Here are some things that happen to me regularly:
- I spend the day in London, at meetings, using my phone for email, Tweeting, map-reading, texting and checking to see how many people liked me on Facebook. I get on the train at 5pm, try to check my email – the phone battery is flat.
- I download an email attachment on my phone that holds an important image like a map and then have to hold the phone 2 inches from my face, squinting to try and see a teeny tiny roundabout, and miniscule street names.
- I pack a bag for a trip and then freak myself out by worrying about the number (and value) of devices I’m carrying – phone, tablet, laptop, camera…
The Padfone 2 promises to address all of these problems, and a few more besides.
Asus loaned me a Padfone 2 a few months back, and since then I’ve been trying it out. In the interests of fair play, Flea has also tried it out, and I even loaned the Padfone 2 to my sister-in-law when she went on holiday to Scotland earlier this summer.
So What is it?
In short, the Padfone 2 is an Android 4.1 tablet and mobile phone, in one. You have a regular sized smartphone, which works just as you’d expect – but if you want to use a tablet, then you slot the Padfone into the back of the tablet and hey presto, your phone is now a touchscreen tablet.
In slightly more detail, the Padfone 2 is a 10.1 inch touchscreen with a glass front and a textured plastic back. Set into the back of the device is a docking station for the accompanying smartphone. The handset is a neat, slightly boxy affair, with a nice HD screen and 4.7inch screen. There is a 2GB memory and the whole shebang is just a shade lighter than the new iPad.
What’s clever about the Padfone 2 is that the ‘tablet’ is really just a screen – it only works when the phone is slotted into it. This makes you get the ability to use both a smartphone and a tablet – but you’re only really buying one device. This means the Padfone 2 costs around £600 – considerably less than buying a separate phone and tablet.
What We Thought of the Padfone 2:
I love the idea of the Padfone 2. Buying and carrying lots of devices is a pain (not to mention expensive) and I loved the simplicity of just being able to slot your phone into a tablet screen and immediately see everything that’s on the phone – rather than awkwardly emailing files to access them on multiple devices, or using synching cables. Because the tablet effectively *IS* the phone, all your apps are just there, without having to install them. And it makes sense – because how often do you use your phone and tablet at the same time?
Having a Padfone 2 is a bit like having a spare battery on hand. That’s because you can charge both parts of the Padfone 2 – so if your phone runs out of juice, you can slot it into the tablet, and hey presto, you’ve got four hours more use! This is dead handy for me when I’ve got a long day and no easy access to a charger.
Docking the smartphone into the tablet is quite simple, once you work out which way round everything should go. Just as an FYI, if you accidentally put the phone in the wrong way the first time you use it, then I can recommend using a small plastic hair slide to pry it back out. *cough*
The charger cable included is a teeny bit fiddly and is Asus-specific rather than being a USB charger which is a bit of a pain – I like to be able to charge devices in the car while travelling and I couldn’t do that easily with the Padfone 2. But that’s quite a small niggle overall.
lea does sometimes use the Padfone 2, and enjoys downloading movies from the Google Play Store, but I would tend to say this is an adults’ device because of the cost – I’m much happier for Flea to play with the Asus Memo Pad that she’s been loaned while I have the Padfone 2. That device retails at £120 and I’m a lot more comfortable with her having that than a device that could potentially cost £600 to replace if it was accidentally damaged.
What we thought of the Smartphone
The smartphone is great. Possibly not quite on a par with the best spec devices on the market (there’s no expandable memory, it’s not running the very latest version of Android, and the screen isn’t as detailed as some) but it’s nicely designed and feels very solid. I really liked the textured plastic back, which makes the phone easy to grip, and there’s a special greaseproof coating which means this handset shows fingerprints way less than my Galaxy S3.
We are especially pleased with the camera on the Padfone 2 – we took some brilliant pictures at our summer fair, of the kids speeding by on rollercoasters and they came out crisp, bright and with amazing detail. I was incredibly impressed.
Would I recommend the Padfone 2?
I think overall the Padfone 2 is a very credible option if you regularly use both a smartphone and tablet, and need to be able to share information and apps between them. The great quality camera, and the extended battery life of using two devices in one are my favourite features. I personally think because of the price it’s not really a ‘family’ tablet, but for adult use, I’d definitely recommend it.
The Padfone 2 is available for around £600 in the UK, and all the technical specs can be found on the Asus website.
What did the family think?
My sister-in-law with the Padfone2:
My sister-in-law when I took the Padfone 2 back:
I think a picture speaks a thousand words. Also, my sister-in-law is going to kill me as I might have *promised* not to put these on the Internet, but they make me laugh too much not to share.