Asus unveils wacky PadFone 2 hybrid device

The PadFone 2 follows up the first Asus tablet/phone combo. The gadget's real trick is its ability to slip in and out of a tablet-style docking station.

Asus PadFone 2
The Asus PadFone 2 shifts from phone to tablet. Asus

If you thought the Galaxy Note 2 pushes design boundaries, take a gander at the new PadFone 2 from Asus. A thinner version of the first PadFone, this device also morphs from tablet and smartphone on the fly.

Now chances are the Asus PadFone 2 will never hit American shores since the original PadFone didn't either. Perhaps that's why Asus, longtime laptop builder and maker of Google's hot little Nexus 7 tablet, decided to unveil the PadFone 2 in Milan. Of course, it could also have selected the fashionable location as a savvy PR move to emphasize the device's futuristic design.

Indeed, as CNET Asia's Aloysius Low reports, the PadFone 2 will launch first in Taiwan this week ranging in price from $616, (16GB) up to $750(64GB). It will then arrive in Singapore this November.

What makes the PadFone 2 so wild though isn't the Android smartphone's 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 4.7-inch (1280x720) HD IPS LCD display, or even 13-megapixel camera. Its real trick is the gadget's capability to slip in and out of a tablet-style docking station. Weighing a mere 649 grams (1.4 pounds), the station still manages to sport a big 10.1-inch screen and massive 5,000 mAh battery. One bummer: the tablet dock costs extra, $307.

The PadFone 2 enjoyed a splashy launch. Reuben Lee/CNET Asia

This sounds all well and good, but I personally feel that a 10-inch tablet display makes reading tough on hands, wrists, and fellow mass-transit commuters. I also have a fear, perhaps unwarranted, that the phone will slip out of the dock accidentally and crash to the cold, hard, floor. Using a case might ease my misgivings but it better have a way to remote the phone from its dock easily.

Still interested in the Asus PadFone 2 despite my cold feet? Examine it close up and personally to judge for yourself.

About the author

Brian Bennett is senior editor for appliances at CNET and reviews a wide range of household and smart-home products. These include everything from microwave ovens, blenders, ranges and coffee makers to personal weather stations. An NYC native, Brian now resides in bucolic Louisville, Kentucky where he dreams of someday owning the sparkling house of the future.

 

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