I am a big fan of what Asus are doing with their Android device line up right now. They are offering decent value in a range of interesting form factors. But the one device I have been waiting to try above all others is the PadFone Infinity. For some background on the PadFone concept, it is worth taking a look at my PadFone 2 review posted here on MoDaCo a few months ago.
The PadFone Infinity takes things up a notch with a serious hardware upgrade and a shift in their materials and visual designs. The Infinity is quite simply a gorgeous phone. The first thing I noticed when removing it from its plastic sheath was how the glass on the front of the phone seems to stand proud of the rest of the device, like a glass top resting on a table. Looked at from a slight angle, this, combined with the metal band running round the edges of the device, does lend it a bit of an iPhone 4/4S appearance, but really it is nothing like that. It is a unique and very minimalist design that looks great from all angles.
Turning the phone over in my hand, I was quite surprised to find that the brushed aluminium back actually feels extremely smooth to the touch, I was expecting to be able to feel the brushes. The phone is very cool to the touch, with an unexpected lightness to it, but it is quite large, noticeably larger than an HTC One or a Samsung Galaxy S4. The buttons are all on the right side of the phone and protrude nicely whilst having good feedback and being very responsive - I approve!
So what about the PadFone Station - the dock into which you put the phone to turn it into a tablet? I was quite critical of the station for the PadFone 2, and at first glance, the Infinity station is very similar. But there are some very important differences, the primary of which is that the whole package feels a lot slimmer. I am not sure it actually IS slimmer, but it feels it. This feeling is no doubt helped by the edges of the station screen which are slightly rounded and make it a lot easier to hold. The back of the dock is still covered in plastic and does not have a premium feel at all, but it is an improvement on the PadFone 2 station, so I can only thank Asus for that. The buttons feel solid and much more responsive this time round as well. The docking mechanism itself appears to work in exactly the same way as the PadFone 2 and certainly works well.
Perhaps the most gratifying change from the PadFone 2 I have noticed so far is that the Infinity is supplied with a standard Micro USB charging cable and this time round the cable sits firmly and normally in the device. This is the case for the phone and the station and is another really positive improvement that Asus have made.
What of the experience of using the PadFone Infinity then? Well, I have had it for less than 24 hours, but so far, I am finding it extremely responsive. The screen on the phone is stunning and the screen on the station is also very good, both a vast improvement on the PadFone 2. The software is typically Asus - very close to stock with a few subtle but useful enhancements. I have not used the device long enough to comment on battery life or the camera as yet.
One thing I noticed immediately was that it seems to have a very strong WiFi radio with strong reception in places where even my Galaxy S4 struggled to maintain decent signal strength. The cellular reception appears to be equally strong but only time will tell if that is the case.
Keep an eye out for my full review of the PadFone Infinity which I expect to have up in a few weeks, once I have given the device a serious workout and feel free to ask any questions of me in the mean time using the comments below!