If the idea of holding a seven-inch phablet up to your head doesn’t sound appealing, then you might find the Asus PadFone Infinity to be a better solution.
Announced alongside the Asus Fonepad, the PadFone Infinity features a five-inch smartphone that transforms into a 10.1-inch tablet when docked into an accompanying accessory. (The Samsung Galaxy Note might have put the term “phablet” on the map, but I’d argue that the PadFone was the original.) It’s the third model in the PadFone series, and it improves on previous versions with a faster processor, bigger screen and more.
The 4G LTE smartphone runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and features a five-inch, 1,920 by 1,080 touchscreen. (The PadFone 2 has a 4.6-inch, 1,280 by 720 display.)
On the back there’s a 13-megapixel camera that incorporates technology to help capture more details and improve low-light performance. There’s also a front-facing two-megapixel camera. Powering the device is a quad-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.
The tablet part of PadFone Infinity is simply a shell and doesn’t’ work until you dock the smartphone into the back. Once connected, it provides access to everything you have on your smartphone, and it automatically reformats everything to fit on a 10.1-inch, 1,920 by 1,200 pixel touchscreen.
I got a chance to check it out here at Mobile World Congress, and I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, the Padfone Infinity has a high-quality design. The smartphone’s screen is simply gorgeous.
Also, the transition from smartphone to tablet was seamless. Once docked, the tablet came to life and, as far as I could tell, there weren’t any problems with apps not displaying correctly on the larger screen.
The benefit to such a design is that you don’t have to sync your apps between two devices. It also saves money on your mobile bill, since you don’t have to add another device to your data plan.
That said, it doesn’t help reduce clutter, since you still have to carry around two gadgets. It’s also incredibly expensive, at about $1,300. For $600 less, you could get the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 tablet.
The Asus PadFone Infinity is expected to be available in the U.K. starting in April. There are currently no plans to bring it to the U.S.; though, like previous versions, you should be able to buy them online.