As expected, Asus has revealed the Padfone Mini at a special event in Taiwan. It’s the latest in a string of similar devices from Asus, all of which combine both the convenience of a smartphone and the big-screen joy of a tablet. However, instead of it being a massive Xperia Z Ultra-style phablet, the Padfone range sees a regular-sized phone slot into a full-size tablet dock.
This time around, Asus has shrunk the Padfone down to a more manageable size, taking the tablet from 10.1-inches down to 7-inches, and the phone from 5-inches to 4.3-inches. Asus has been trying to convince us a 7-inch phone is a viable proposition for a while, but as few are convinced, the Padfone Mini could end up being the happy medium.
The Padfone Mini smartphone’s 4.3-inch screen has a 960 x 540 pixel resolution, which ties in with the earlier leaks, and is powered by a 1.4GHz Snapdragon 400 processor and 1GB of RAM. There’s an 8-megapixel camera on the rear and a 2-megapixel lens above the screen, plus a total of 16GB internal memory, along with a MicroSD card slot where an additional 64GB can be added.
Like previous Padfone hardware, the tablet relies on the phone to operate, and here it changes the display up to 7-inches with a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution. A 2200mAh battery is built-in, which is more than enough to fully charge up the phone’s modest 1500mAh cell whilst it’s docked. This, along with only needing to use a single data plan for both devices, is a major benefit of the Padfone line.
At the moment, the Padfone Mini has only been announced for Taiwan, where it’ll be sold for the equivalent of $400, and in a choice of black, white or “cherry milk” color schemes. In an interview with Engadget, Asus CEO Jerry Shen said it would also launch in Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, and Russia. Additionally, he’s quoted as saying, “Now is the time,” to bring Padfone products to the U.S., although it’s not clear if the Padrone Mini will ever make it over.