ASUS PadFone Mini Hands-On: 4-inch Phone Docks With 7-Inch Tablet


ASUS is once again trying its hand at a phone that docks into a tablet, and adding several new twists in the process. The $249 ASUS PadFone Mini, a 4-inch smartphone, has a number of features that make it interesting in its own right: It’s powered by a 1.6-GHz Intel Atom Z2560 processor, has dual SIM card slots and runs ASUS’ new Zen user interface on top of Android 4.3. But that’s not all: The phone docks into a 7-inch tablet, providing users with two devices in one. We had a chance to go hands-on with the PadFone at ASUS’s CES press conference and were impressed with its attractive design and seamless ability to transition from one form factor another.

asus padfone mini

The PadFone Mini has diamond-cut edges and a spun-metal finish that’s a trademark of ASUS devices, such as its Transformer Book T100. The phone is coated with a soft-touch ceramic finish. While the resolution of both the phone (800 x 480) and the tablet (1280 x 800) are low by top-end phone standards, they’re both IPS panels, which provide wide viewing angles. In our brief hands-on time, colors were accurate if not overly rich while images were bright as we  swiped through home screens.

MORE: Top 10 Tablets

ASUS’ ZenUI — exclusive to the PadFone and other ASUS smartphones — rides on top of Android, and has simplified menus and icons as well as a What’s Next feature that shows users future events, and helps them stay organized. Additionally, ASUS Dynamic Display technology will automatically resize apps for either the 4- or the 7-inch screen. When inserting the phone into the tablet docking station we noticed that the home screen was not only larger physically but also appared to have more screen realestate to match its higher resolution. While we only had time to dock the device with its home screen showing, the device should maintain your place no matter what you were doing when you switched. When ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih demonstrated the feature on stage, he docked the phone with the tablet while the email client was running.

For the rear camera, ASUS is using a Sony 8-MP backside-illuminated sensor, with a f/2.0 five element lens. Additionally, ASUS’ Pixelmaster technology will further enhance photos; for example, Low-light mode will adjust the size of the pixels automatically to increase sensitivity by up to 400 percent. Other features include HDR, Panosphere, Smart Remove and All Smiles. We had a chance to try the camera feature and were particuarly impressed with Time Rewind mode, which shoots photos for 2 seconds before you hit the shutter button and 1 second after, allowing you to better capture missed moments like a fast moving toddler.

The phone measures 4.9 x 2.4 x 0.25 inches, and weighs 4.1 ounces. The tablet portion measures 7.9 x 4.7 x 0.55 inches, and weighs 9.17 ounces. The PadFone Mini has a 1170 mAh battery, while the tablet portion has a 2100 mAh battery. When docked, the tablet will recharge the phone. 

We were particularly impressed with the attractive metallic surface of the phone and tablet, which is available in several colors, including a deep red,  white, black, yellow and our favorite . . . teal blue.

The Padfone Mini will be coming to the U.S. for $249 on AT&T’s network. No word on exact availability dates.

Email* (will not be published)
*Indicates required field
Submit Comments

All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options