Asus PadFone X mini Review

Asus PadFone X mini Review
Asus PadFone X mini Review
Asus PadFone X mini Review
Introduction


Asus loves getting its hands into everything. That’s not a bad thing, since variety in its products go a long way to giving consumers the power of choice. At the same time, though, it means that there are a whole lot of redundant, forgettable devices that attempt to win us over. Just this past recent summer, we were introduced to the Asus PadFone X – a high spec’d, versatile, dual functioning device that can go instantly from smartphone to tablet, and vice versa. Well, it seems that Asus just can’t resist giving us options, as the Asus PadFone X mini is a similar functioning device in a smaller package.

The package contains:

  • microUSB cable
  • Wall charger
  • 7-inch tablet body
  • Stereo headphones
  • User guide

Design

Conventional is one way of describing its overall looks, but it’s still pretty neat for its versatile, dual functioning design.

Neither the phone, nor the tablet sport a compelling design, which isn’t much of a shocker factoring in its inexpensive cost. The Asus PadFone X mini is a thick, plastic-bodied thing that doesn’t even attempt to be attractive. Despite the lack of attention, we certainly like that it’s compact in size to hold easily in one hand. On the surface, it looks closely similar to its beefier sibling in the PadFone X, but it’s obvious that it doesn’t receive as much love.

It’s not every day that a _phone_ can instantly turn into a tablet, and vice versa, so we really appreciate the PadFone X mini’s versatility in doing so. Just as before, all that’s required is to slide the _phone_ into the slot in the back of the 7-inch tablet. Essentially, it’s the phone that powers the tablet – though, technically, it’s the phone that gets charged in the process.

 

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Front view | Side view
Asus PadFone X mini
Asus PadFone X mini
5.2 x 2.61 x 0.5 inches
132.2 x 66.2 x 12.6 mm
5.26 oz (149 g)

Asus PadFone X mini

Kyocera Brigadier
Kyocera Brigadier
5.37 x 2.69 x 0.52 inches
136.4 x 68.3 x 13.2 mm
6.6 oz (187 g)

Kyocera Brigadier

Motorola Moto G (2014)
Motorola Moto G (2014)
5.57 x 2.78 x 0.43 inches
141.5 x 70.7 x 11 mm
5.26 oz (149 g)

Motorola Moto G (2014)

Nokia Lumia 630
Nokia Lumia 630
5.1 x 2.63 x 0.36 inches
129.5 x 66.7 x 9.2 mm
4.73 oz (134 g)

Nokia Lumia 630



Display

There’s just a laundry list of unpleasant qualities with the phone’s display, including the tablet’s screen.

Hardly the stuff that gets us drooling, the Asus PadFone X mini’s 4.5-inch 480 x 854 display doesn’t have any redeeming qualities to make it a pleasure to use. Instead, it’s just effective for the bare essentials – and nothing more! The laundry list of unpleasant qualities with the screen is an endless one, like its lack of sharpness, so-so 385 nit brightness, the panel’s colder looking tone, and its distorted look at various wide angles. In terms of color reproduction, it’s decent looking when viewed straight up, but it begins to wash out the wider we go. Unfortunately, those same qualities also translate over to the 7-inch 800 x 1280 display of the tablet – albeit, we find its resolution to be sufficient for practical usage on a tablet.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Kyocera Brigadier 610
(Excellent)
72
(Poor)
1:1200
(Good)
7047
(Good)
1.92
6.39
(Average)
5.51
(Average)
Nokia Lumia 630 398
(Average)
22
(Poor)
1:867
(Average)
7049
(Good)
2.1
3.01
(Good)
3.48
(Good)
Motorola Moto G (2014) 390
(Average)
15
(Poor)
1:908
(Average)
8290
(Poor)
2.39
5.32
(Average)
6.78
(Average)
Asus PadFone X mini 385
(Average)
12
(Average)
1:2215
(Excellent)
7222
(Good)
2.59
5.37
(Average)
4.9
(Average)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Kyocera Brigadier 74.1%
73.6%
63.7%
5.3%
3.1%
12.4%
75%
Motorola Moto G (2014) 86.4%
86.7%
77.1%
13.8%
0.8%
17.7%
18%
Nokia Lumia 630 89.4%
90.9%
88.4%
102.1%
15.2%
5%
190.8%
Asus PadFone X mini 89.9%
91.7%
82.5%
1.2%
5%
2.2%
33.5%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Asus PadFone X mini Review

