Asus unveils new phone and dockable tablet combo

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… an Android smartphone that docks into a tablet shell type of thing. Cool.

At an event in Milan this morning, Asus took the wraps off the PadFone 2, the second iteration of its smartphone and tablet docking station combo. The device actually comes barely eight months after its predecessor, which launched at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this February. Despite the short refresh cycle, Asus apparently found plenty of room for improvement.

The PadFone 2 trades its predecessor’s dual-core processor for a quad-core, 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 backed by 2GB of RAM. The display has gotten an upgrade from a 4.3" 960×540 panel to a 4.7" Super IPS+ screen with a 1280×720 resolution. The new phone supports both LTE and HSPA+ connectivity, and its accompanying tablet docking station—officially dubbed the PadFone 2 Station—has gotten a total redesign, with a simpler docking mechanism that involves "just one swift step to use."

In addition to all of that, Asus touts a higher-capacity, 2140 mAh battery (which is rated for up to 16 hours of 3G talk time and 13 hours of web browsing over Wi-Fi); a slimmer, 9-mm profile; and a weight of just 135 g (4.76 oz). That’s for the phone only, of course. Dock the PadFone 2 with the PadFone 2 Station, and the total weight rises to 649 g (1.43 lbs). The PadFone 2 Station includes an extra 5000 mAh battery, which brings the rated 3G talk time to 36 hours. Asus claims the PadFone 2 Station’s battery can even recharge the docked phone "three times over."

Other notable features include a 13-megapixel camera with 1080p video capture capabilities, up to 64GB of storage capacity (which is shared between the phone and docking tablet), and NFC connectivty.

Asus’ announcement doesn’t quote pricing, but it says the PadFone 2 will be available in Europe and Asia this December. Don’t go looking for the device stateside, though. Asus adds that "availability in other countries will be announced at a later date."

Comments closed
    • dashbarron
    • 7 years ago

    Tis a win.

    It’s a powerful phone with good specs on an open and proved OS. Then people can have a tablet as well, which doubles as a phone charger while keeping all the information from your phone intact.

    This is a much better idea than having a separate iPhone and iPad, or Windows phone and Surface tablet.

    • internetsandman
    • 7 years ago

    Damnit…..I REALLY wish i didn’t want this as badly as I do….going by the pricing of the previous model it seems to be a decent price, but it’s still too much for me AND I just upgraded my phone on contract

    Edit: on second thought, considering the phone’s resolution is virtually the same as the tablets, it’s not really as appealing as I thought it would be. They also removed the keyboard dock from the last iteration, which I’m really surprised at, I don’t see why they wouldn’t just keep that ability even if it costs more as a separate add on or whatever

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    laaaaa… And there it is. Tablets are immediately obsoleted in one fell swoop.

    • gmskking
    • 7 years ago

    I wonder which carriers in the US will adopt this phone?

    • misuspita
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]ASUS will launch the Padfone 2 and its tablet station first in Europe (Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and Sweden) and Asia (Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and U.A.E). The smartphone/tablet should be available there in the beginning of December. The US hasn't been mentioned in the official press release, but we got a word from an ASUS manager at the event, saying the Padfone 2 will debut in the US by the end of the year as well. As for pricing, the 32GB Padfone 2 (including a the 10.1" tablet station) will retail in Europe for €799, while the 64GB model will be €899. We guess once the 16GB version comes arounds, it'll cost around the €699 mark. In Asia, the Padfone 2 tablet station will be sold separately for NT$8,990 ($310). There, the unsubsidized Padfone 2 smartphone will retail for NT$17,990 ($620) and NT$21,901 ($750) for the 16GB and 32GB models, respectively. However, should customers purchase the Padfone 2 together with the tablet station, the latter will be sold at NT$6,000 (around $210).[/quote<] gsmarena.com So it seems a little... pricey?

    • provoko
    • 7 years ago

    At first I was like, WOW, but now that I think about it…… you can’t use both at the same time, right?

      • moose17145
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]In addition to all of that, Asus touts a higher-capacity, 2140 mAh battery (which is rated for up to 16 hours of 3G talk time and 13 hours of web browsing over Wi-Fi); a slimmer, 9-mm profile; and a weight of just 135 g (4.76 oz). That's for the phone only, of course. Dock the PadFone 2 with the PadFone 2 Station, and the total weight rises to 649 g (1.43 lbs). The PadFone 2 Station includes an extra 5000 mAh battery, which brings the rated 3G talk time to 36 hours. Asus claims the PadFone 2 Station's battery can even recharge the docked phone "three times over."[/quote<] If by "use at the same time" you mean essentially use the tablety part as a gigantic phone while the phone is docked with it, then yes, it would appear that you can. Not sure why they would quote talk time while the phone is docked otherwise... But if you mean use the tablet part while you are using the phone without it being docked up with it, then no, it does not appear so. Looks like the tablet part is just a screen with a battery while all the brains/memory are contained solely in the phone itself.

      • willmore
      • 7 years ago

      I don’t know if you’ve seen them, but there are these little things that you can attach to your ear that have a speaker and microphone. They let you use your phones audio functions without actually holding it in your hand next to your head.

        • provoko
        • 7 years ago

        So the phone you can use at the same time, that makes sense, but you can’t detach the phone, and do something on the tablet separately.

        Basically, the tablet is a useless brick without the phone.

          • willmore
          • 7 years ago

          Where you go, so does your phone, yes? Even better, someone else could dock *their* phone with the dock. No different than laptop docs in that sense.

