The 8MP camera lacks a BSI sensor but still manages to capture good detailed outdoors shots. The LED flash is also quite powerful and evenly illuminates a dark area, provided you’re within 2-3ft from the subject. Panorama mode works very well too. Pictures look even better outdoors in natural light. Touch to focus is present as well along with touch to capture, face detection etc. You also get a bunch of scene modes to play around with. The PadFone only has a VGA front camera, whereas the station packs in a 1.3MP cam, so for video chats, you’re better off using the PadFone Station.
The revamped camera UI
Captures good amount of detail
For our video drain test, the brightness was set to medium and Wi-Fi was off. We managed to get about 6 hours of playback time from the phone alone. This is a bit too little since the PadFone packs in a rather weak 1520mAh battery. Once plugged into the the PadFone Station and the keyboard dock (which were fully charged), we managed to squeeze out another 9 hours of video playback on the 10.1-inch screen. In the loop tests, we managed to get just 5 hours of usage from the phone alone, which included 1 hour of voice calls, 2 hours of video and 2 hours of music streaming. The phone itself has a weak battery life and is only good enough when you pair it with the accessories, which might not be possible everywhere. With regular usage, we also found that the PadFone would heat up quite a bit for even simple tasks like music playback, which is not a good thing.
The PadFone Station is a bit bulky, so carrying it around is not always feasible
The Asus PadFone retails for Rs. 65,000 and as part of the package, you get the phone, the station, the keyboard and the stylus headset. This makes it the most expensive Android smartphone in India. But is it worth it? Well, not really and here’s why. At the heart of it all, the PadFone is first and foremost a smartphone, but it’s not a high-end phone, at least not anymore. If Asus were to sell it as a standalone product, we’d reckon it would sell in the 20-30K price bracket. In essence, you’re paying more than double for the tablet, keyboard and stylus – stuff that you may or may not use that often. Looking at it purely as a phone, the PadFone lacks a quadband 3G radio, has no NFC and has a weak battery. The tablet dock and keyboard are great when you’re at home, but you’d rarely carry them with you since the combination gets really bulky and heavy. You also can’t install tablet specific apps on the PadFone even in tablet mode, since Google still sees it as a phone and not a tablet. The PadFone is a great concept, no doubt, and we applaud Asus for bringing it to the market. However, we just feel there’s a lot more work needed, software-wise, to make the transition between phone and tablet more seamless and to truly enjoy the best of both worlds.
Updated 18 May, 2013, 5:40 pm IST
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