Asus PadFone X mini Review
Asus PadFone X mini Review
Asus PadFone X mini Review
Introduction


Asus loves getting its hands into everything. That’s not a bad thing, since variety in its products go a long way to giving consumers the power of choice. At the same time, though, it means that there are a whole lot of redundant, forgettable devices that attempt to win us over. Just this past recent summer, we were introduced to the Asus PadFone X – a high spec’d, versatile, dual functioning device that can go instantly from smartphone to tablet, and vice versa. Well, it seems that Asus just can’t resist giving us options, as the Asus PadFone X mini is a similar functioning device in a smaller package.

The package contains:

  • microUSB cable
  • Wall charger
  • 7-inch tablet body
  • Stereo headphones
  • User guide

Design

Conventional is one way of describing its overall looks, but it’s still pretty neat for its versatile, dual functioning design.

Neither the phone, nor the tablet sport a compelling design, which isn’t much of a shocker factoring in its inexpensive cost. The Asus PadFone X mini is a thick, plastic-bodied thing that doesn’t even attempt to be attractive. Despite the lack of attention, we certainly like that it’s compact in size to hold easily in one hand. On the surface, it looks closely similar to its beefier sibling in the PadFone X, but it’s obvious that it doesn’t receive as much love.

It’s not every day that a phone can instantly turn into a tablet, and vice versa, so we really appreciate the PadFone X mini’s versatility in doing so. Just as before, all that’s required is to slide the phone into the slot in the back of the 7-inch tablet. Essentially, it’s the phone that powers the tablet – though, technically, it’s the phone that gets charged in the process.


Front view | Side view
Asus PadFone X mini
Asus PadFone X mini
5.2 x 2.61 x 0.5 inches
132.2 x 66.2 x 12.6 mm
5.26 oz (149 g)

Asus PadFone X mini

Kyocera Brigadier
Kyocera Brigadier
5.37 x 2.69 x 0.52 inches
136.4 x 68.3 x 13.2 mm
6.6 oz (187 g)

Kyocera Brigadier

Motorola Moto G (2014)
Motorola Moto G (2014)
5.57 x 2.78 x 0.43 inches
141.5 x 70.7 x 11 mm
5.26 oz (149 g)

Motorola Moto G (2014)

Nokia Lumia 630
Nokia Lumia 630
5.1 x 2.63 x 0.36 inches
129.5 x 66.7 x 9.2 mm
4.73 oz (134 g)

Nokia Lumia 630



Display

There’s just a laundry list of unpleasant qualities with the phone’s display, including the tablet’s screen.

Hardly the stuff that gets us drooling, the Asus PadFone X mini’s 4.5-inch 480 x 854 display doesn’t have any redeeming qualities to make it a pleasure to use. Instead, it’s just effective for the bare essentials – and nothing more! The laundry list of unpleasant qualities with the screen is an endless one, like its lack of sharpness, so-so 385 nit brightness, the panel’s colder looking tone, and its distorted look at various wide angles. In terms of color reproduction, it’s decent looking when viewed straight up, but it begins to wash out the wider we go. Unfortunately, those same qualities also translate over to the 7-inch 800 x 1280 display of the tablet – albeit, we find its resolution to be sufficient for practical usage on a tablet.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Kyocera Brigadier 610
(Excellent)
72
(Poor)
1:1200
(Good)
7047
(Good)
1.92
6.39
(Average)
5.51
(Average)
Nokia Lumia 630 398
(Average)
22
(Poor)
1:867
(Average)
7049
(Good)
2.1
3.01
(Good)
3.48
(Good)
Motorola Moto G (2014) 390
(Average)
15
(Poor)
1:908
(Average)
8290
(Poor)
2.39
5.32
(Average)
6.78
(Average)
Asus PadFone X mini 385
(Average)
12
(Average)
1:2215
(Excellent)
7222
(Good)
2.59
5.37
(Average)
4.9
(Average)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Kyocera Brigadier 74.1%
73.6%
63.7%
5.3%
3.1%
12.4%
75%
Motorola Moto G (2014) 86.4%
86.7%
77.1%
13.8%
0.8%
17.7%
18%
Nokia Lumia 630 89.4%
90.9%
88.4%
102.1%
15.2%
5%
190.8%
Asus PadFone X mini 89.9%
91.7%
82.5%
1.2%
5%
2.2%
33.5%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Interface and Functionality

Dynamic display mode works in fitting and resizing most apps appropriately for tablet, but it can be finicky.

