ASUS PadFone S (PF500KL) is the most high-end smartphone offered by the Taiwanese company at this moment. While the specifications fall in the premium spectrum, the price is still very affordable like the rest of the offerings from ASUS. In fact, it is the cheapest among all phones that run on the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor. You can also dock it into its PadFone station to convert it into a 9″ tablet, as the name suggests.
ASUS Malaysia has loaned us a unit of the PadFone S and we really appreciate that. Unfortunately, we do not have the PadFone Station with us. Today, we are going to unbox this phone and to share our first impression on it. The full review is on the way!
ASUS PadFone S is priced at RM899 and this time, the PadFone Station is not bundled together. The optional tablet dock is available at RM499. It is nice for consumers that we have the choice to buy only what we need. I bet that this will make the PadFone S more appealing. Here are the full specifications for the device:
As you can see, the specifications are quite impressive for the price tag it has. Let’s start with the unobxing!
The packaging for the ASUS PadFone S is simple and nice. The name and the rendered images are printed on top of the box. A few of the major features of the phone are shown through circular holes at the left hand side of the box. Opening it up will show the phone itself, wrapped in a plastic cover for protection. The unit we received is the black model, or Dark Ruby as ASUS called it.
Other than the phone itself, the standard accessories you expected has been packed in. What follows the phone are a charger, a pair of earphones, a few earbuds of different size, a USB cable, the warranty documents and the simple user manual. One thing worth mentioning is that the charger supplied has 2A current rating. Although it is not a fast-charging charger, we would prefer it over the usual 1A charger anytime.
Let’s come back to our main character here. At first look, the industrial design of the phone might be ordinary to some’s eyes. The clean look is elegant but unsurprising at the same time. The moment I took away the cover and hold it in my hand, I was amazed by the build quality of the phone. The brushed metal frame on the side might helps a little in the looks. However, what it does the most is giving us confidence that the phone is well constructed. The matte plastic back is also slightly curved towards the edges, making the phone easy to be grabbed. At this moment, I have no complaints about the exterior of the phone.
On the front of the phone rests the 5″ 1080p IPS LCD display protected by the Gorilla Glass 3. The earpiece for phone calls and the front camera stay on top while the silver ASUS logo lies at the bottom. There are no capacitive buttons here, anyway. Flipping to the back we can see the rear 13MP camera, the LED flash, the speaker, another ASUS logo and the PadFone branding.
The power button and the volume rocker are placed on the right hand side of the phone and there is nothing on the left hand side. As you can see, the phone is not thin. However, if choices has to be made between thinness and durability, I am glad that ASUS chose the latter. Actually, 9.98mm is still actually acceptable and manageable, at least for me. The 3.5mm headphone jack is placed on the top and the micro USB port for charging and data sync is at the bottom.
The back cover of the phone is removable. You can pop out the back to insert your SIM card and micro SD card. 4G LTE is supported by the PadFone S, by the way. The 2,300mAh battery is non-removable. The battery capacity is relatively small and we shall see how it fares in the full review.
Looking at the back cover you will notice that there is a black plate attached to it and there are 4 pins that to be connected to the phone. It is the coil to make Qi wireless charging possible on this phone. However, ASUS Malaysia claimed that the models in Malaysia do not support wireless charging. The hardware is present but we are unsure what is the reason behind this.
Powering up the device and we are looking at the beautiful 1080p display. The colours are eye-catching and the pixel density of 441 pixels per inch means that we can hardly tell between individual pixels even looking at close range. The viewing angle is great except that the glass is a little too reflective. The ASUS PadFone S is running ZenUI on top of Android 4.4 Kit Kat. Powering by the such powerful chipset and the user interface close to the stock Android, there is no lag at all. Opening up apps are done almost instantly and navigating through the interface is so smooth.
We did not have enough time with the ASUS PadFone S to draw the final conclusion yet. However, the first impression given the phone is largely positive. The construction is great, the chipset is powerful and the display is great. The biggest question we have is that we really wonder how ASUS can make a wonderful package like this being so affordable. We can’t wait to share our experience on the PadFone S later. Stay tuned for the full review!