The ASUS PadFone Infinity is third in the line of phone-powered tablets by ASUS. First released in June 2012, the original ASUS PadFone was the world’s first phone to fully power a tablet from its own OS. It was original, eye-catching, but as new things are, it was rough around the edges.
Months have passed since then and the result of this maturing but still original concept is the ASUS PadFone Infinity.
The ASUS PadFone Infinity is a very sleek device from any angle you look.
In the front, you will see a black slate of Corning Gorilla Glass, with nothing but an ASUS logo at the bottom. This is now a trend that is followed by others, such as Motorola with its Moto X.
Turn it on, and you will enjoy movies, games, and books with full HD 1080p clarity. With its pixel density at 441ppi, it is as good as gets. In fact, anything above 300ppi is virtually indistinguishable to the naked eye – unless of course you want to win a fight with another nerd in an all-out spec war.
At the back, ASUS had chosen cold metal over warm polycarbonate, utilising an aerospace-grade, twice-anodised aluminium alloy construction. This makes the back side of the PadFone Infinity almost Zen-like with its metal brushed strokes – a tribute to the signature Zen-ripple etching on the PadFone 2, which uses polycarbonate.
You definitely would not want to cover up this phone’s beauty with a back cover, especially since the double-anodized finish also improves scratch resistance, a weakness that is common found in most phones with a metal body. Finishing off this sleek profile is its slim width of only 8.9mm with ergonomically curved edges of only 6.3mm.
I certainly expect this trend of gorgeous devices to continue from ASUS.
Equipped with a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 SoC and 2GB of RAM, the PadFone Infinity is very snappy. Demanding games such as Monster Blade and Dead Trigger runs very smoothly with no hint of lag, and that goes the same for multi-tasking. It will definitely keep up to your usage.
However, jittery animations when navigating through menus do occur occasionally, though this is more of an Android issue rather than on a hardware issue.
Battery life is always something difficult to measure, each review has its own benchmarks, and ultimately, your experience is absolutely determined by the use of your phone. That said, with a 2400 mAh battery, it should last a working day (8hrs) with moderate use.
ASUS states the PadFone Infinity will last for 6.5 hours of browsing, something that is quite close to what I have experienced with the device.
Just keep in mind – as long as you are using a smartphone – with 4G on, some browsing, some games, you are going to need a portable charger, or a your plug and cable to achieve a full day of use.
The camera on the PadFone Infinity is quite a powerful one – a Sony 13mp f/2.0 IMX091 sensor. I will let these test shots speak for itself.
*All Photos taken using default settings.
The front facing camera is a 2mp, f/2.0 OmniVision OV2722 sensor, more than sufficient for your selfies and skype calls.
The speaker on the PadFone Infinity is above average. I find its placement just above the power button on the right side of the phone is very smart as it is in a blind spot that will not be blocked by your finger or palm regardless of the phone orientation.
It is powered by ASUS’ SonicMaster Technology, which combines high-quality hardware with sophisticated audio processing from Wave – recipient of a Technical Grammy Award.
The ASUS PadFone Infinity is not without its own proprietary applications and features, such as the ASUS Echo, SuperNote 3.1, and Instant Dictionary. One feature you may find useful is the ability to switch between “modes”.
For those mobile road warriors constantly on the go, this would be a useful feature to get organised rather than lost in the mess. You can find more information of these features at the official ASUS PadFone Infinity Site.
PadFone Infinity Station
Unique Selling Points (USP) are getting diluted nowadays with the rapid progress of the tech industry, and yet, the USP of the original PadFone has still not been contested. Therefore you know that when you buy the PadFone Infinity, you are truly getting a unique product – that is if you buy the Station too!
The PadFone Infinity Station is basically a tablet module with a dock in which the PadFone Infinity will be docked. Once inserted, the tablet comes to life, a device that has all the specifications of the phone but now with an enlarged 10.1 inch 1080p display, a longer battery life with the combined capacity of 7,400 mAh (2,400 mAh on the phone, 5,000 mAh on the tablet).
ASUS states it will increase browsing time to 7.5 hours, 1 more than with just the phone. This is due to powering the larger screen. It should be noteworthy that the Station can double as a “portable” charger when not in use, and it truly delivers on that all-day battery life.
With the clever placed and design rubber sleeves gripping it to the docking bay. The PadFone Infinity will fit firmly in the dock even when shaking it upside down while at the same time allowing you to slide the phone out with ease.
The Station is an expensive accessory though, costing you S$368. But you will walk away with a full-fledge tablet that will give other android tablets a run for their money. The PadFone Infinity with the Station is one of the best 10.1 inch android tablet, with the arguably the best camera, one of the fastest processors, a large battery capacity to boast, and all while keeping it at a decent weight of 677g (145g + 532g). In comparison, the 4G iPad weighs in at 662g.
The other major downside would be the fact that the Station will not work without the phone. Therefore if your phone is spoilt or unavailable for any particular reason, your PadFone Infinity Station will just be a heavy paperweight.
Wrapping It Up
The PadFone Infinity is certainly one of the best punches ASUS had given in the mobile industry.
This is definitely something you should consider for your next phone, especially if you appreciate great hardware.
Should I Buy The PadFone Infinity Station?
That will depend on you on your answer to the following question: are you looking to buy a phone or a tablet? The question may seem strange, but hear me out and it will make sense.
If you are only looking to purchase a phone, you will be better saving the extra amount for something else. When using the PadFone Infinity as my primary phone, I hardly brought the Station for better portability, and as much of activities can be done on the phone itself, I soon found the PadFone Infinity Station under-utilised in my drawer. This experience may differ, but I expect many of you to feel the same if you do not see a use of a tablet in your life.
Now when I returned to using my own phone, and used the PadFone Infinity Station primarily as a tablet. This experience is largely different from before, as I hardly took the PadFone Infinity out unless necessary, and I believe that by itself is a Unique Selling Point on the tablet front.
No other tablet (apart from the PadFone and PadFone 2) gives you the benefit of swapping out your tablet for a smaller portable form factor with all your work and data inside. This benefit comes in play in dynamic situations, such as an immediate meeting, or a sudden trip on a go. You can continue your work on the phone, and be happy to know that you can easily return to tablet mode when you need to.
Sure, you might argue that with a phone and a tablet, you can still achieve this using software like Evernote to sync your work, but nothing is more seamless than hardware.
This is a niche device, but for some of you – I would say those mobile road warriors – this may be the perfect device you were waiting for.
This section exists to acknowledge that fact that no matter how good a review is, it is definitely wise to seek other reviews and make your own judgement before making a purchase. Here are some other quality reviews of the ASUS PadFone Infinity: