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MWC 2012. Asus Padfone

First I came across Asus Transformer Pad 300 at the NVIDIA pavillion, where it was used to highlight all the power of the new Tegra3 platform in gaming. It is very easy to take Padfone for the new tablets from Transformer series, when there is a keyboard connected to each of them. Assembled Padfone or Transformer with the keyboard look similar to another thin and light Asus notebook, i.e. ultra book.

I ran into the Padfone a bit later, when I was walking around my favourite and most crowded green pavillion of the exhibition, which was dedicated to Android, where I saw a bored guy from Asus and a couple of Padfone units beside him. My impressions from the device were overwhelming, especially if you tried to distance from the already available and not always accurate information about it.

When assembled you can see a handy and compact laptop. Besides it is really convenient with the keyboard featuring separated soft buttons, a moderately sized touchpad, a good quality 10.1 (1280x800) screen and even a 1.3 MP front camera for video calls. The device is fast and you can play games without any problems. Then minimize them and check your mail, use the Internet and so on. Maybe if tested for efficiency Padfone with the keyboard would be inferior to modern ultra books, but during my ten minute test I did not notice any problems in the speed of operation or convenience.

Asus Padfone consists of two parts - Padfone smartphone and Padfone Station semi-tablet. It is going to be sold exactly like this with dock station plus keyboard offered as an option. I label it a semi-tablet, because Padfone Station works only when Padfone itself is plugged in at the back of the device. Technically Padfone Station partially resembles tablets as it has a 10.1 screen (1280x800), main camera of 8 MP (actually there is just a hole for smartphone camera) and 1.3 MP front camera, audio-jack for headphones or headset, and a 6600 mAh battery. By the way a smaller capacity battery (5500mAh) is included into the dock station with the keyboard, so the overall capacity of batteries in Asus Padfone + Padfone station + keyboard dock comes to about 13,000 mAh. It is not clear how long it will last, but obviously it must be no less than a day.

Asus Padfone smartphone taken separately is just a modern Android device. It does not look bad, albeit a little boring, but the unique selling point is not in the design, though the battery cover is made of textured material, which is good. The smartphone is built on Qualcomm platform with Dual Core 1.5Hz processor, 1 GB of RAM and 16/32/64 GB of memory for data storage together with a microSD memory card slot. The SuperAMOLED screen is 4.3 (960x540), the main camera boasts 8MP with front camera offering only VGA. The lineup is completed by a 1520mAh battery, Wi-Fi modules, Bluetooth 4.0, micro USB and 3.5mm audio jack. If compared with devices from other companies displayed at the exhibition Padfone doesnt look like odd. Maybe it is far from being a flagship, but if delivered with Padfone Station it becomes a combination of smartphone and tablet.

I totally like the idea of Padfone. Asus didnt invent a square wheel, though it might seem they did, but the company came up with a really handy combination of smartphone and 10.1 screen. Asus also suggests a keyboard as an option to turn the device into a light and compact laptop for trips with long operation time.

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Artem Lutfullin (artem@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Maxim Antonenko (maxantonenko@ukr.net)

Published — 09 March 2012

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