Asus Padfone pictures and hands-on

It's a bird, it's a plane, no it's Superman, or something like that. And you would be forgiven for wanting to utter the same words when it comes to the Asus Padfone announced at Mobile World Congress on Monday in Barcelona. 

You see, it's a phone, it's a tablet, it's a laptop, and it is even something more futuristic than that, with the accompanying stylus turning into a Bluetooth speaker so you can talk to it while continuing to draw. 

Admittedly, it's not the first time all four elements have existed, but it is the first time all four have existed in one glorious experience from the same company, and been promoted as a single device offering. 

The whole concept - coming in April - starts with an Ice Cream Sandwich-powered phone that is thin, well built and comes with a very crisp screen. 

Phones are great, but unless you opt for the Samsung Galaxy Note or LG Optimus Vu approach of screen sizes of more than 5-inches, you could soon run out of space. That's where the tablet element, called the PadStation, of the Asus Padfone comes in. It allows you to expand your horizon and enjoy a bigger screen - presumably when you want to watch a movie, surf the web or do something tablet-friendly. 

Users will be able to charge the phone while it is in the PadStation allowing it to double as a mobile phone charging station when you are on the go even though you are using the phone to power the PadStation at the same time.

But wait, Asus says that only takes you so far - you'll also want a keyboard. So up steps the keyboard dock found on Asus' sTransformer range. Now you can type, use a mouse and treat it like a computer too. 

Add those, however, and the collection becomes impractical to put up against your head when you get a call - remember, the phone is in the back of the tablet at this point. So, to compensate, Asus has followed Samsung's lead in adding a stylus to the mix. But, in a bizarre and not unwelcome twist, it's a stylus that doubles up as a speaker phone, as long as you are prepared to hold it against your head. 

In practice, all four come together gloriously. If not a little bizarrely.

Yes, it means you'll have to opt for one brand for all your needs, but Apple users will tell you what that's like. Whether or not the general public will go for it is debatable, but we're intrigued.

You can find out more about the Asus Padfone, including specs for the phone and tablet in our news piece.



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