There are a few reasons why I’m particularly excited about this comparison, first of, I don’t have giant man mittens and I like to do everything with one hand. So there is something to be said about a handset that doesn’t hasn’t sacrificed power just because it doesn’t have the ‘premium’ display size.
Let’s start off with design, the One S and Padfone both have 4.3 inch displays with a surrounding form factor that is very similar, the One S is a little thinner at 7.8mm and the Padfone measures in at 9.2, for these few extra millimeters the Padfone weighs in at 129 grams and the One S at 119.5.
Design wise there is something to be said about both devices, The One S features a slightly curved profile and the bodywork has what HTC calls a ‘piano key finish’ with an interesting matte texture and feel to it. The handset is light but solid and well-crafted – this is not a flimsy piece of hardware by any means.
Shape-wise it bears some resemblance to the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S2, but features a contoured and tapered edge along the bottom which gives it a slightly different look. The bezel on either side of the screen is suitably thin and the the back panel is quite minimalist and has a slightly grainy texture in what appears to be brushed aluminium.
My one complaint which will make the Padfone looks the battle of beauty, is that ASUS has slapped it’s Logo on both the front and the back, the logo on the front could have easily been used for capacitive buttons to increase screen real estate.
The HTC One S has 16GB of internal storage and 1GB of RAM. Where the Padfone pulls ahead was there is no SD Micro card so you can’t expand storage space further. HTC has thrown in 25GB of free Dropbox cloud storage which you’ll need an active internet connection to take advantage of.
The Padfone comes in either 16GB or 32GB flavours, with 1GB of RAM and a microSD slot which gives you the option to top it off with 32GB. Hands down the Padfone wins this round.
The screen technology on these two handsets is virtually identical, each has a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED capacitive multi-touch display with a 960×540 pixel resolution and a pixel density of 256 pixels-per-inch.
The Padfone however, has an outdoor feature which bumps up the brightness just a tad more to help with direct sunlight. This feature pulls the Padfone ahead in what is a stale mate.
They are both running the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 running at 1.5Ghz with an Adreno 225 GPU.
Operating System however is a different story even though they’re both running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The Padfone offers an essentially Vanilla Android experience with a few very welcome modifications like a Padfone Tablet App section and some customized widgets. The One S is running Sense 4.0 which is far from stock Android, even though Sense 4.0 isn’t as intrusive as HTC’s previous offerings and it is better optimised so as not to affect system performance it isn’t for me. I prefer stock Android, having said that some people love Sense, but I’m assuming those people probably weren’t loved by their mothers.
The Padfone has an 8-megapixel primary camera with a 3264×2448 pixel resolution, autofocus, LED flash, geo-tagging and digital zoom. There’s also a VGA secondary capable of video calling.
HTC has delivered a far more comprehensive setup in the One S with an 8-megapixel back-illuminated sensor (BSI) with the same resolution as the Padfone. However, the One S features has a dedicated a chip especially for the camera and Sense is there to back it up, one of the things this brings is a 20-picture multi-shot for as long as you hold the shutter down and then phone will tell you which is the best shot. You’ll also be able to take still photos while you’re taking 1080p video.
Other features include LED flash, autofocus, geo-tagging, face and smile detection, white balance, ISO control, HDR mode and effects. Video recording features stabilisation and stereo sound recording, plus there’s a VGA secondary camera on the front for video calling.
The Padfone has noisy and slightly yellow photos.
Mano e Mano the Padfone and the One S are a fair fight, but like the Camera App the Padfone pulls ahead in productivity in a way the One S can’t even compete. With its tablet and keyboard dock the Padfone turns into a surfing power house and an document creating, emailing replying machine. So if you’re looking for a complete package of a device turns into a 10 inch tablet or cusps on to being a netbook then the Padfone is for you.
The video really does show off the differences between the two handsets, so be sure to watch that if you’re keen to see the difference and not just read about it.