Phone meets tablet: Asus PadFone reviewed

Over to the battery, you’ll find excellent life for this smartphone.

We literally had two full days of use out of the Asus PadFone, and that was without needing to plug the handset into the tablet, an action which recharges the phone.

Two days from a smartphone where there’s still phone calls, texting, social networking, web surfing, and the odd spot of turning the handset into a mobile WiFi hotspot. That’s an impressive life for a touchscreen handset, especially when these days we consider a day and a half of use pretty good for battery life.

Sure, it’s not the four days we had on the HTC One V, but this is also a device that doesn’t have problems in the performance area, providing some decent speed that is comparable to HTC’s One S handset with its dual-core processor.

One of the reasons there has to be decent performance is so the phone can be used inside the tablet shell, which is where the PadFone Station comes into play. Simply open up the back of the tablet and slide your phone on in, switching the tablet on and bringing it to life.

Your phone is now the heart of the tablet, with all your files, music, photos, and even mobile connection still intact. From this point, you can send messages and emails using the large on-screen virtual keyboard of the 10 inch tablet, listen to your music, and even take phone calls with the combined Bluetooth stylus headset.

This last part makes you look a tad silly, mind you, and every time we used this in public – or even in the office – we were looked at as if we were mad. I mean, we were talking by holding a pen up to our ear. You can hardly blame people for looking confused.

Outside of this, the tablet doesn’t offer a bad experience, it’s just a severely weighted experience. Once the phone is inside the tablet, the weight jumps to nearly that of a kilogram, or just shy of one at 853 grams. We’re not one to worry about numbers normally, but that’s a lot of heft for a device you’re meant to hold and type with. In the lap, it’s completely fine, but in the hand, well, let’s just say your muscles are going to increase quickly with this gadget.

You will find that with the phone inside the tablet, your smartphone battery recharges, which is good news for those worried about the slate draining life while use.

The downside of this, however, is that the PadFone Station takes its own charge port, the same one as the Asus Transformer tablets. Charging the PadFone means that you need two chargers: one for microUSB and one for the Asus proprietary port.

It’s also worth pointing out that you can’t use the PadFone Station tablet without the phone in it, as it just simply won’t turn on. This is one gadget that relies on the phone altogether, requiring it to function.

Don’t want to use your phone over Bluetooth and want to use the tablet at the same time? Too bad, as the PadFone needs to be inside its tablet to function as a tablet, similar to how Motorola’s Atrix LapDock computer required the Atrix to switch on.

We’re also a little bugged by the physical quality, with the devices feeling, well, cheap.

The phone’s mixture of an Apple iPhone front and Asus Transformer doesn’t help the gadget have the most unique personality – not like its hybrid concept – but the plastic back doesn’t make things any better, giving off a fairly unimpressive finish with ridged plastic.

At least it’s easy to grip, which is more than we can say for the PadFone Station, a tablet that has a slick almost dirty feeling plastic on the back, and a glass front that is near impossible to not look grubby from your fingerprints.


Asus may be onto something with the PadFone, and for a first generation product, it’s not a bad idea. That said, it’s certainly not for everyone, and we’d probably wait for a second-generation before ultimately deciding.

If you love the idea of a tablet but hate the prospect of two separate devices, it’s worth looking at, especially since the tablet is part of the package.

Value for money
Reader Rating0 Votes
Great battery life; Cool concept; Comes with a combined Bluetooth headset and stylus;
Feels cheap; Two different types of charge port: one for the phone (microUSB), one for the tablet (Asus proprietary); Tablet requires the phone to work; Tablet is very heavy; Holding a stylus up to your ear makes you look insane;