The original Padfone was one of those ideas that seemed good in theory, but fell short once you got your hands on it. Rather than give up on the concept, Asus has returned to the drawing board to announce the Padfone 2 at an exclusive event in Taipei today.
Sporting a massive 4.7-inch 720p HD screen on the phone, the Padfone is loaded with top shelf components, from the quad-core Qualcomm processor, to the 2GB of RAM on board, to the 13MP camera.
The camera itself is capable of shooting 30fps 1080p video, 60fps 720p video or up to 100 continuous still shots at full resolution. The front facing 1.2MP camera isn't quite as highly specced, but should be good enough for a Skype call.
LTE support and NFC functionality are also crammed in there with a 2,140mAh fixed battery. The unit announced offered support for the 900/2100MHz WCDMA frequencies and the 800/1800/2600MHz LTE frequencies, although there is discussion of variants for international markets.
The phone/tablet combo will ship with Ice Cream Sandwich, although Asus has promised an upgrade to Jelly Bean sooner rather than later.
You can't have a phablet without a tablet
The biggest change between the original Padfone and its successor is the design. Gone is the docking bay cover, replaced by a slide-in slot for the phone.
The tablet itself has the same 10.1-inch screen, but with a slightly smaller battery than its predecessor, which cuts 200 grams off the combined phablet weight of the original, down to 649grams from 854 grams.
Available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions, the Padfone 2 is hitting Taiwan next week, and will be available with or without the tablet station.
Pricing starts at NT$17,990 (about $US620/£383/AUD$599) for the 16GB phone only, and ranges up to $NT 21,901 ($US749/£466/AUD$729) for the 64GB version. The tablet dock can be purchased by itself for NT$8990 ($US310/£191/AUD$299), or bundled with the phone for NT$6000 ($US210/£127/AUD$199)
We hope to have our hands on the device shortly, so stay tuned for our impressions of this highly-specced device.