Announced back in 2011 during the Consumer Electronics Show, the Asus Padfone is a one-of-its-kind Android device. It’s a 4.3-inch ICS smartphone that transforms into a 10.1-ich tablet, then turning into an Android netboook. It’s a unique configuration and the only one we’ve ever seen and used.
During our recent trip to Taipei for the Computex 2012, the event gave us the chance to actually buy a unit to review. Acquiring the entire system can be a bit costly and could set you back roughly P43,000 for all three.
Let’s break down the whole Padfone into each individual components:
The Padfone is a 4.3-inch smartphone running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It has a nice and bright AMOLED display, slim metallic body that somewhat tapers toward the bottom end, with a very solid build and simple, yet elegant design.
The handset is powered by a dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor running at 1.5GHz. Based on previous benchmarks, it’s actually the fastest and most efficient dual-core processor in the market right now. In some tests, it can even outperform a quad-core Tegra 3 processor.
Here’s the full detail of the configuration of the smartphone.
4.3″ Super AMOLED display @ 540×960 pixels
Qualcomm MSM 8960 Snapdragon S4 Krait 1.5GHz dual-core
Adreno 225 GPU
16GB, 32GB and 64GB internal storage
up to 32GB via microSD
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
8MP autofocus camera
GPS w/ aGPS support
1520mAh Li-Ion battery
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
In the last couple of weeks using the handset, we’re pretty impressed with its simple yet snappy UI, responsiveness, and over-all performance. The AMOLED screen is gorgeous, bright and looks crisp at a 960×540-pixel resolution.
The Padfone Station
The shell tablet is paired with the handset via a hidden cradle at the back panel. There’s a latch on top that opens the cradle. You slide in the Padfone sideways, with the side where the ports for the micro-USB and micro-HDMI facing down. These two ports are the ones connecting the Padfone to the tablet.
The tablet will only work when the Padfone is plugged in. Whatever state the handset is, it will project the contents of the phone to the tablet once they are put together (takes about 3 seconds to sync).
The tablet is a bit thick, though, still under 14mm. This is because it has to fit the 9.2mm phone inside (not bad for the 4mm discrepancy). The 10.1-inch display is just a regular LCD with a decent resolution of 1280×800 pixels, protected by Gorilla Glass.
The Docking Station
The last piece of the system is a typical keyboard that looks much like the ones used with netbooks. The docking station provides two essential features – a physical keyboard for better productivity and an additional battery built into it to give extra juice to the tablet.
The nice thing about this set up is that the docking station charges the tablet when attached to it and in turn, the tablet also charges the Padfone. This gives you the longest battery life possible for the Padfone when all the components are all charged up.
Then, there’s this icing on the cake – a Bluetooth stylus. It might look like a regular stylus but there’s actually a built-in Bluetooth receiver and a microphone in there. The stylus pairs with the Padfone so you can make and receive phone calls. That way, you don’t need to take the handset out of the tablet each time you need to use the phone.
The whole set up looks pretty impressive and functional. The size and weight of the tablet and dock are still bulky, reminiscent of the first-generation tablet from Asus, which they aptly called the Transformer. It’s a great concept and could be really functional to some people who carry a number of mobile devices all the time.