ASUS PadFone Infinity - Going Beyond Its Limits

Launch SRP: S$898

Performance and Conclusion

Performance

The PadFone Infinity is powered by the same processors found in the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. On paper, their performance should not differ from each other. To assess how the PadFone Infinity fares against the competition, we ran the Quadrant benchmark test.

The test evaluates CPU, memory, I/O and 3D graphics of Android devices. In this comparison, we pit the PadFone Infinity against the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4 and Sony Xperia Z. We also included the PadFone 2 to compare the benchmark results between the two phones.

How the Phones Stack Up
Device ASUS PadFone Infinity ASUS PadFone 2 HTC One Samsung Galaxy S4 Sony Xperia Z
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
quad-core 1.5GHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
quad-core 1.5GHz
GPU Adreno 320 Adreno 320 Adreno 320 Adreno 320 Adreno 320
RAM 2GB 2GB 2GB 2GB 2GB
OS Android 4.1 Android 4.1 Android 4.1 Android 4.2 Android 4.1

 

Although the PadFone Infinity breached the 10,000 mark, it scored slightly below its immediate rivals, the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. This could be attributed to the better optimization of the processor and software found in the other two phones. As noted in the review of the Samsung Galaxy S4, the Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor outclassed the previous generation of Snapdragon processors found in the PadFone 2 and Sony Xperia Z.

Synthetic benchmarks aside, the PadFone Infinity delivered a snappy user experience. We encountered no lags or system freezes during the period of usage. While the PadFone Infinity does not come with a stock Android user interface, navigation was smooth and fluid.  

 

 

Multimedia Performance 

Like its immediate rivals, the PadFone Infinity comes with a 5-inch display. While Samsung is marketing its Super AMOLED display on the Galaxy S4, ASUS is placing all bets on its Super IPS  display for superior viewing angles and truer color reproduction.

At a screen resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, the 5-inch Super IPS display of the PadFone Infinity is definitely a step up from the 720p display of the PadFone 2, and competes favorably against the Galaxy S4 and Sony Xperia Z. Images look vivid and text appear razor sharp on the PadFone Infinity.

As with most ASUS mobile devices, there is an option to bump up the brightness to a maximum of 400nits for outdoor usage. Although enabling the "Outdoor mode" helps in viewing content under bright sunlight, it also drains the battery faster.

In terms of storage space, the PadFone Infinity comes in two capacity options - 32GB and 64GB. It's a pity that the device lacks a memory card slot. Out of the box, the 32GB PadFone Infinity has 25.13GB of available storage. That means the Android OS and the preloaded apps occupy about 6GB of space. To compensate, ASUS is also offering 50GB WebStorage free for two years with each PadFone Infinity.

While cloud storage isn't exactly a direct alternative to memory card based storage expansion, you may want to consider the WebStorage's compatibility with Microsoft Office as a plus point. WebStorage allows you to view, create, edit and share Office documents (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) on the PadFone Infinity.

 

Imaging Performance 

When it comes to the phone's imaging capability, the PadFone Infinity is no slouch compared to the competition. The PadFone Infinity is equipped with a 13-megapixel rear facing camera with a Sony BSI sensor, 5-element lens and f/2.0 aperture. On the front, it has a 2-megapixel camera which is capable of both still and motion picture recording. It can also be used for video calling and conferencing. We put the PadFone Infinity's rear camera through our standard imaging test.

 

Battery Mileage

Our standard battery test for mobile phones includes the following parameters:

