Asus Padfone 2: Phone Meets Tablet with Quad-Core CPU, 13-MP Camera

Asus has unveiled the Padfone 2, the second iteration of the company's innovative Android-powered device that's two devices in one. The Padfone 2 is a powerful smartphone that slides into its companion tablet and actually provides the computing power for the slate when a bigger screen is needed.

The Padfone 2's impressive hardware would shine even as a stand-alone phone. The bright 4.7-inch, 1280 x 720 Super IPS+ smartphone display ups the screen size and resolution compared to its 4.5-inch qHD predecessor, while the 1.5-GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 CPU doubles its forbearer's processing cores. Combined with 2GB of RAM, the Padfone 2 shouldn't have any troubles scrolling smoothly in phone or tablet mode, at least on paper.

Shutterbugs should find themselves happy with the Padfone 2 as well: the phone sports a 13-megapixel camera with a dedicated image processor and wide f/2.4 aperture, along with a burst mode that can capture six shots per second while recording HD video at the same time.

Asus also tosses in at least 50GB of the company's cloud-based WebStorage for free for two years, so you'll have a place to store all those high-resolution snapshots and videos. Included 4G LTE and HSPA+ compatibility should upload said pictures at a decent clip.

The Asus press release says the tablet portion is "completely redesigned," but failed to mention what that entails, exactly, with one exception: The Padfone 2's docking technique has been completely overhauled, ditching the original tablet's closeable cover in favor of a scheme that has you sliding the phone portion into a vertical slot on the rear of the tablet. When you dock the phone, the image instantaneously and seamlessly switches to the slate. Together, the tablet and docked phone weigh just a hair less than the iPad. That's impressive, especially since the original Padfone was lambasted as being a bit too bulky.

Asia and Europe are slated to see the Padfone 2 by the end of the year for an undisclosed price; availability in other regions will be announced further down the line.