27
Feb
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When I first heard about the ASUS Padfone, I thought the idea was a bit laughable. When I tried in person today, my opinion changed substantially. ASUS definitely seems to have done this right - particularly considering it's still a prerelease piece of hardware. My primary concern was in how seamless the transition from phone to tablet would be, and how much the phone's hardware design would suffer because of the docking mechanism.

Addressing the first concern, the transition is quite smooth. Just snap in the Padfone, and the dock lights up and goes to Android 4.0's tablet interface in a matter of seconds. No load screens, no stuttering - just pop it in, and a few seconds later, you're good to go. As for the design, well, just check this thing out, it's a pretty damn good-looking phone in its own right:

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The rear cover is metallic, textured with an interesting concentric circle design. While I wasn't a huge fan of the way it felt (Artem liked it, though), the design is admittedly pretty awesome. It's not big, clunky, or anything you would expect of a phone specifically designed to dock into an external display - it looks perfectly normal, actually. So, let's check out that docking action.

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Just snap it and go. The tablet portion of the device consists only of the docking elements, display, and a battery (a 6600mAh one, to boot, as does the keyboard dock) - all the computing happens directly on the phone. Since it's essentially a dumb shell, the tablet portion can pack in that huge battery, and in combination with the keyboard dock, will give you nearly 15,000mAh between the three-piece set. If you're still not making it through two days on that much juice, you should probably check in to tech rehab.

As far as speed goes, the Padfone performed admirably in both phone and tablet modes. The MSM8260 Qualcomm S4 processor swiped through the homescreens and various menus like a champ. To see the Padfone in action (including the docking procedure in its full glory), check out our hands-on video:

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Jonathan K. Wong

    Now this is innovation. In terms of industrial design, the iPhone and iPad are really old compared to this. This is the future of mobile computing. This is innovation.

    • Matt

      Agreed. I want this on Sprint.

    • Jon Garrett

      +1

      Imagine if they follow up with a tablet with specs like the prime and a nicer phone.

      • Jonathan K. Wong

        Then it would be the "beastiest" mobile device out there. I hope Android 4.0 on the Padfone is flawless or at least relatively bug free.

        • Mrs Raven

          I just loaded ICS on my husband's ASUS Transformer and it was painless and flawless...so no reason to be afraid!

      • Jon

        All in good time. :) This is the initial release and we saw the very early previews of it last year and look how much it's changed. They need to get the tech right this around and then improve upon that in the next model.

        • http://anasqtiesh.com Anas

          I'm curious how the device will handle downloading phone-only or tablet-only apps from the market. I just wonder how seamless it would be transitioning from one mode to the other with that in mind.

    • Jonathan Longoria

      I'll take this with T-Mobile compatible bands. I don't care about subsidy or their bloatware so I'd actually prefer it unlocked anyhow.

  • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com Ritesh

    I couldn't agree more. That phone looks like one of the best designs I've seen in a while.. well, apart from the N9/Lumia 800 and the new HTC One X and One S.

  • EDD

    Waiting for these babies for years!!

  • Shane

    Any word on which, if any, carriers in the US will carry this ?

  • Rob

    Apparently the Tablet is optional though?! Which genius came up with that? D=
    I hope it's pretty cheap because of that!

    • Shane

      Probably be around $150 each for the tablet screen dock and the keyboard dock I'm guessing. That's what the keyboard dock for the Transformer ran, and it looks like the same dock.

  • James

    Absolutely dreadful product. The only good thing about it is the near-stock ICS on the phone.

    • Jimmy Chen

      Please describe what you feel is dreadful about it.

  • Aditya Gulia

    Hey, I think you forgot that "Stylus/Phone reciever" thingy...isn't that part of the package too, or can you get it separately also??

  • Nocturnhabeo

    what did he say the processor was? I couldn't quite hear it over the background noise.

    • Shane

      MSM8260 Qualcomm S4

      At this point I'm just waiting for a US carrier to take my money for one of these.

      • http://www.thepixelpuse.com aj

        Oh, I thought he said QUADcore, not Qualcomm. Damn. My interest in the phone itself just got knocked down a peg. It is 1.5GHZ though, so that's still good.

