ASUS Padfone X Mini Hybrid Smartphone / Tablet Review
Budget mobile devices always face a fairly difficult balancing act. To keep the price down you have expect certain compromises. Yet you can't cut too many corners and risk making a phone no one wants to use. ASUS made things even more interesting by adding a novel hybrid design to the mix.
Alone, the Padfone X Mini's smartphone is one we'd expect to pay $100 - $150 for outright. And the tablet features are on par performance and display-wise with the ASUS Memo Pad 7, which costs around $100 on Amazon right now. So the $200 price for this combo and sans contract feels like a good value for the money. You're not getting a high end device, but you're paying about as much as a new smartphone on contract without having to worry about further payments and get the added functionality that the tablet dock brings.
The convenience of a tablet that doesn't need a separate data plan or to be connected to a hotspot is a definite pro for people who spend a lot of time juggling multiple devices. And while thicker and heavier than other 7-inch tablets, the Padfone X Mini is still small and light enough to carry everywhere or hang out with in front of the TV.
This could also be a great device for seniors--no contract, a large screen, and the option to use the smaller handset for basic tasks.
However, the Padfone isn't a convenient device for power users, despite the cool hybridness. The performance just isn't there for anything beyond basic tasks, and the small amount of internal storage is limiting, especially now that Android has more restrictions on which apps can run from SD cards.
The Padfone X Mini isn't a device we'd recommend for everyone. The overall idea has some definite merit and it has features that will appeal to a specific audience. If you're just in the market for an inexpensive pre-paid phone, there are higher-performing standalone options out there and you can still get a nice tablet for a relatively small outlay. If the idea of an affordable hybrid 2-in-1 setup is appealing to you, however, Asus pull of the concept with the Padfone X Mini.