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.

Read the full CNET Review

Samsung Galaxy Note - carbon blue (AT&T)

The Bottom Line: With its huge screen and throwback stylus, the Samsung Galaxy Note is a polarizing smartphone that winks at tablet territory. Those who like their screens XL will find a top-notch device that lets multimedia shine. The S Pen adds some artistic potential, but for some, the phone will just simply be too big. / Read full review

About the author

Brian Bennett is senior editor for mobile phones at CNET and reviews a wide range of mobile communication products. These include smartphones and their myriad accessories. He has more than 12 years of experience in technology journalism and has put practically anything fun with a micro chip through its paces at some point.



Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

Hot on CNET

The Next Big Thing

Consoles go wide and far beyond gaming with power and realism.