Review ASUS PadFone Mini 4.3



    After the success of PadFone Infinity, it became apparent that a similar concept of a modular device is in great demand. However, not all users were comfortable with a rather weighty dock with a large screen. So the "little brother" was born, ASUS PadFone mini 4.3.

    Many users prefer smaller form factor devices instead of full-sized tablets. They are lighter, more compact, take up less space in clothes or bag. Therefore, a completely logical step on the part of ASUS was the creation of a modular device with a similar smaller screen.

    Passport data


    OS : Android 4.3 (Jelly bean)
    Available colors : black / white / pink
    Dimensions :
    Smartphone: 129 x 65 x 8.68 mm (Length x Width x Thickness)
    Dock: 199 x 119 x 17.7 mm (Length x Width x Thickness)
    Weight :
    Smartphone: 105 g
    Dock: 310 g
    Processor : Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 (MSM8226) 1.4 GHz
    RAM : 1 GB LPDDR2 RAM
    Data storage :
    16 GB
    5 GB ASUS Webstorage, free
    Memory expansion slot : Micro -SD (up to 64 GB)
    Wireless :
    WLAN 802.11 b / g / n
    Bluetooth V4.0
    Cellular networks (two SIM cards can be installed at the same time) :
    3G: UMTS 850/900/1900/2100
    2G: EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
    Navigation : GPS, GLONASS & AGPS
    Display :
    Smartphone: 4.3 inches, qHD 960x540 , S-IPS, multitouch
    Docking station: 7 inches, WXGA 1280x800, S-IPS, multitouch
    Battery :
    Smartphone: 1500 mAh, Li-Polymer
    Standby time: 114 h (2G / 3G)
    Talk time: 22 h (3G )
    Docking station: 2200 mAh, Li-Polymer
    Camera :
    Smartphone:
    Front: 2 MP, F2.4 aperture
    Primary: 8 MP, autofocus, flash, F2 aperture, five-element optical scheme
    Video playback :
    MPEG4
    H.264 AVC
    H.263
    Video recording :
    H264 AVC
    MJPEG
    MPEG-4 SP
    MPEG-4 ASP
    VP8
    H.263
    Connectors :
    Audio, 3.5 mm
    Micro SD (external devices can be connected via OTG)
    Sensors :
    Accelerometer
    Compass
    Distance sensor
    Light Sensor

    Information from the Antutu benchmark:


    Contents of delivery


    PadFone mini 4.3 comes in a small box with colorful printing. In addition to the charger and USB-micro USB cable, the kit includes simple earphones- “gags” and two pairs of interchangeable ear pads of different sizes.

    Appearance


    A black PadFone mini 4.3 version was presented for review. The front side of the smartphone and the docking station are made in the traditional minimalist style: the



    smartphone visually stands out only with a silver insert in the speaker area, and the docking station has the ASUS logo.

    The smartphone cases and docking stations are made of soft-touch plastic. At the docking station, it is slightly “softer” to the touch, while the smartphone is slightly smoother. Although the difference is very small and is at the level of speculation. At the same time, both devices are very comfortable in the hand, do not slip out. Both the smartphone and the docking station, the frames around the displays are asymmetrical.

    From the back of the dock, everything looks much more interesting, here we see a socket for a smartphone with streamlined, "aerodynamic" lines. Actually, this is true for the outlines of the cases of both devices.



    The smartphone socket has a wide silver border. To the right of the jack is the speaker grid.



    On the right side are a micro USB jack and plastic, in the color of the case, the power button and volume control. They have a much softer stroke than a smartphone.



    The upper and lower ends of the dock are not occupied with anything. The design of the smartphone jack is similar to PadFone Infinity:





    In PadFone Infinity, it was possible with a little effort to insert the smartphone incorrectly, with the screen facing out. Here, the developers took this flaw into account, and you can insert a smartphone backwards only with great effort, and it’s not until the end, which clearly hints at the erroneous actions of the user.



    On the rear side of the smartphone are a camera, flash, ASUS and PadFone logos:



    At the bottom there is a microphone and a connector for connecting to the docking station:



    On the right side, the power and volume buttons stand out beautifully. This arrangement of the power button, it seems to me, is much more convenient compared to the upper end.



    On the left side - inconspicuous micro USB connector. But it was not too conveniently positioned. Unfortunately, this is a necessary measure, since the bottom end is occupied by a connector for connecting to the docking station.



    Above is an audio jack:





    Remove the back cover of the smartphone. The battery is removable, next to it are slots for SIM-cards, and on the left side - a slot for a memory card.



    In terms of appearance, the difference with PadFone Infinity lies primarily in the abundance of plastic and a somewhat less “noble” design. There are no complaints about the build quality, everything is perfectly adjusted, it does not creak. The smartphone weighs very little, only 105 grams. In combination with a simple appearance and a plastic case, a feeling of some kind of frivolity is created. Due to the modest diagonal of the display and the small thickness of the smartphone, it will be most convenient to use it for those who have small or medium sized hands. If you have large brushes, then your smartphone may seem a bit small.

