Dubbed as the “Super Phone”, the ASUS PadFone S (PF500KL) is the best phone you can get from ASUS. Combined with the PadFone Station, you can convert the device between a 5″ phone and a 9″ tablet. With the PadFone Station available optionally, ASUS manages to keep the price low while offering powerful hardware. Being cheap and good, is it too good to be true? Or are there any shortcomings? Let’s find out!
We would like to thank ASUS Malaysia for providing the test unit to make this review possible!
- Introduction, Unboxing & Design
- Specifications, Display & Performance
- Software, Storage, Battery Life & Connectivity
- Speaker & Camera
- PadFone Station & Conclusion
What’s In The Box?
We have shared our unboxing experience and early impression in the earlier post. ASUS has packed in the standard accessories such as a USB cable, a charger and a pair of earphones. The charger provided is rated at 2A. Even though no fast charging technology will be supported, a 2A charger will be preferred by people who values charging speed over the ordinary 1A charger.
The unit we have with us is the black model as the white option is not officially available yet. In the unboxing of the PadFone S, I mentioned that the design is not eye-catching and I have felt the same after using it for some time. The design is simple, ordinary and it most likely will not catch attention from people around you. It is miles away from being bad-looking at the same time. Depending what type of person you are, the design can be either good or bad for your liking. If you prefer a minimalist design, you will find this phone elegant; conversely, the lack of bizarre in the design might be boring to you.
Even though the look might not be outstanding, the build quality and the feel in hand are awesome. Although the exterior design falls short, ASUS has placed enough effort in these other areas to impress. In my opinion, the material used plays a very important role here. The front is covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The removable cover of the phone is made of soft-touch matte plastic and the side is framed by brushed metal.
I think ASUS has made a great choice over here: choosing durability and build quality over aesthetics.
These 3 kinds of different material are actually a good combination. The front glass is nice and smooth to touch. The back provides a warm and soft touch. It helps the phone to rest in your hand comfortably without any slippery feel. On the other hand, the metallic frame at the sides contributes to the durability. The phone feels extremely solid when you grab it and it does not flex at all. I never have to worry that the phone will suffer any physical damage under normal day-to-day usage. I think that the phone might survive under some torture too (of course I am not allowed to test it). I think ASUS has made a great choice over here: choosing durability and build quality over aesthetics.
The dimensions of the phone are a little larger than other 5″ phones. The top and bottom bezels are larger than what I like as the phone does not have capacitive buttons and front firing speaker. However, it is still manageable with one-hand for most of the tasks.
The only problem I have with the design of the phone is the buttons. Both power buttons and volume rocker are placed at the right hand side but the power button is on the top, which is out of my index finger’s reach without switching the way I hold the phone. I hope that the power button and volume rocker can switch places as the former will be used more frequently than the latter. The phone is slightly on the heavy side, but the weight is still pretty much acceptable.
I have no trouble with other parts of the design. The 3.5mm audio jack at the top and the micro USB port at the bottom are at their typical places. The back cover is removable and you can insert the SIM card and micro SD card there. The battery is not removable anyway. When we start complaining little things like this, this actually means that the phone is well designed. The problems I faced are quite minor and I am used to it after some time.