Android ASUS Padfone Infinity.

At the conceptual level, the ASUS Padfone series has always sounded cool, but it's never managed to translate that into mainstream success. Previous Padfones, though technically impressive, have been too expensive to win over consumers and carriers en masse. On top of that, ASUS has yet to present a really compelling use case for combining a phone with tablet dock.

Nevertheless, the Taiwanese manufacturer is back with a third Padfone iteration, the Padfone Infinity. The Infinity boasts superior specs, a redesigned, brushed aluminum chassis an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. But is that enough to justify this class of device? Check out our first impressions from Mobile World Congress after the break.

On its own, the ASUS Padfone Infinity handset is an impressive piece of hardware. It packs the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU, 2GB of RAM, a 5-inch 1080p IPS display and a sumptuous brushed aluminum chassis. It's every bit as powerful as some of the leading 5-inch Android phones currently on the market, and at a design level we think it many traditional plastic offerings outclassed. LTE connectivity and a 13MP camera with BSI sensor ensure that all the major spec boxes are ticked. The phone's aluminum construction is particularly impressive, and slightly reminiscent of the HTC One.

The Padfone Infinity is running Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, which absolutely flies along on the next-gen Snapdragon chip. You've got ASUS's software tweaks on-board too, though the overall visual style sticks fairly close to that of vanilla Android. ASUS is also developing its own suite of cloud applications, offering services such as cloud storage and cloud sync on the device. The overall picture is of a rounded and well-specced, high-end Android smartphone.

But this isn't quite an ordinary smartphone. As a Padfone device, the Infinity comes with a tablet dock -- slide the phone into the top and the dock springs to life, activating a full Android UI on its 10-inch, 1080p display. The brains of the thing is in the phone, but ASUS's software intelligently switches between the phone and tablet UI. (We ran into a few issues with the docking procedure on the pre-production units at the ASUS booth, however some teething issues are to be expected when dealing with non-final hardware and software.)

But there still aren't a whole lot of reasons to carry pick up the latest Padfone over an equivalent phone and tablet combo. The Infinity will retail for €999 (around $1300), and that's tough to swallow when you could buy independent devices for the same price, or less.  As an independent smartphone, the Padfone Infinity is among the best out there, but it'll take a more compelling tablet experience to convince us of the worth of the overall package.


Reader comments

Hands-on with the ASUS Padfone Infinity


If they would actually make it available it would possibly become successful, but thus far they are now on the 3rd version and availability is non-existent. There's definitely a call for docking a phone into a tablet IMO too, so many people have both a phone and a tablet, being able to dock you phone and thus having all your apps, info, etc be the same on both devices is awesome. If the Padfone Infinity was actually released here with AT&T LTE support it would be my next phone, no contest.

I think it could be a compelling device; especially if they offered the phone and tablet portion separately. If it was on VZW I'd seriously consider it too.

Conceptually I love the ASUS Padfone series. You have a single CPU/storage device, so even though you have two pieces (phone and tablet), it's all your data on a single device regardless of what mode you're using it in (as opposed to what I have now, a Nexus 4 and an iPad).

Yes the "cloud" mitigates a lot of the "data in two places" issue, especially tools like Evernote, Amazon Kindle and Zinio, but it would still be better to have a single device that has all my pictures, movies, etc., instead of remembering to download them before a trip.

This is also the ultimate battery extender for your phone - when traveling I burn most of my phone battery surfing the web and answering emails on my phone, but if I could drop it into the tablet screen it's extra battery could charge my phone and would give me hours of extended use without resorting to a separate battery pack.

The other big advantage I see with the Padfone setup is actual data connectivity - you don't need a separate plan for your tablet as you're just using your normal phone data/connection. I refuse to buy an iPad with 3G/LTE as I don't want two different data plans (or those ridiculous shared data plans). I just tether my iPad to my Nexus 4 when WiFi isn't available. But it would be so much better if I could get that instant wireless connectivity by just dropping the phone into my tablet!

So I really want something like the ASUS Padfone, and I'd actually pay $1000 for the complete Infinity setup. However the one thing that ASUS seems to keep forgetting is the cover/dock/keyboard part of the equation. I can't imagine using my iPad for serious email or other typing without my Logitech Ultra Thin Keyboard. I don't understand why ASUS doesn't make a keyboard dock for the Padfone tablet like it does for the Transformer Pad Prime and Infinity tablets. If that existed I'd import a Padfone in a heartbeat. I've never even seen a cover like the Pad tablets' "origami" covers for the Padfones, which seems a huge omission. You need a simple, easy way to prop these tablets up for watching movies or using with a bluetooth keyboard (if no docking keyboard is available). I hope they think about that this time with the Padfone Infinity.

I agree, and the earlier version had a battery in the keyboard to extend tablet and phone battery life even more! Add in an S pen from the Galaxy Note and you have the ultimate device!

I also agree, without the keyboard I won't even consider buying one
An S pen would be nice to, but the keyboard is just essential

Can any of the US carriers justify why they wont carry this product? It makes perfect sense to have this or the Fonepad available. The carriers would still have your soul for the data plan these devices require and even at full retail people would buy them I know I would.
I use my Nexus 7 more than my phone a Note II. I bought the Note II because of the large screen it has but I rarely make calls on it. The Padfone and the Fonepad are a dream come true for those who make few calls but use a tablet for home or work. I know we are a minority but there is a market for this. The fact that they exist and sell well in other markets proves this. But alas the NAZI ruled US cell phone carriers will never allow this to happen in the US the supposed "land of free" even though they would still make money...

I think its a great idea and would love to get one. I think with the increase in connectivity it makes more sense to have them consolidated for ease of use. FYI I bought the Nexus 7 to dodge getting the Note II, Bigger screen half the price and i already have an S3 and Razr HD.

Padfone, Fonepad: This is the most confusing product naming I've ever seen. Consumers will be needlessly confused. On bright side, there's still place for 2 other products in ths lineup: Fadpone and Ponefad...

They had me until the price.

That's just too much, even if you are essentially getting two devices. Remember, one of the devices has no brains, it's just a screen! Can you use them separately? No. Imagine the phone portion slips out of your pocket and lands on the concrete, breaking into a million little pieces. Or gets washed in the washing machine. You still have a tablet, right? Nope!

I want to like the concept. I want to say it's something I'd buy... but in the end, it's a rich boy toy, and not very practical.

This is a really cool concept. If future Nexus devices paired like this, then I would for sure finally purchase my first tablet. However, definitely not at that price.

Why it has to be sooo expensive.
I've been in love with the padfone concept since the first came out.
Will have to waite until the Padfone 2 pirce drops to get one. :P

I just got the China version of this device. Came with Android 4.1.2 installed - any idea when or if it'll get Android 4.2?

Also, my initial testing is showing 2G (Edge) data speeds on AT&T. I need to play around with the APN settings and see if I can get this up and running with 3G data speeds.

Hey,just joined thus forum cause I was fiddling with the same thing. I obtain st edge:2 with my ATT iPhone plan from 2009, no 3g speeds, tried the,son settings sans still nothing so,I spoke with a rep she,told me I would,need a upgradedSIM card which was,free. Went to the store and manager told me that it would not work because it's an unlocked phone and 3g speeds are native to ATT devices only, please advice,if you found different. Thanks

BTW I own the Asus padfone 2 v4.1.1