The Asus PadFone X mini is running Asus’ updated ZenUI experience on top of Android 4.4.2 KitKat, which is the same thing we’ve already been exposed to with the PadFone X. Indeed, it’s a step in the correct direction, in comparison to the devoid tone of its prior customized Android experience. Visually, it employs bright and bold color tones to liven up the interface – without being too aggressive with redundant features.

Once the phone is inserted into the tablet, the PadFone X mini automatically goes into this dynamic display mode – where the technology allows apps on the phone to scale and fit properly on the tablet. Generally speaking, it works the majority of the time, but when a specific app isn’t supported by the technology, we’re told via an on-screen message. Now, it’s pretty cool going from phone to tablet in one quick swoop, but it’s a little strange when the Google Play Store is unsure of what device it is – whether it’s a tablet or phone. For example, we’re unable to download the regular Amazon app because of this issue.

As the dust settles, there’s no denying the kind of versatility we’re able to experience with the PadFone X mini. Throw in the 7-inch tablet experience, it works decently for the basic things – like reading books and surfing the web. Our biggest concern, however, is how quickly Asus will get it updated to Lollipop. Considering that this isn’t necessarily classified as a flagship, it might be a long while before it happens. Or maybe never?

Processor and Memory

It’s Intel inside with this one, which does reasonably with its performance.

Rarely seen in today’s phones, it’s a win for chip maker Intel because the PadFone X mini is powered by a dual-core 1.6GHz Intel AtomZ2560 processor with 1GB of RAM. As expected, it handles all sorts of superficial tasks with ease – though, it’s not without its moments when delays pop up every now and then. Testing out its might with gaming, we can certainly attest its performance is effective enough to make the experience enjoyable to say the least.

For the price and all, we can’t knock its 8GB of internal storage – that’s because it can be supplemented thanks to its microSD card slot.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
Asus PadFone X mini 22354
Motorola Moto G (2014) 18249
Kyocera Brigadier 18032
Nokia Lumia 630 11282.6
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
Asus PadFone X mini 768
Motorola Moto G (2014) 608
Kyocera Brigadier 764
Vellamo Browser
Higher is better
Asus PadFone X mini 1714
Motorola Moto G (2014) 1605
Kyocera Brigadier 1802
Sunspider
Lower is better
Asus PadFone X mini 1234.4
Motorola Moto G (2014) 1470.6
Kyocera Brigadier 1473.4
Nokia Lumia 630 1464.8
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Asus PadFone X mini 20.2
Motorola Moto G (2014) 10.7
Kyocera Brigadier 10.7
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Asus PadFone X mini 411
Motorola Moto G (2014) 523
Kyocera Brigadier 480
View all

Internet and Connectivity


Neither screen is really compelling, but at least the tablet’s 7-inch screen makes it more ideal for the web surfing experience. Quite simply, the phone’s screen lacks that detailed and sharp look to make pages visible in their entirety. Despite that, there are several pleasant qualities with the experience – like its fast 4G LTE speeds and its smooth navigational controls.

At home, in the office, or on the beach in another country, the Asus PadFone X mini is bound to find a connection somehow – with LTE connectivity in tow. Besides that, it features the usual crew of connectivity features, like aGPS with Glonass, Bluetooth 4.0, and 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi. Strangely, though, it lacks built-in NFC.



Camera

Our eyes writhe in pain just looking at the results from its 5-megapixel camera. It’s scary.

Even though the ZenUI isn’t big on secondary software features, the camera app is rich in manual controls and shooting modes – ensuring shutterbugs they have complete control in capturing shots. Some of the modes in particular, like miniature and depth of field, offer cool tricks that we find refreshing for the experience.

