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Asus PadFone Infinity adds Snapdragon 800, from £500

Asus has pimped its peculiar PadFone Infinity -- the phone that plugs into a tablet -- with a serious upgrade to the heavyweight 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 chip.

Asus has pimped its peculiar PadFone Infinity -- the phone that plugs into a tablet -- with a serious upgrade to Qualcomm's heavyweight 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 chip.

The new model Infinity has a 5-inch screen, but you can plug it into the 10-inch PadFone Station to make it one of the most powerful tablets around. Just with a weird mutant-like growth on the back.

The Snapdragon 800 is a terrifyingly fast new processor we're just beginning to see in phones here in the UK -- the spectacularly powerful Sony Xperia Z1 sports one, for example. It's backed up by 2GB of RAM -- less than the 3GB of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which also packs an 800.

Asus has confirmed its new hybrid is coming to Europe, but couldn't give me a definite UK launch. The Infinity starts at €599 (around £500) for the 16GB model, or €699 (£585) for the 32GB version. Both have expandable memory with a microSD card slot, which the previous Infinity didn't have, so there's less need for the more spacious version.

Adding the Station dock screen will add another €200 (£170) to the price of each, and it seems you can only buy it in a bundle, rather than as a post-purchase extra. It's been improved too, with its new Full HD screen a significant improvement on the PadFone 2's effort. That's the only spec the Station has, because it can't do anything on its own, it's just a dumb screen. You slot the phone part of the PadFone into the back, like so:

The phone has a new camera system Asus is particularly proud of, which it calls PixelMaster. Asus claims it increases the size of individual pixels in low light, reducing the 13-megapixel maximum resolution but capturing more light in each individual dot. Whether it really works is something we'll look forward to testing in our full review.

The camera can record 1080p Full HD video at 30fps, and 720p HD video at 60fps for smoother movement or slo-mo -- and can take 12 full-res pictures per second to help you get the best shot.

Asus hasn't said when we can expect the PadFone Infinity here in the UK or elsewhere in Europe, but we'll keep you up to date when networks and retailers begin to put it on pre-order.

Are you impressed? Does having the same base unit make switching from tablet to phone much easier or would you rather have two different gadgets? For £670-odd, you can easily bag a decent phone and a great tablet. Plug in your thoughts on Facebook or down in the comments.