The Asus PadFone X mini is a shrunk-down version of the PadFone X that we reviewed earlier this year. The PadFone X is a rare breed of hybrid device—instead of being a 2-in-1 tablet and laptop like we’re used to seeing, it’s a 2-in-1 smartphone and tablet, thanks to a tablet docking station that the smartphone can slip into in the back. Switching between smartphone and tablet seamlessly is a neat trick, even if it does come at the cost of extra weight when you’re using the tablet.
The PadFone X mini consists of a 4.5″ smartphone with a 7″ tablet docking station, down from the 5″ smartphone and 9″ docking station we saw on the Qualcomm-powered PadFone X. Sometimes, you want a little more hardware behind a tablet than just a smartphone processor—that’s why the PadFone X mini is the first Intel-powered smartphone to hit the United States. Intel is also providing the connectivity hardware, with an Intel XMM 7160 LTE modem. There’s also a 5 MP camera on the back, which isn’t great, but the PadFone X mini isn’t a high-end phone, and isn’t priced as such. More impressive is the battery life—Asus says you should expect 15.8 hours from the smartphone alone and 28.3 hours when docked into the tablet.
The bad news is that the PadFone X mini is a carrier exclusive. You’ll only be able to find it at AT&T, but at least it’ll be affordable and won’t come with a contract. AT&T will sell it with their prepaid GoPhone plans, which start at $40 per month. The PadFone X mini itself will cost $200 outright, which makes it a very affordable mid-range smartphone, with the added bonus of a tablet bundled in. If the 2-in-1 docking design appeals to you, that’s not a bad deal. The PadFone X mini will be arriving at AT&T stores on October 24, with other retailers getting it sometime in November.