Outfitted with a 5-megapixel camera, it may not seem particularly impressive on paper, but pure resolution should hardly be the concern with this camera. To be more specific, there are just too many unremarkable qualities with the camera – like its finicky focus that cause shots to appear blurred, light details, over-exposed composition, and inaccurate colors. It gets worse under low light, as digital noise creeps up and becomes a nasty figure in the shot.


Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Kyocera Brigadier 3.9
4.8
501
465
Motorola Moto G (2014) 4
6.4
435
348
Asus PadFone X mini 5.5
6
457
300
Nokia Lumia 630 6.5
No data
449
No data
View all

Ouch! Don’t even bother trying to record 1080p video with the Asus PadFone X mini, you’ll be spared from its abysmal quality. Normally, 1080p videos have a fair amount of detail, but with this, it’s nowhere in sight. In fact, details are pretty much non-existent – to the point that its production has a very distinct, muddy appearance. And finally, audio recording is extremely distorted sounding.


Multimedia

Its speaker is definitely loud, but on the sharp and unpleasant side.

Launching the ZenUI music player, it’s pretty noticeably in an instance that it’s generic with its presentation and functionality. Dispersing audio through its rear speaker, it somehow magically pounds out 78.4 dB of audio power – an impressive mark no doubt, but there’s a distinct sharp tone that accompanies the quality. It actually diminishes its quality, which doesn’t help either when its output is already on the thin side.

You CAN watch videos on the PadFone X, but the question is more like why would you want to do that, especially when the experience is better over on the tablet? Specifically, the larger size and stronger vibrancy of the tablet’s display makes it the choice for watching movies.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Nokia Lumia 630 0.58
Asus PadFone X mini 0.58
Motorola Moto G (2014) 0.41
Kyocera Brigadier 0.39
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Nokia Lumia 630 74
Asus PadFone X mini 78.4
Motorola Moto G (2014) 74.2
Kyocera Brigadier 78
View all


Asus PadFone X mini Review
Call Quality

We’re constantly asking callers to repeat themselves because of the poor quality from its earpiece

Don’t hold your breath for anything better with the phone’s call quality performance, seeing that it’s also on the unflattering side. Through the earpiece, voices exhibit a muffled tone – while subtle static noise can be heard in the background. Luckily, our callers fair better on their end, as they’re treated to voices that have a deep tone to them.

Asus PadFone X mini Review
Battery

Even though its battery life is a bit short, we find it useful that the tablet is able to supplement its capacity.

Alas, we finally come to the near end in this review. Sadly, though, there’s nothing generous about the phone’s removable 2060 mAh battery. Indeed, it powers us through a full day of normal usage, with a little bit of gas left in the tank, but it struggles to get there. It’s made plainly evident by our battery benchmark test, where it achieves a weak mark of 5 hours. Its saving grace, however, is the fact that the tablet provides us with some extra juice for the long haul.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
Kyocera Brigadier 8h 40 min (Excellent)
Motorola Moto G (2014) 6h 17 min (Average)
Asus PadFone X mini 5h 1 min (Poor)
Charging time (minutes)
Lower is better
Kyocera Brigadier 259
Motorola Moto G (2014) 151
Asus PadFone X mini 145
View all

Conclusion


Everything points to the obvious, undeniable reality that the Asus PadFone X isn’t the stuff in our dreams. Its design is boring, the display isn’t sharp, the camera delivers nightmarish results, and its battery life is nowhere close to the top of the leader boards. Sure, there’s a laundry list of unpleasant qualities with the PadFone X mini, but we can’t argue one bit about its pricing – $199 outright as a prepaid option through AT&T.

That’s pretty outstanding when you consider that you’re getting a dual-functioning device that can go from a smartphone to a tablet on a whim. Comparing it to what else is out there, the price alone is the same cost as some other standalone 7-inch tablets – so it’s an inviting incentive that we find valuable. Honestly, we can recommend a handful of better smartphones and tablets that are similarly spec’d and priced, but it all boils down if you want to consolidate and simply stick with an underperforming thing that’s only good for the basic stuff.

Software version of the review unit:
Android Version: 4.4.2
Build Number: ATT_11.30.15.8
Kernel Version: 3.10.20