  • fonix232

    Hmm, Ubuntu for Android anyone? Android on phone, Ubuntu when tablet/laptop mode. Would be pretty awesome.

    • Rodrigo

      Wouldn't the new Ubuntu for Android let you do exactly that?

      This is how you kill netbooks, looks really awesome.

      • Jon

        +1

        This is what will finish off the Netbooks. They have been disappearing since tablets became popular, but with this tech, you don't need a Netbook anymore, just dock your phone and you have all the functionality you need. Get a blue tooth headset to use the phone part when docked. It would be the same feeling as using Skype with a regular Netbook.

        Next we just need a device that directly attached to our brains and overlays the images in front of our visual input. That's coming. ;)

    • thx84

      That was my first thought after I saw the video on Youtube, with this and Ubuntu for Android, you can ditch your netbook (if you ever got one) and still have a true desktop experience.
      Being a part-time Ubuntu user, I would'nt mind at all!!!

  • RobG

    Guaranteed it won't be on Verizon :-(

    • Btod

      Why do you think that?

      • slurms mckenzie

        hes right u know. stop wishing for hoop dreams.

  • Mgamerz

    Tethering time says AT&T

  • bill collier

    Does the tablet fit the OG transformer keyboard dock? If so that would be some great customer retention tactics.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Yes, it does.

  • timonoj

    Pity he didn't show the tablet standing alone. From the video it seems bulky with that door for the phone.

  • Oliver

    I can only hope that the US carriers don't screw this up somehow, and that they don't try to charge "tethering" fees for a device that isn't actual tendering...

  • http://common-sense.com Common Sense

    Yeah, the US carriers are not going to want to support this. They will want to charge you for tethering, but you arent tethering. Why would they support this? So it can sell a lot and become a trend?

    Please.....they will cut this device off at the knees. And if they do sell them, it will be after they find a way to plant software that tells them when it is docked so they can surprise bill you for tethering. Europe on the other hand will love this. Must be nice...

    • http://anasqtiesh.com Anas

      They'd just package the phone and tablet together and sell them subsidized but with a more expensive data plan that more than pays them back for their "investment."

  • Alvin

    Is MSM8260 Qualcomm S4 using Krait (from the S4)? I thought MSM8260 is Scorpion.

  • calvin

    here's some $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    take it damnit and give me this now!!!...

    *please* GOD sprint then ATT and T-mobile
    i say that because Big red love Moto products to bad to care for this...

  • Luly

    Shut up and take my money!

    LOL.

  • http://www.android24.lt Olivijus

    Nice One, I've definitely would like to have one like this.

  • sliddjur

    can u make calls while in "tablet-mode"?

    • thx84

      in another video, they showed you can make call and speak over the stylus!!!

  • Matt M.

    This has got to be one of coolest concepts ever. I would gladly exchange the souls of a dozen small children for this.

  • Mark

    Wasn't there a product by a different company yesterday that you reviewed that does the same exact thing? Goes from Phone to Tablet to Laptop? Can't remember the manufacturer/model/make.

  • http://www.miniphysics.com MiniPhysics

    First impression: Wow, 14000 mAh? I've got to see this.

    *clicked*

    Nice! I like the design of the phone. =D

  • Perry

    by far the most innovative product to come down the pike in a long time. This takes the entire transformer tablet/keyboard dock to a whole other level.

    I would buy the entire package in a NY minute. And Asus is the best with the updates. My OG transformer got the ICS update and a ton of updates before that!

    I don't think tethering would be an issue with the carriers since its the phone that is powering either the tablet or the "netbook" If anything the carriers should embrace it since it would probably lead to larger data packages.

    Asus FTW!!!

  • JimJam

    I would like to see them impliment this in a way like motorolas lapdock but instead of having the trackpad having the cut out that the phone can slide into and then its screen then becomes the trackpad for the laptop

    • Mgamerz

      I have a motorola lapdock, and I used the webtop hack where you don't need the lapdock to run webtop (you run it over hdmi). And let me tell you, using the phone screen sucks. You can't tell how much you have moved your finger, and since you aren't looking at the trackpad, your finger slides off and onto other stuff until you hit the side of the device. I prefer a trackpad cause the tech in it is much better than what is for a phone screen.

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