Asus' smartphone/tablet hybrid coming to the U.S. for $200 off contract

If you can't decide between a smaller smartphone and a supersized phablet, Asus' PadFone X Mini might be just the ticket. The hybrid device comprises a 4.5" handset that plugs into the back of a 7" tablet "station." It's not too expensive, either. Intel has announced that the PadFone X Mini is coming to AT&T's prepaid GoPhone program for $199.99 sans contract. As far as I can tell, that price includes not only the handset, but also its sidekick.

Source: Intel

The announcement comes from Intel because the firm's chips power the device. The processor inside is a dual-core, quad-thread Atom Z2560 from the old Clover Trail+ family, while the modem is an XMM 7160 LTE unit. Other specs include 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal flash, a Micro SD slot, dual cameras, and Android 4.4 KitKat.

All the action goes down on the handset, which can scale up its output for the tablet display. The handset's 4.5" panel has an 854x480 resolution, while the 7" tablet kicks the screen up to 1280x800. Those resolutions aren't particularly impressive in the realm of true HD devices, but they're not too bad considering the price. Both displays are based on IPS+ panels with extra backlight brightness to improve visibility in brighter environments.

In addition to packing a larger display, the PadFone's tablet portion has a secondary battery. The handset can run for 15.8 hours on a single charge, according to the press release, and the tablet adds another 12.5 hours on top of that. The tablet is fairly portly, though, at up to 0.83" thick and 0.55 lbs. Meanwhile, the smartphone measures up to 0.5" thick and tips the scales at 0.33 lbs.

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