It was no secret that Asus would be revealing the PadFone 2 at an event in Milan yesterday, as the event invitation made it perfectly clear, but despite a few leaks, it wasn’t obvious what had changed. The original PadFone was an interesting, but flawed device, not least because of its price – has that all changed for its sequel?
The good news is Asus has given the smartphone part of the PadFone 2 a complete overhaul, and it now boasts a seriously impressive spec sheet. The screen measures 4.7-inches with a 1280 x 720 pixel HD resolution, while there is a monster 13 megapixel camera around the back which can also shoot 1080p video.
Powering the device is Qualcomm’s exciting new quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, complete with 2GB of RAM. This not only makes the phone incredibly fast, but also enables it to do the tablet dock justice too. In case you’ve forgotten, this is the PadFone’s party piece, as you slot the smartphone into a 10.1-inch docking “Station”, turning the whole thing into a full-size tablet.
With the PadFone 2, docking the phone with the tablet can see apps your had running on the phone instantly appear on the large screen, such as the gallery, streaming video or the standard Web browser.
Asus has replaced the fiddly door behind which the phone used to live with a more sensible slot, and it’s secure enough to keep the phone in place even when it’s held upside down. The tablet has a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution, and a massive 5000mAh battery, which can charge the smartphone’s 2140mAh cell three times over before needing a top-up itself.
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is currently listed as the operating system, but Asus say 4.1 Jelly Bean is almost ready to go and should be available in December. This works out quite well, as the PadFone 2 isn’t expected to launch before the first quarter of 2013 in the UK, so there’s a chance Jelly Bean will already be installed.
Asus has priced the PadFone 2 at €799 for the 32GB version and €899 for the 64GB version. This converts to around £650 and £730, but considering this is for a quad-core smartphone and a 10.1-inch tablet – both with 3G connectivity, but with only one monthly bill – it’s more reasonable than it sounds. Asus also hinted that it hopes the PadFone 2 will be made available for around £40 per month on a contract too.
The PadFone 2 is still quirky and unusual, but it’s now got the power and ability to make people sit up and notice. It could be another winner for Asus. Take a look at the demo video below for a closer look at how it works: