ASUS held a multitude of events across the globe to announce the new Padfone 2. The follow up to the unique phone/tablet combo of the original Padfone, the Padfone 2 is bigger, faster and sleeker. Unfortunately it still carries a few setbacks to make me question its worth.
The Padfone 2 looks beautiful and features some powerhouse specs such as a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chip, 2GB of RAM, a 13MP camera and a 4.7-inch 720p IPS display. The unique feature of the Padfone comes with the ability to dock it into a 10.1-inch tablet.
A simple slide into the dock’s back slot switches the Padfone from phone to tablet, featuring:
A 10.1“ (1280 x 800, WXGA) IPS display
1MP front camera
The Padfone 2 has no U.S. availability as of now, but should be launching in Europe and Asia sometime before the end of 2012 (likely December).
Now for the bad news. Other than not being available in the U.S., the Padfone 2 is for some odd reason shipping with Android 4.0. Doesn’t make much sense considering ASUS has been ahead of the curve in terms of Android updates — with multiple devices already on Android 4.1.
If that’s not a bad sign, there’s also no mention of a keyboard dock (a necessity for many users). And how about that price tag? €799 for the 32GB model and €899 for the 64GB model. That’s close to a grand for a phone and tablet running Ice Cream Sandwich and lacking a compatible keyboard dock. It’s not the absolute worst but it’s a risk for a product as unique as the Padfone — with little guarantee of future support.
Given how fast the mobile tech world moves, this thing will be DOA by the time it hits the states. It might be worth a consideration for those living in Europe or Asia but I don’t see it having a future in the US. What do you guys think?
For more information on the Padfone 2, you can check out the full press release below.
Live Life Intuitively with ASUS PadFone™ 2
Quad-core smartphone with incredible battery life and a thinner, lighter PadFone 2 Station deliver the ultimate mobile flexibility.
Milan, Italy (October 16, 2012) – ASUS, a global leader in the new digital era, today announces the PadFone™ 2. Building upon the successful PadFone combination of an Android smartphone and dockable tablet for incredible mobile flexibility, PadFone 2 consists of a higher-specification quad-core smartphone and a completely redesigned tablet.
ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih unveiled PadFone 2 in front of the world’s media at a press conference in Milan, Italy. “Our relentless drive to innovate through Design Thinking has empowered us to create PadFone 2. It’s beautiful, it’s fast, it’s seamless and, best of all, it’s intuitive,” said Mr. Shih.
PadFone 2 is a fully featured 4.7″ Android™ smartphone with industry-leading specifications that docks with the unique PadFone 2 Station to become a lightweight, but fully featured, 10.1″ tablet. Apps are seamlessly optimized on-the-fly to support both tablet and phone modes, with an instant transition between smartphone and tablet screen sizes.
Enlarge and Charge
ASUS’ world-renowned Design Thinking philosophy has significantly reduced PadFone 2 Station’s thickness and weight. At just 649g, the combined weight of both PadFone 2 and PadFone 2 Station is now lighter than most tablets on the market, and the dock mechanism has been redesigned to require just one swift step to use. PadFone 2 has also been subtly refined to increase its screen size to 4.7″, while reducing its thickness and weight to just 9mm at its thickest point and 135g, respectively. Battery life is astounding, too. The higher-capacity PadFone 2 2140mAh battery provides up to 16 hours 3G talk-time and 13 hours Wi-Fi web browsing, while PadFone 2 Station’s 5000mAh battery gives up to 36 hours 3G talk-time. PadFone 2 Station’s internal battery also has enough capacity to recharge the docked PadFone 2 three times over.
Super Phone, Super Performance
A 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM ensures incredible PadFone 2 performance in both smartphone and tablet modes. The new 4.7″ 1280 x 720 HD Super IPS+ display uses scratch-resistant Corning® Fit Glass and delivers sharp, detailed images with accurate colors, ultra-wide viewing angles and 550 nits brightness for stunning outdoor visibility.
A new 13-megapixel high-performance camera captures incredibly detailed images with no shutter lag. Burst mode can capture up to 100 shots at a blisteringly quick six shots per second, while simultaneously recording 1080p HD video at 30fps, or 720p HD video at 60fps. Low-light performance is also enhanced by the wide f/2.4 aperture and a dedicated image signal processor. Both PadFone 2 and PadFone 2 Station feature superlative sound quality too, thanks to ASUS SonicMaster technology and audio tuning by Waves, recipient of a Technical GRAMMY Award®.
Easy to Share, Easy to Save
With capacities up to 64GB and 50GB of ASUS WebStorage provided free for two years, PadFone 2 offers endless possibilities for storing data. Data syncing between devices is also a thing of the past, since PadFone 2 storage is used by PadFone 2 Station when the two are connected. Shared mobile data connectivity between smartphone and tablet also means just one data plan is needed for both devices, while support for up to 42Mbit/s DC-HSPA+ and 100Mbit/s LTE delivers super-fast web browsing and downloads.
PadFone 2 also features a new version of the SuperNote app that instantly converts handwritten notes made in multiple languages into editable text. Its Instant Translation tool also translates any word, phrase or sentence in an email, web page or app at a touch, without the need for a third-party translation tool.
PadFone 2 will be launched before the end of December in Europe (Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden) and Asia (Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, U.A.E). Availability in other countries will be announced at a later date.