BARCELONA: The Padfone may sound like a bit of a silly name, but Asus could be onto another winning hybrid concept. Granted the concept of combining a smartphone and a tablet is a little "out there", but stranger things have caught on.
When the smartphone and tablet are joined together you get the appearance of a regular Android Ice Cream Sandwich tablet. The device is reasonably comfortable to hold, but at 724g weight it's not the lightest.
This can be forgiven though as there are two batteries - a 1520mAh Li-ion in the handset and a 24.4Whr pack in the 10.1in chassis. Plus the large screen of the tablet suggests that the device isn't exactly made for pockets.
As with all the latest Asus tablets, the design is very impressive and the Padfone oozes premium quality. The display looks the business, and the 10.1in screen has a 1280x800 resolution, which isn't quite as crisp as we would have liked but impressive nonetheless.
Most people would probably just mistake the Padfone for a regular 10.1in device until you pop open the top and pull out the smartphone to answer an incoming call.
The handset itself looks like a cross between the Samsung Galaxy S II and the Galaxy Nexus, which is no bad thing. The handset weighs in at 129g, making it reasonably lightweight. On the back of both the smartphone and tablet is the familiar metallic concentric circle design that has become a trademark for Asus devices.
From what we have seen so far the performance looks to be strong too. Asus has gone with the Qualcomm 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and 1GB of RAM. The transition between the devices when connected and disconnected is extremely quick as they share the same memory pool.
Additionally, you can also buy a Transformer Prime-like keyboard dock and convert the Padfone into a netbook. Asus claims that this three-in-one device has a battery capacity that is nine-times better than most netbooks.
Added to this, there will be a stylus that doubles as a headset and it could well prove very popular with business users.
The only potential stumbling block could be the pricing, with Asus yet to announce how much the Padfone will retail for but with two devices and a possible keyboard dock, it may not be cheap.
However, with shipments set to start in April, we should discover pricing soon enough.
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