Asus launched today the latest member of the PadFone series, the PadFone Mini.
The rumors turned out to be spot on – as the name implies, the PadFone Mini is a smaller and cheaper take on the phone-tablet hybrid concept, that combines a mid-range 4.3-inch smartphone with a 7-inch tablet shell.
Starting with the smartphone itself, the PadFone Mini is decidedly mid-range – the LCD screen is just 960 x 540, with a 250 ppi density; the processing package comprises of a quad-core 1.4GHz Snapdragon S4 MSM8226 with an Adreno 305 CPU and 1GB of RAM. The PadFone Mini features a battery of just 1,500 mAh, small by any standard, though the battery in the tablet shell will extend its life to some extent. The 16GB of internal storage can be extended thanks to a microSD card slot. Finally, you get an 8MP main camera and a 2MP front one.
The unique feature of the PadFone series is that the smartphone can act as the “brain” of the tablet shell, eliminating, in theory, the need to carry two distinct devices. The PadFone Mini’s 7-inch tablet shell features a 1,280 x 800 resolution panel and includes a 2,200 mAh battery that charges the phone when inserted.
The smartphone weighs just 105 grams, while the tablet tips the scales at 310 grams. The combo is available in black, white, or pink color options.
In terms of software, you get a mostly stock-like implementation of Android 4.3, to which Asus added a few of its own productivity apps.
Check out a hands-on look at the PadFone Mini from our friends at Mobile Geeks:
In Taiwan, the PadFone Mini (smartphone plus tablet) will sell for NT$ 11,990 unlocked, the equivalent of $405. That’s a far cry from the price tag of the high-end PadFone Infinity, which can set you back close to $1000. Asus said it would also sell the PadFone Mini in China, Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Indonesia, with Western markets possibly following next year. CEO Jerry Shen promised that the PadFone line will finally sell in the United States starting with Q2 2014 with at least “one big operator” set to carry it.