RAM.
The main improvements in weight and slimness are in the PadFone 2 Station, which with the smartphone docked, weighs in at 649 grams compared to the PadFone’s 853 grams. Despite the smaller 5,000 mAH battery, the PadFone 2 Station is still capable of offering 36 hours of 3G talk-time on top of the PadFone 2’s own 16 hours — that’s enough capacity to recharge the PadFone 2 smartphone more than twice.
The PadFone Station Dock has been dropped, which will disappoint people who loved the original 3-in-1 concept. The PadFone 2 Android smartphone comes with Ice Cream Sandwich installed, but ASUS say it will be upgradable to Jelly Bean.
The ASUS PadFone 2 will be available beginning November 22, 2012 through StarHub Mobile as well as authorized retailers in Singapore. The PadFone 2 is available with 32 GB and 64 GB of internal storage and is priced at S$1,099 and S$1,239 respectively with the PadFone 2 Station and S$848 and S$988 without the tablet, respectively.
I was at the unveiling of the original PadFone in June 2012 and commented that the concept was not exactly practical. For example, a travelling executive would be better off with a separate smartphone and a tablet or, now that Windows 8 is out, a touch-screen Ultrabook and a smartphone.
The idea of an all-in-one smartphone/tablet/laptop takes another hit with the PadFone 2 because it does not have a keyboard dock. On that front, folks who prefer a physical keyboard will have to look around for Bluetooth keyboards from third-party accessory makers.
Overall, the PadFone 2 is a solid improvement to the PadFone prodct family. It’s a must-buy device for people who like the concept.
Also read: the CNET review of the PadFone 2.
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