Apologies to Microsoft, but the ASUS PadFone X may be the ultimate convergence device. Available for preorder on June 6 through AT&T, consumers will get both a 5-inch smartphone and a 9-inch tablet--the former of which can be docked into the latter--for $199. We went hands-on with the PadFone X, whose combination of specs, hardware and price may prove very tempting for consumers.
The phone itself has a 5-inch display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080.and is powered by a Snapdragon 800 processor. Those specs alone put it on a par with such devices as the HTC One M8 and the Samsung Galaxy S5. The plastic back of the phone, which houses a 13-MP camera, doesn't feel as premium as the HTC One, though we doubt many consumers will mind at this price. While there's only 16GB of built-in storage, the phone will accept microSD cards up to 64GB in size.
The tablet has a 9-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel display, but a rather large bezel wrapping the screen. However, we like that its speakers face towards the user. Above the display is a 1-MP camera; we wish it were higher, as it would make for better Skype calls. Around back is a large slot into which you can insert the phone, which is bordered by a silver trim.
Combined, the tablet and phone weigh 23.4 ounces (1.5 pounds); 5.3 ounces for the phone, and 18.1 ounces for the tablet. That's heavier than the iPad Air (1.05 pounds), and almost as heavy as the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, which weighs 1.76 pounds, and has a larger 12-inch display.
Cleverly, some apps, such as the Mail app, will change from a single column view on the phone to a two-panel view when docked in the tablet. Likewise, if you have a photo open in the Gallery on the phone, and then dock it with the tablet, the photo will expand to fill the entire screen. It remains to be seen, though, how well apps such as Netflix and Facebook will expand or change to accommodate the different screen sizes.
Inside the phone is a 2300-mAh battery, and inside the tablet is a 4990-mAh battery that combined should deliver more than 10 hours of juice, according to ASUS.
The phone and tablet both ship with a standard black back, but consumers will be able to purchase Folio cases for both for $80. These soft-touch cases include a cover for the front of each device, and also add wireless charging capability via PMA.
An optional $99 Bluetooth keyboard is also available for the PadFone; in our hands-on time, we found that the tablet docked firmly in the keyboard, and that the island-style keys offered good travel and feedback.
That's a quick look at the ASUS PadFone X, which will be available for preorder on June 6, and will go on sale later in June. Stay tuned for our full review of the ASUS PadFone X.