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Asus PadFone reviewed: a cool concept, but too bulky

CNET Asia have got their hands on the curious hybrid Asus PadFone and given it a thorough review.

Now playing: Watch this: Asus PadFone hands-on

Are you in the awkward position of needing both a phone and a tablet, but you can't face wandering around with the comically large Samsung Galaxy Note strapped to your face? Asus may have the perfect gadget for you.

The PadFone is a 4.3-inch phone that sits inside the body of a tablet, giving you the freedom of a 10-inch screen when you're in need of a more substantial surface area to poke and prod.

It's an intriguing device, and unlike many kooky hybrid concepts that turn up at tech shows around the world, the PadFone has actually made it to market. My lucky colleagues over at CNET Asia have got their hands on this curious gadget and given it a thorough review.

Sleek and solidly built, the PadFone is pleasing to the eye, and also to the hand due to its grippy, textured back. The front of the phone is clad entirely in Gorilla Glass, and a glossy Super AMOLED display made colours look vibrant, even in bright sunlight.

The PadFone ships running the latest version of Android, and as Asus has refrained from excessively customising or adding bloatware to the software, it provides a pretty pure Ice Cream Sandwich experience.

Performance was nippy in both phone and tablet mode thanks to a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, and there are a multitude of connectivity options for you to take advantage of. The devices share an 8-megapixel camera, which is set into the phone, but can also operate through a hole in the tablet's body. Clever -- but the results were disappointingly lacklustre.

Much like for the Transformer Prime and the Transformer Pad TF300, Asus has also created a PadFone Station dock, to turn your tablet into a laptop, should you need a proper keyboard. Using the combination of the tablet and dock extends the PadFone's battery so that it can last for a whole weekend -- almost unheard of for a smart phone. Unfortunately the combination also makes for an incredibly bulky gadget that weighs in around 1.5kg -- about the same weight as a regular laptop.

For more on the PadFone, head over to CNET Asia for the full review, or hit play on the video above to see CNET UK editor Jason Jenkins go hands-on with the PadFone at Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona.

What do you make of hybrid devices? Does the PadFone appeal to you, or would you prefer to keep your gadgets separate? Let me know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.