Everything related to Asus was magical this year at MWC, starting with the presentation event, the quick-round of pictures and finishing with their booth, here at Barcelona. There is a strong sense of elegance floating around their name and this type of presence has been heavily felt with the Asus Padfone Infinity concept as well.
For those who are not yet introduced to the Infinity world, you must know that Asus is really taking in to consideration the Transformer concept and with this new generation, the upgrade is going to be quite substantial.
Heavily taking advantage of the fact that no other company is supplying a true hybrid device (Motorola quit quite a while back), which blends advantages of a high-end smartphone with the wide screen of a tablet, Asus is pushing the limits of innovation, but also the pockets of many consumers.
Asus PadFone Infinity Hands On
The PadFone Infinity concept is made out of two parts: a smartphone and a sleek docking station. The first component is a 5-inch wide smartphone, constructed only from the best materials gathered by Asus engineers which reflect right away a premium feel, but also leave significant scars in the pricing figure.
Just 8.9-mm thick, the Asus PadFone Infinity is completely made out of high-quality aluminum and its unibody design can make even some Apple’s fanboys switch to Android, for the first time. The back-plate is purely out of brushed aluminum, the same design used for the Transformer Pad but without excess engravings. Speaking of which, the only thing disrupting the simplicity and beauty of this Asus beast is the company’s own patented logo, which integrates a NFC antenna used for sharing or other networking purposes.
The sides of the Asus PadFone Infinity conceal a classic MyDP port (with micro-USB 2.0 functions and up to 1080 video streaming qualities), a 3.5-mm headphone jack but without a useful micro-SD slot, which will force some users into buying the larger variant or, resorting to Asus Cloud for more.
On the front, Asus has embedded a high-quality 5-inch wide Super IPS display capable of rendering content in Full HD quality and under a crisp, 441 PPI pixel density (way better than Apple, as we have been told on numerous occasions).
When it comes to responsiveness, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor clocked at a 1.7 GHz frequency should handle the job with style, but during our hands-on with the tablet, we noticed some glitches, especially when pairing the unit with the tablet-like docking station.
Supposedly, any experience rendered on one of the units should resume instantly when unpaired, but when we wanted to watch a movie on the tablet and then disconnected the phone to take it with us, the application crashed with errors. As always, we were explained that it was not a final model, a fact which could be noticed in the settings menu (it ran Android 4.1, instead of 4.2 like it should have).
Speaking of the docking station, the other component of the Asus Padfone Infinity is a 10.1-inch wide tablet which can render content under the same standards (full HD quality) and supposedly, at fast-pace. This tablet-like device has a phone-dock placed on its back side on which the smartphone attaches with ease. We were pretty afraid to scratch that precious screen of the phone when connecting it with the docking station, because the display is directly facing an aluminum surface. For our peace of mind, everything worked as it should and a clicking sound announced the symbiosis.
As a general feel, the 10.1-inch wide tablet is constructed mostly out of the same material as the phone and the both of them look great. Pairing them both will create a single device which is not much heavier than the latest iPad model, but one which is definitely thicker.
Another interesting element we noticed is that each of these devices comes with a 13-megapixel camera on the back, capable of shooting 8 FPS burst mode pictures with 100 sequential shots and full HD videos, as well. Although this might seem a bit of an overspend, I believe if Asus could find a way to use the phone’s camera for the tablet, it would have implemented it.
At the end of the day, this is one beast of a device, with little things that could have been improved. One of them, is certainly the 999 euros price tag.