  • Looping a 800 x 480-pixel video with screen brightness and volume at 100%
     
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
     
  • Constant data streaming through email and Twitter
Test Phones Compared
Specifications/Device ASUS PadFone Infinity ASUS PadFone 2 HTC One Samsung Galaxy S4 Sony Xperia Z
Processor
  • Quad-core 1.7GHz
  • Quad-core 1.5GHz
  • Quad-core 1.7GHz
  • Quad-core 1.9GHz
  • Quad-core 1.5GHz
Display Size
  • 5-inch
  • 4.7-inch
  • 4.7-inch
  • 5-inch
  • 5-inch
Display Type
  • Super IPS
  • Super IPS+
  • Super LCD 3
  • Super AMOLED
  • TFT
Display Resolution
  • 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
  • 1,280 x 720 pixels
  • 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
  • 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
  • 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
Dimensions
  • 143.5 x 72.8 x 6.3 - 8.9mm
  • 137.9 x 69 x 9mm
  • 137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3mm
  • 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9mm
  • 139 x 71 x 7.9 mm
Weight
  • 145g
  • 135g
  • 143g
  • 130g
  • 146g
Battery
  • 2400mAh
  • 2140mAh
  • 2300mAh
  • 2600mAh
  • 2330mAh

 

We have mixed feelings looking at the battery performance of the PadFone Infinity. On the positive side, we considered its battery mileage to be above average as it easily outlasted the HTC One and Sony Xperia Z. On the other hand, it could not match the standard set by the PadFone 2. It is likely that the more demanding 5-inch Full HD display is to blamed for the lower-than-expected results. 

Based on the Power Consumption chart, our assumption is confirmed. The PadFone Infinity registered a higher 1.31W compared to the PadFone 2 (0.85W) and the Galaxy S4 (0.92W). In the Portability Index where each device is assessed on its ability to balance battery mileage. with its size and portability, the PadFone Infinity ranked behind the Galaxy S4 and PadFone 2.

While our battery test is quite strenuous and is used to help us establish a base line for comparison between various smartphone offerings, in an actual usage scenario, we were able to get a full day of battery life. This included our regular weekday schedule of calls, email, web-surfing and social media usage. Turning on 4G LTE would drain the battery faster, especially if you engage in prolonged web browsing or messaging.

As part of its power management package, ASUS included Power Saver and Smart Saving features in the PadFone Infinity. By default, the PadFone is set to Optimized mode. You have the option to customize your own power saving by scenario in Customized mode. For example, enabling power saving for reading emails will reduced the maximum CPU clock speed from 1.7GHz to 1.2GHz. Enabling power saving for browsing websites will result in the utilization of only two CPU cores when using the stock Android browser or Chrome.

If the phone is running low on battery, you can opt to enable Ultra-Saving mode, where network connectivity is automatically disabled when the phone is in standby. Alternatively, you can choose to dock the phone into the Station accessory anytime to charge. However, do note that the charging process via the Station is longer and serves only as an emergency power outlet.

 

Conclusion

Priced at S$898 (32GB) and S$998 (64GB), the PadFone Infinity can give its competitors a run for their money. Within three generations, ASUS nailed the formula to making an impressive flagship smartphone while some phone vendors are still missing the mark. 

ASUS really stepped up the game with the PadFone Infinity, which impressed us with its new industrial design. The anodized aluminum chassis alone is sufficient reason for one to shell out money for it as its premium look and feel can only be matched by the Apple iPhone 5 (S$1,088 for 32GB, S$1,238 for 64GB) and the HTC One (S$968 for 32GB,  S$1,068 for 64GB). 

In terms of overall performance, the PadFone Infinity held its own against the market leader, the Samsung Galaxy S4 (S$998, 16GB) and at the same time, ran circles around the HTC One and Sony Xperia Z (S$988, 16GB). Its handling may not be as good as the HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S4, but if you are considering 5-inch phones, we feel that size is likely not an issue for you in the first place. More importantly, the unique proposition of the PadFone Infinity is its Station accessory. Available separately at S$368, the PadFone Infinity Station is a good complement to the phone from an extended mobile computing perspective. Its only downside is that the accessory cannot double up as a secondary standalone device and only assists in transforming the PadFone Infinity into a full fledged tablet usage model.

Having said all of that, if you are shopping for a new Android smartphone, will the ASUS PadFone Infinity cut it? Well, it really depends on your priorities, so here's our recommendations based on a few key aspects:-

  • If you are looking for a well-designed, solid phone, look no further than the ASUS PadFone Infinity. As mentioned earlier, its build quality is top-notch and sits at the top of the chart alongside the HTC One. However, if your preferences are towards a more rugged phone that has dust and water protection, Sony Xperia Z fits the bill. The Xperia Z's strength lies in its IP55 and IP57 ratings, which indicate the highest levels of dust and water resistance. Even with such properties, the Xperia Z manages to stay simple, yet classy.
     
