Hands On with ASUS PadFone Mini

ASUS is shrinking down their smartphone/tablet hybrid with the PadFone mini, which shrinks down both the smartphone and tablet shell from previous versions of the PadFone and the new PadFone X that was also announced at this year’s CES.

The PadFone mini will feature a 4” smartphone that can be seamlessly docked into a 7” tablet. In a way, that makes it a little more attractive than the larger PadFone devices, because you get a smartphone and a tablet that can both fit in a pocket, if need be. Of course, the smaller size means that there’s going to be some sacrifice when it comes to specs. The smartphone has just an 800 x 480 IPS display, although that improves to an HD 1280 x 800 IPS display on the 7” tablet dock.

Other than that, the guts belong to the smartphone, which features a last-gen 1.6 GHz Intel Atom Z2560 processor and 1 GB of LPDDR2 RAM. The 8 GB of eMMC memory can be expanded with a micro SD card. The specs aren’t great, but that’s mitigated by dual-SIM functionality, which should be a hit with frequent travelers or those that just happen to need to deal with multiple carriers.

The camera, however, is not bad, featuring an 8 MP Sony BSI sensor with a wide-aperture f/2.0 lens. That camera can capture 1080p video, and has PixelMaster technology that automatically adjusts pixel size according to lighting conditions. There’s also a continuous shooting mode, along with a feature that stitches together a perfect picture where everyone is actually smiling, by drawing on those continuous shots.

The PadFone mini will run Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out of the box, with an upgrade to 4.4 KitKat expected. It’ll also run ASUS’ own ZenUI, which enhances some basic Android apps at the cost of a more prompt upgrade to future versions of Android.

The PadFone mini will be available sometime during Q2 2014, but we’re not sure about price or carrier just yet.

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