ASUS has been putting out PadFones for a couple of years, now, and they all follow the same basic design. There’s a smartphone, and a tablet, and the smartphone slots into a space in the back of the tablet.
The tablet itself is just a dumb shell – it has a bigger display, and a secondary battery and speakers. All the brains and computing power, however, rests within the smartphone. When the smartphone isn’t slotted into the tablet, the tablet can’t be used.
It’s a clever design idea, and likely a premature look at the future of computing for the average person (today’s smartphones are already more than powerful enough to accomplish what most people need from the Internet). This week, however, ASUS decided to take things down a notch and introduced smaller versions of the PadFone products.
The PadFone Mini is a 4-inch smartphone with an 800×480 resolution, 8GB of flash storage (micro-SD expandable), an 8MP, f/2.0 rear-facing camera, dual-SIM functionality, and an Intel Atom Z2560 CPU. It comes with ASUS’ ZenUI Android skin. It features 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0; it doesn’t feature LTE.
ASUS is putting a lot of emphasis on the Sony 8MP camera, and includes special photo-centric firmware that boosts low-light performance, HDR, and enables special photo-stiching/panoramic applications.
The tablet portion of the device, which ASUS calls a ‘Station’, features a 7-inch display with a 1280×800 resolution. Both screens, while relatively low resolution compared to competing models, feature IPS+ panels.
ASUS plans to retail the combo for just $249 off contract, though current plans for release in the U.S. are still up in the air.