Finally we got the opportunity to actually touch the Padfone; you know that “smartphone turned tablet” device, which according to Asus will eliminate the need to sync data with yet another device (tablet).
Asus is one of today’s best hardware makers; their tablets and computers (especially ultrabooks) are top notch, boasting pretty much the same amount of aluminum as Apple products. Speaking of which [Apple], the Taiwanese company is often accused of copying design from Cupertino (Asus’ ultrabooks are similar to the MacBook Air). That isn’t the case with the Padfone. It’s a whole new beast, an original product that blurs the line between smartphones and tablets, and as such, it can help bring tablets to the masses. Not everyone needs or wants to spend additional cash on a tablet, but if benefits of the tablet would be offered as a simple add-on to the phone – they may be interested. Padfone delivers on that promise, big time.
The phone itself feels solid, fits nicely in the hand, and is, size wise, comparable with my Samsung Galaxy S II (as you will be able to see from the gallery below). It has a plastic back with Asus’ trademark concentric circle design, which is used on the Transformer Pad Prime and Zenbook products. There’s also an 8-megapixel camera on the back with auto-focus and LED flash. VGA camera is on the front, above the 4.3-inch qHD screen.
Inside, Asus put Qualcomm’s 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 1GB of RAM, up to 64GB of built-in storage (depending on the model), 3G/4G and Wi-Fi radios, an array of sensors, and a 1520mAh battery.
The phone easily fits the tablet shell, which is a bit bulky on the back where the phone fits. It [tablet shell] also extends the battery life (up to 5 times), while expanding the screen to 1280×800 pixels resolution. Moreover, when used in a tablet mode, users also get a slightly better 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera.
The keyboard dock is a God send for the Padfone. It looks like all other Transformer Pad docks, and also features its own battery. This in turn adds additional juice to the battery (up to 9 times).
Finally, the Bluetooth-enabled Padfone Stylus Headset. It’s an awesome piece of technology though we can’t help but criticize Asus for not including some placeholder in the tablet shell. They will offer a sleeve with special place for the stylus, but I’m not sure that counts as much. It’s made out of metal, and has only few buttons, presumingly (we weren’t able to try it out) for increasing/decreasing volume and picking up/ending the call.
And now the gallery. Don’t hesitate to tell us your thoughts…