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Asus announces PadFone X Mini, a smaller tablet and phone combo

Asus has just announced the PadFone X Mini, a smaller version (as the name subtly suggests) of the PadFone X that launched earlier this year.

In case you’re not in the know, the clever concept combines a smartphone with a tablet dock. The magic happens when you click the handset into the back of the dock, which, through this simple action, turns it into a full-fledged tablet.

While all the processing work is done by the smartphone, the tablet offers improved sound via its built-in speakers and, of course, a larger screen. Even better, the tablet’s battery starts charging your smartphone the moment you slot it into the dock.

4.5-inch phone, 7-inch tablet

The new PadFone X Mini comprises a 4.5-inch LTE smartphone and a 7-inch tablet. In contrast, the PadFone X kit consists of a 5-inch handset and a 9-inch tablet, so this new alternative is set to appeal to those who like to take their tablet out and about, while the 9-inch alternative is better suited to home or office use.

The Android 4.4 (KitKat) phone sports a 854 x 480 pixel display and is powered by a 1.6GHz 2×2 Intel Atom Z2560 dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. You get 8GB of internal storage, expandable to 64GB with a microSD card.

On the rear you’ll find a somewhat modest 5-megapixel shooter, with a 2-megapixel one on the front.

When the handset’s placed in the dock you should be able to get 28 hours of battery life, or 16 hours on a single charge when used in smartphone mode. The handset packs a 2060mAh battery while the dock’s is a little more powerful at 2200mAh.

Essentially the PadFone X Mini is an updated version of the PadFone Mini that launched earlier this year in other markets around the world.

The larger PadFone X, which is already available in the US, was a hit in the DT office when the team put it through its paces a few months back, and we’re looking forward to getting our hands on this more portable version soon.

If you’re yet to get yourself a tablet and aren’t interested in high-end handsets, the PadFone X Mini phone-tablet combo could be well worth checking out when it lands at AT&T stores and select retailers across the US on October 24. You can pick it up for a reasonable $200 with GoPhone plans starting at $40 per month. Customers can also get the PadFone X Mini online at www.asus.com or www.att.com.