The ASUS Padfone Is as Confused as Its Name Suggests

Illustration for article titled The ASUS Padfone Is as Confused as Its Name Suggests

There were rumors last year about ASUS releasing a strange, form-changing phone-cum-tablet. Those rumors are now reality; say hello to the Padfone, the latest in a rash of schizophrenic mobile handsets.

So, uh, it's basically a smartphone that docks inside, and powers, a tablet. Let's take things in turn.


First off, the phone itself has a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED qHD display, Snapdragon's new dual-core S4 chip, an Adreno 225 GPU, Ice Cream Sandwich and an 8-megapixel rear camera with an LED flash and f/2.2, autofocusing lens. It doesn't work with LTE, sadly, but elsewhere it has 16-64GB of storage and HDMI out. So far, so good.

Then, the odd bit. This thing slips neatly into an optional screen unit that effectively allows you to use it as if it were a 10.1-inch tablet. With that obviously comes a jump in battery life, and the option of using an—again optional—full-size keyboard. Oh, or a stylus. Which doubles as a headset. I know, I know: too much. Either this is the future, or ASUS has gone a step too far.

It's scheduled to ship in April, and will probably make some indecisive people very, very happy. [Engadget]

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I think this is the future. As the novelty of fast touch-friendly rectangles fades to the point where people don't feel the NEED to buy a new one every 6 to 9 months, all-in-one modular units should make more sense to a consumer. If the keyboard dock is like the Transformer it would be great. But the big downfall of this specific design (and one that would make it a non-option for me) is the size of the phone. I think the large screen tablet viewing option should help ease the need for such an enormous screen on the phone. If the phone was below 3.5 inches (something like the Nokia 700 or even smaller) it would be a much more attractive buy. I'm most concerned that it will be a poor seller the first time around and Asus will stop development of the line. I hope that's not the case.