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Phones

Asus PadFone mini shrinks phone and pad, stays quad-core

The PadFone mini 4.3 is two gadgets in one: a 4.3-inch phone and a 7-inch screen dock that becomes a tablet when you slot the mobile in the back.

Asus has put its bonkers PadFone gadget in the wash and both its fone phone and pad tablet have come out much smaller -- but crucially haven't lost any power.

The PadFone mini 4.3, like its big bro the PadFone 2, is two gadgets in one: a 4.3-inch phone and a 7-inch screen dock that becomes a tablet when you slot the mobile in the back.

Neither device is the most staggeringly powerful thing you've ever seen, but it's no weaker than the 4.7-inch version. The mini phone has a 1.4GHz quad-core chip, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, with a microSD card slot for more space. Its screen is a mediocre 960x540 pixels, giving you a 256 dot-per-inch density that's nothing to write home about.

The tablet has no processor -- that's why you have to plug in the blower -- just a 1,280x800-pixel screen that pales in comparison with the Full HD and better displays on the new Nexus 7 and retina iPad mini.

It does have a 2,200mAh battery to augment the phone's 1,500mAh cell, however, meaning jamming the phone into the pad will top it up and extend its working day.

Here's Asus' promotional video, which features some of the very worst music I've ever heard:

The PadFone mini goes on sale in Taiwan, Singapore, China and other nearby countries soon, with a US launch next year, Engadget reports. It'll cost punters in Taiwan NT$11,990, which works out to £300 when you convert and add VAT -- a pretty sharp deal if you look at it like two products.

Nevertheless, you could get a 16GB Nexus 7 and an 8GB Moto G for only a few quid more, and use them at the same time. That may be why Asus is stalling on a UK release.

"The UK market requires extensive testing to be undertaken by the network operators, in order for us to offer a device that has been suitably approved for use on the mobile networks," an Asus spokesperson told me. "This is to ensure that UK consumers enjoy the best user experience possible. We therefore envisage that the PadFone mini will launch in the UK sometime in the first half of next year. Detailed specifications and pricing for the UK will be announced closer to the UK launch next year."

If the UK networks get on board and decide to flog it, we'll let you know. In the meantime, would you shell out for a dual device like this? Plug your reaction into the comments, or slot into our multi-function Facebook page.