The shape-shifting Asus PadFone 2 mobile and tablet were presented this morning. After the official unveiling, we managed to grab a quick hands-on with the latest version of this concept-phone.
The PadFone 2 is due for release by the end of 2012 and will be available in black or white. The phone itself has a 4.7" Super IPS+ IGZO display with 1920 x 720 pixels. It runs on a 1.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor and has 2 GB of RAM. It'll come with either 32 GB or 64 GB of onboard memory and boasts 4G LTE connectivity.
The PadFone 2 handset is a nice mobile to handle, and Asus has managed to fit this 4.7" screen into a phone that's really not much more imposing than the original PadFone with its 4.3" screen.
From the side, the smartphone has a similar design to the previous model, with the same asymmetric sloping lines.
On the back too, it has the same concentric circle pattern as the first PadFone, which, Asus CEO Jonney Shih assures us, is inspired by Zen philosophy. The PadFone 2 certainly isn't lacking in charm and its design is generally nice, just like the first PadFone, in fact.
It's actually the tablet—or Docking Station—that's changed the most, even if its screen resolution has unfortunately stayed at 1280 x 800 pixels. However, the way the phone slots into the back of the tablet has been reworked in this updated version.
The phone now slots into the tablet vertically rather than horizontally, as you can see in the photo below. Similarly, the slot cover seen in the first PadFone Docking Station has been ditched here.
The smartphone slides very easily into the back of the tablet Docking Station. Once connected, the tablet is practical to hold, no matter which way round you're using it.
The transformation from smartphone to 10.1" tablet takes less than two seconds. An Android 4.0.4 OS for Asus tablets then takes over.
The Docking Station has been slimmed down in the PadFone 2.
We weren't able to test the 13-Megapixel camera in our brief hands-on. However, the burst mode—which shoots 100 continuous shots at a speed of 6 frames per second—looked like it was up to scratch in the demo we saw. Hopefully we'll get a closer look in our test lab soon.
Video to follow.