    • rwburnham
    • 7 years ago

    I was just saying the other day that it would be nice if my phone could transform into a tablet. This is the next best thing!

    • entropy13
    • 7 years ago

    A local channel reviewed the first iteration, also including the keyboard. So it’s essentially phone+tablet+laptop.

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    I was just thinking: If this came from Apple the whole world+dog would be all over it. But as it is, it’s from Asus, so even [u<]if[/u<] it's actually prettier than Apple's stuff, it's just another product from some great Taiwanese tech company. Asus's CEO needs to learn how to release his own Reality Distortion Field.

    • blastdoor
    • 7 years ago

    the tech equivalent of a turducken, if they can just dock the tablet with a laptop.

      • Sargent Duck
      • 7 years ago

      And then dock the laptop with a desktop!

        • no51
        • 7 years ago

        And then dock the desktop with a tv!

          • ludi
          • 7 years ago

          You went full Inception. [i<]Never[/i<] go full Inception.

    • NeelyCam
    • 7 years ago

    Looking at the phone alone, it has some fantastic specs. Then, when you add the docking capabilities, this sounds like a great product.. kind of makes me want to return the Galaxy S3 I just got..

    Then again, this might be one of those “if you have to ask how much, you can’t afford it” thingies

    • jjj
    • 7 years ago

    Much better than the previous gen except no SD and no KB dock this time around. Typical for the industry,make a nice device and then ruin it…

    • chuckula
    • 7 years ago

    Hrmm…

    [quote<]Asus touts a higher-capacity, 2140 mAh battery (which is rated for up to 16 hours of 3G talk time and 13 hours of web browsing over Wi-Fi);[/quote<] [quote<] The PadFone 2 Station includes an extra 5000 mAh battery, which brings the rated 3G talk time to 36 hours. Asus claims the PadFone 2 Station's battery can even recharge the docked phone "three times over."[/quote<] Take that laws of thermodynamics! (OK, without violating physics too much, they probably mean a sub-100% charge three time over, but even that is pretty optimistic...)

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah I noticed that too. The only possibility to make it true with no caveats like ‘80% charged’ is the batteries use different chemistry and therefore have the pad has a higher Wh rating than the mAh rating implies. But that would mean they are using a lower Wh capacity battery in the phone than they could.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        yeah, i thought about science stuff too.

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        It’s possible (in theory) if the voltage is different.

          • moose17145
          • 7 years ago

          true… but …. (pause for dramatic effect) … based upon the dimensions of these devices both will be using a 3.7v lithium polymer cell. I suppose the tablet portion could contain two 5 Ah cells in series which would bump their voltage up to 7.4v… but I doubt it. I bet they will just use single cell 3.7v cell.

            • willmore
            • 7 years ago

            Why do they even spec mAh for phones and tablets? Without knowing the voltage, it’s meaningless. It’s not like we’re using linear regulators anymore. mWh, please!

            • moose17145
            • 7 years ago

            I tend to agree. If they do not want to give the Whr rating then they should at least give the source voltage that the device is running off of. Honestly even if they give is a Whr rating i would still like to see both the Ahr and voltage listed as well… that way i can determine how many cells the device has and such. Not that it really matters a whole ton i guess from a typical end user perspective… but im not your typical end user and i just like knowing all the little nitty gritty details about my devices like that…

    • dmjifn
    • 7 years ago

    Yo dawg, we heard you like docking. So we docked your phone in your tablet, which you can dock in your keyboard/mouse port replicator.

    Huzzah!

      • eitje
      • 7 years ago

      The meme would be “Yo dawg, we heard you like docking. So we put a dock in your dock so you can modify your user experience while you modify your user experience.” or something.

        • dmjifn
        • 7 years ago

        D’oh! You are super right, and you did what I was too lazy to do properly. Glad the meme police caught this.

    • DragonDaddyBear
    • 7 years ago

    My excuse to the wife: Aww man! Our phones some how fell out of my pocket while on the motorcycle! Well, time to get a new phone. Hey, isn’t this one cool? We each get one and a doc to share, what do you say?

    • sweatshopking
    • 7 years ago

    i’d be interested with a widi tablet solution, but i don’t really want to plug my phone into a giant tablet. seems like a strange product to me. i could see a dock for a desktop, but why would i want a pluginable in tablet?

      • DragonDaddyBear
      • 7 years ago

      So your apps, music, video, pictures, etc, are on one device. I’m constantly showing off pictures of my baby. This would make that much easier.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 7 years ago

      Why would I want to buy the guts of the phone twice if this is all the computer I can afford?

      Wireless video would just kill your phone’s battery, rather than taking advantage of the tablet’s. Someday that will have to be the norm, but not today.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        Battery concerns are fair. As to the photos, music, etc, I think cloud storage handles that pretty well, but you’re right it does require internet access. I suppose it has some application, but I doubt the price will warrant it.

      • ludi
      • 7 years ago

      Welcome to the future of mobile computing: your phone is the computer, and your tablet or whatever is the docking station and port replicator.

      Realistically, this sort of getup and a bluetooth keyboard for desk use might be the only computer a lot of people ever own.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        I agree, I just don’t see the advantage of a giant phone strapped to the back of a tablet.

          • ludi
          • 7 years ago

          It doesn’t — it slides into a slot. When the phone is docked the whole assembly appear to be no thicker than just the table by itself.

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