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Asus PadFone Hybrid Tablet/Smartphone will Transform Your Android Requirements

Written by HeavenlyAndroid   
Thursday, 08 March 2012 06:00

Asus Padfone caused quite a sensation at Mobile World Congress 2012, and for good reason. Most Android fans will already be aware that Asus are the 'Oscar' winners where transforming is concerned. They've already brought Asus Eee Pad Transformer, Asus Eee Pad Slider and Asus Transformer Prime to consumers, two Android tablets that morph into netbooks by either docking onto a keyboard (Eee Pad Transformer), or by sliding out an integral keyboard (Eee Pad Slider), much like many smartphones. Asus PadFone, however, takes transforming to a whole new level.

Asus's hybrid tablet/smartphone is an Android phone, that once nestled inside a tablet shell becomes an Android tablet that you can dock with an optional keyboard to become a netbook. In principal Asus PadFone is all that any Android enthusiast should ever need, a money saving concept that Asus have been concocting for quite a while, and first announced in 2011 at the Computex Taipei show in technology hotspot Taiwan.

Will this unique Android solution deliver a satisfactory user experience however, or have Asus overlooked certain aspects? This depends entirely, of course, on what your individual needs and expectations are. Did Asus manage to rain on the likes of HTC/Samsung/Motorola's parade at MWC 2012 with Asus PadFone or have they set themselves up for a fall?

Asus PadFone, Android phone/tablet.

Asus PadFone

Asus PadFone has a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, neither bad nor particularly outstanding, but rather mediocre amid 2012's explosion of quad-core Android devices. Even so, it's respectable and will ensure speed and smooth browsing. A Li-Ion 1520 mAh battery promises up to 8 hours 30 minutes of usage before requiring a pitstop, which is nice after seeing so many handsets that run out of fuel after 4 hours or less. An ample 8 MP camera sits on the rear of Asus PadFone, and should suffice most photoholics, whilst a simple VGA front facing snapper is a little disappointing. Video can be recorded in 1080p HD.

Android's latest operating system, 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) will be in situ upon release, though the next upgrade to Android 5.0 (Jellybean) will be only weeks away by then. Still, this is a plus, as there are far too many Android phones being released with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) even now, or languishing with outdated OS's as they wait for an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich that it seems may never happen.

 A 4.3 inch super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen adds a nice touch to a pleasing package, until that is, resolution is considered. 540 x 960 pixels is ungenerous on a 4.3 inch screen and better suited to displays smaller than 4 inches. This is the main area where Asus PadFone falls down, as one of the mind blowing aspects we see on today's smartphones is an impressive high resolution HD screen. The brighter, sharper, and more clear the display, the better. Resolution can never be too high, so to downgrade in this area is a poor decision, and is sure to turn off a section of potential consumers. Although, reports claim that it still offers bright and vivid viewing.

FonePad inside FonePad tablet.

Asus PadFone Station / Station Dock

Asus PadFone, once plugged into its respective compartment on the back of the tablet shell, becomes a 10.1 inch Android tablet with a TFT WXGA capacitive touchscreen, and a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, which is equal to that of Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Contrary to phone only mode, which has a slightly low resolution, 1280 x 800 is more than acceptable on a 10.1 inch tablet. The screen is scratch resistant due to the addition of Corning Gorilla Glass and has a HCLR film.

Asus PadFone Station has a built-in 6600 mAh battery that gives you 5 times more battery capacity. All other specs such as memory and CPU remain pretty much the same, apart from the front facing camera that is VGA on the phone and 1.3 MP once docked with the station, as it's the phones processor that powers this almost empty tablet shell. There is cut outs in the tablet shell that allow full usage of the smartphones rear camera too. The weight of PadFone Station (tablet), complete with PadFone is 724 grams.

To then have a third option to dock onto a keyboard, bought separately, is fantastical. Once docked onto Asus PadFone Station Dock battery power is accelerated to 9 times more than when using the smartphone alone. If Asus PadFone is anything like its predecessors, the fit between tablet and docking keyboard will be very snug and sturdy too.

Save from the disappointing resolution on PadFone when used as a smartphone, Asus PadFone as a whole seems to be a clear winner in 2012, and once docked with either the tablet or keyboard, really shines.

Another optional extra that is a bluetooth headset that doubles as a stylus. How is that for multi-tasking?

 

Asus PadFone can also be docked to a keyboard.

UK Release Date and Price

Asus PadFone is set to be released in Taiwan initially, with release elsewhere expected in late Q2 2012. There is no indication of price at the moment but it will be interesting to see. Once details of official UK price and release date are available we will let you know.

Take a look at the official Asus PadFone promotional video below:

Note: Specifications below relate to PadFone when used as a smartphone. Specs when docked with either the tablet or keyboard differ slightly and are listed above.

Specifications

  Asus PadFone
Weight 129 grams
Height 128 mm
Width 65.4 mm
Depth 9.2 mm
Display 4.3 inch qHD super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, Corning Gorilla Glass
Resolution 540 x 960 pixels
CPU 1.5 GHz dual-core Scorpion processor, Qualcomm Snapdragon
GPU Adreno 225
Platform Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
Memory 16/32 GB storage, 1 GB RAM (microSD up to 32 GB)
Camera 8 MP, autofocus, LED flash
Secondary Camera VGA
Video Yes
Connections GPRS, EDGE, WLAN, Bluetooth, microUSB
Battery Li-Ion 1520 mAh
Talktime Up to 10 hrs 40 min (2G) / Up to 8 hrs 30 min (3G)
Standby Up to 373 hrs (2G) / Up to 440 hrs (3G)
Last Updated ( Monday, 12 March 2012 09:10 )
 

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