  • Looking for an Android smartphone with the closest experience to a Nexus phone? The ASUS PadFone Infinity is your best bet. ASUS is one of the few phone vendors that do not tweak the stock Android interface beyond recognition or to the extent that it affects the user experience. There are slight modifications to the user interface, but they are subtle and in no way interfere with your daily usage. The other consideration here is the Sony Xperia Z.
     
  • Should you want to consider your next flagship device based on the best user interface, look no further than the HTC One smartphone and its HTC Sense 5 user interface with the HTC BlinkFeed. Simple, elegant and straightforward summarizes the UI. On a side note, the HTC One has the best speakers on any smartphone to complement its multimedia experience.
     
  • If you want the latest and the best, the Samsung Galaxy S4 edges out the PadFone Infinity with its superior battery performance. Both are equally matched in terms of imaging performance, but the Galaxy S4 loses out in design, build quality and user experience. 
     
  • We also highly recommend existing PadFone (first-gen) users to upgrade to the PadFone Infinity as the latter improves on almost every aspect by a large degree. It is however, a tricky issue for PadFone 2 users since the phone was launched not long ago in late November. The PadFone 2 is still a decent smartphone by today's standards and if you are still tied with a telco contract, it is advisable to hold on to your device unless you have some spare cash to spend.

The ASUS PadFone Infinity will be available in Singapore from 1st June at selected ASUS authorized stores, StarHub and M1 shops.  The telcos will offer the phone-tablet hybrid device at a range of attractive mobile price plans. More details will be announced by the telcos closer to the availability date. 

*Updated on 6/6/2013:

Here's the full list of stores where users can purchase the PadFone Infinity: 

StarHub

  • 100AM- 100 Tras Street, #01-02, Singapore 079027
  • Bugis Junction- 200 Victoria Street , #B1-20A/21 Bugis Junction , Singapore 188021
  • Plaza Singapura- 68 Orchard Road, #01-36, Singapore 238839
  • Parkway Parade- 80 Marine Parade Road, #B1-30/32, Parkway Parade, Singapore 449269
  • Vivo City- 1 HarbourFront Walk, #02-202, Singapore 098585
  • Nex Mall- 23 Serangoon Central, #B1-24/25/26, nex, Singapore 556083
  • Causeway Point- 1 Woodlands Square, #03-07/08/09, Causeway Point, Singapore 738099
  • IMM- IMM Bldg, #01-59 Jurong East Street 21, Singapore 609601
  • Marina Bay Link Mall- 8A Marina Boulevard, #B2-52/53/54/55, Marina Bay Link Mall, Singapore 018984
  • Tampines Mall- 4 Tampines Central 5, #02-26D/27/28, Singapore 529510


Challenger

  • Funan- 109 North Bridge Road #06-00 Funan DigitaLife Mall Singapore 179097
  • Vivo City- 1 HarbourFront Walk #02-34/35 VivoCity Singapore 098585


Newstead

  • Funan- Funan DigitaLife Mall 109 North Bridge Road #03-32 Singapore 179097
  • Sim Lim- Sim Lim Square 1 Rochor Canal Road #03-50 Singapore 188504
  • Sim Lim- Sim Lim Square 1 Rochor Canal Road #01-63 Singapore 188504


Harvey Norman

  • Suntec- Suntec City, 3 Temasek Boulevard, #02-69/71 , Singapore 038983
  • Millenia Walk- Millenia Walk, No 9 Raffles Boulevard, #02-57 to 62, Singapore 039596
  • Funan- Funan DigitaLife Mall, 109 North Bridge Road, #B1-01, Singapore 179097
9.0
Design
9
Features
9
User-Friendliness
9
Performance
9
Value
9
The Good
Superb design and build quality
Great overall performance
Excellent camera image quality
Gorgeous display
The Bad
Handling not as good as the competition
No memory card expansion slot