    A fully assembled device is already becoming quite weighty, 415 gr. I must say that in PadFone mini 4.3 there is a common completeness - both devices have the same shape, material, rounded corners and edges. In PadFone Infinity, the smartphone and the dock were still different in design devices, especially it was obvious when assembled. There is no dissonance here, the devices are ideally suited to each other not only in appearance, but also in mass.

    Display


    Both devices use displays with S-IPS matrices: 4.3 inches for a smartphone (960x540) and 7 inches for a dock (1280x800). Corning Glass with oleophobic coating.

    The color rendering of both devices is at a good level. The clarity is also good, but the smartphone is slightly higher due to the higher pixel density. The brightness margin is enough to work on a sunny day, but still after a while the eyes will begin to get tired. In general, the displays can be described as very good.

    Camera


    Despite 8 megapixels and an optical circuit of 5 elements, the camera takes pictures of satisfactory quality even with sufficient external lighting. However, at dusk it is better not to take pictures, the noise level becomes unacceptable.





    When the aspect ratio of the pictures can be 4: 3 and 16: 9 depending on the selected resolution. There is a fast shooting mode with a frequency of 20 frames / sec.

    Software


    The device is running Android 4.3. The graphical shell is traditional for smartphones and tablets ASUS. When installing and removing a smartphone, the running application automatically switches to another screen resolution. If such a switch is not provided for by the authors of the program, a message appears prompting you to close the program or restart.

    In docking mode, you can launch ASUS proprietary utilities that can work on top of any full-screen applications:





    Of the “standard” proprietary applications, you can mention SuperNote, which allows you to create notes and send them to the “cloud”, as well as recognizing handwritten input in real time.



    Wireless & Navigation


    Like most modern smartphones, PadFone mini 4.3 supports GPS and GLONASS positioning systems. However, the functionality in wireless communication has been reduced: neither LTE nor Wi-Fi 5 GHz is supported. But the device can work in the mode of an access point with the distribution of traffic via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.



    Work with two SIM-cards is organized very conveniently. Choosing the right “SIM card” when dialing a number or SMS is very simple: You





    can call even if the smartphone is installed in the docking station, it is equipped with a microphone and speaker. Moreover, the conversation will not be interrupted, even if you remove the smartphone. However, it will not be interrupted when you install the smartphone in the dock.

    At the same time, both SIM cards work only in 2G mode. In 3G, you have to choose which of the "sims" should be active.

    Performance


    The “heart” of the system (as you recall, the docking station does not have its own processor and memory) is the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 (MSM8226) operating at a frequency of 1.4 GHz. Adreno 305 is responsible for the graphics.









    All benchmarks were made in smartphone mode. In most cases, applications and games run on PadFone mini 4.3 without any brakes. Of course, it will not always be possible to painlessly set the maximum graphics settings, but overall the performance of the CPU and GPU is enough for 90% of everyday tasks and most entertainment.

    Duration of work


    The smartphone’s battery has a capacity of 1500 mAh; the docking station is equipped with its own 2200 mAh battery. When working with the dock, you can select the battery mode of both devices:

    Intelligent mode : when fully charged batteries, the smartphone battery is used first, until the charge drops to 75%. After that, the smartphone is fully charged from the dock, then a new cycle begins.
    Preferred Phone mode : only the dock is used up, and the smartphone is being recharged.
    Charge Mode: The dock is used exclusively for charging the smartphone, the screen does not turn on. You can turn it on for a few seconds by holding the power button. In this case, you can exit charging mode.

    Surfing the Internet via Wi-Fi, with periodic watching videos on Youtube and listening to background music, with an average screen brightness:

    • Smartphone — 7 hours 15 minutes
    • Docking station - 10 hours 20 minutes

    Watching FullHD movies (1920x1080):

    • Smartphone - 4 hours 20 minutes
    • Docking station —5 hours 55 minutes

    Conclusion
    Despite the fact that PadFone mini 4.3 is a budget model in the line, the performance is at a good level. There are no complaints about the build quality and materials.

    This kit can be recommended primarily for those who want to buy a modular device from the PadFone line, but for a number of reasons Infinity does not suit them: the price, screen size, and weight of the device do not suit them. PadFone mini 4.3 competes on equal footing with many 7-inch mini-tablets.

    Do not forget that ASUS still has no competitors in this niche. And the main advantage of PadFone mini 4.3 is the absence of the need to synchronize data between two devices. All information is stored on the smartphone, and you do not need to worry about any files remaining on the tablet, and you need to transfer or forward them to the smartphone, and vice versa. Combine this with dual SIM support. So this kit is a very interesting solution for a person whose activities are “tied” to the active business use of two such devices. It is for one person, and not for the family, because without a smartphone, you won’t be able to use the docking station.

    Recommended retail price: RUB 15,990

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