Despite not catching the eye of the mainstream smartphone audience over the past few years, ASUS haven’t given up with their ergonomic and transforming ASUS Padfone series of devices, and in fact, not only have they recently announced their new ASUS Padfone Infinity, but they plan on increasing their range in the future with more Padfones, Fonepads and more transforming smartphone tech.

At first glance, the Padfone Infinity seems like a great idea, but is the idea worthwhile? I’ll be looking at the reasons why the Padfone Infinity manages to stand out from the crowd.

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Overview

Let’s first ignore the whole tablet part and focus solely on the smartphone- it is possible to purchase just the smartphone on its own, and then pay for the tablet component later, so is the Padfone Infinity actually a decent phone on its own, or does it rely on its tablet friend to make it stand out from the crowd?

Hardware

This may be surprising to some, but ASUS, as a company that is somewhat unknown in the smartphone market, have done a considerable job with the Padfone Infinity. They haven’t cut corners, and the smartphone has enough power to get through pretty much anything.

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The Padfone Infinity has a 5.0 inch full HD IPS display with a pixel density of 441 PPI, it comes in 32GB and 64GB variants, has 2GB RAM, and a very decent Snapdragon 800 SoC with a 2.2GHz quad core Krait processor, and an Adreno 330 GPU. You can see right away that ASUS have picked and chosen the exact right parts to make a beautiful device that works as smooth as butter, and with its rather minimal overlay on top of Android 4.1 Jellybean, you can expect a super slick experience.

Build Quality

I’ve always considered ASUS to be a premium manufacturer of mobile hardware ever since I purchased my first Transformer tablet, and the same great build quality is present with the ASUS Padfone Infinity. The smartphone feels incredibly comfortable in the hands, and ASUS have perfectly constructed the tablet to make the eject/insert feature as minimal and functional as possible.

Because of this, not only does the Padfone fit inside the tablet extremely well, but the tablet also feels great to hold and use just like any other regular tablet.

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Camera

Despite the tablet component having a camera, it is of mediocre quality and feels like wasted space. I’d highly suggest not ever using the tablet for snapping pics and to use the smartphone camera instead. The quality of the camera on the smartphone is a big improvement from last generation, which despite being a 13 megapixel camera, suffered from issues with noise and granularity.

The new Padfone Infinity has remedied that problem, and the quality of images feel a lot clearer and much more vivid.

The images when compared side-by-side with the original Padfone Infinity look almost three times better, despite being relatively similar camera hardware. When compared to the likes of the Galaxy S4 or the iPhone 5S, I’d have to say that the new Padfone Infinity lacks enough definition and color to rival either of these super smartphone snappers.

The video quality is quite impressive- it can record up to 1080p at 30FPS and can also record in a super slow motion mode between one quarter and one eighth of normal capture speed which is pretty cool.

Standard 1080p recording seems quite smooth, but the slow-motion video looks to be a bit choppy and jumpy in places, although this is something that could possibly be fixed in future software updates.

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Tablet Functionality

ASUS really have nailed the tablet combination this time round, and it’s now easier than ever to connect the Padfone into the tablet dock. Once in the dock, the Padfone feels securely in place, and it becomes almost impossible to shake the phone out of the tablet dock. The dock adds a 5,000mAh battery life to the already decent 2,400mAh battery life of the Padfone and has a screen resolution of 1920×1200, which doesn’t really manage to stand out in anyway, considering the new Galaxy Note 2014 Edition 10.1 inch tablet has a screen resolution of 2560×1600.

Pricing & Conclusion

The pricing of the Padfone Infinity and its tablet haven’t yet been revealed, but reports state that the tablet could be purchased off-contract for $240, whilst the phone will cost $640, making it $880 altogether.

Considering the Galaxy S4 is usually priced around $700 off-contract, and a Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet would cost more than $550, the Padfone Infinity and tablet package make for a cheaper alternative to owning both a tablet and a phone.

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