Asus Padfone mini is a 4-inch phone and 7-inch tablet in one

Asus Padfone mini is a 4-inch phone and 7-inch tablet in one
Is it a fad? Is it a pone?

ASUS sure does love its detachable hybrids, doesn't it? This time, for CES 2014, the vendor has pulled the curtain back on the Padfone mini. Is it a hybrid tablet or a hybrid smartphone? It's both.

More specifically, the Padfone mini is a 0.44-inch thin, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (with KitKat on the way) handset with a 4-inch, 800 x 480 IPS+ LED touch screen. If you're in the mood for an Android tablet, then you can place the phone into the back of a tablet station rocking a 1280 x 800 IPS+ LED touch panel.

A 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2650 chip powers the 4.09-ounce Padfone mini – and by extension its tablet dock – with some help from 1GB of RAM. As for storage, the phone is limited to a mere 8GB onboard, but that's expandable by up to 64GB via microSD card.

Powering all this, plus the phone's 8MP (with f/2.0 aperture and backside illumination) and 2MP shooters, is an 1170mAh battery. The tablet dock gets its very own juice to the tune of 2100mAh – both are non-removable polymer batteries.

Bummer alert: While the Padfone mini supports dual SIMs (ideally one for data and the other for phone), there's no LTE to be found – just 4G HSPA+. But ASUS hopes to make up for that with its brand new ZenUI for Android.

That's so Zen, man

Exclusive to ASUS Android devices, ZenUI is a custom Android skin that is said to offer simplified icons and menus. Also on offer are special color themes to match the shell of your PadFone (which comes in black, white, red, blue and yellow).

More important are features like What's Next and enhancements ASUS has made to existing Android apps and tools. What's Next presents users with event data and more to help keep busy users on track. As for improvements, ASUS focused on email, web browsing and image sharing.

First up is email: Now, users can read messages by thread to keep better track of conversations. For the web browser, ASUS added a Smart Reader Mode that adjusts background tone make it easier on the eyes. Finally, ASUS Collage is said to allow users to create photo stories to share with friends. (Instagram, anyone?)

The PadFone mini will cost $249 (about £151, AU$277), but ASUS has yet to mention availability. We'll try to clear that up once we get our hands on this weird little bugger on the CES 2014 show floor.

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Joe Osborne

Joe Osborne is the Senior Technology Editor at Insider Inc. His role is to leads the technology coverage team for the Business Insider Shopping team, facilitating expert reviews, comprehensive buying guides, snap deals news and more. Previously, Joe was TechRadar's US computing editor, leading reviews of everything from gaming PCs to internal components and accessories. In his spare time, Joe is a renowned Dungeons and Dragons dungeon master – and arguably the nicest man in tech.