updated 01:37 pm EST, Tue February 26, 2013
Asus intros Atom-powered phone/tablet hybrid
Confirming recent rumors, Asus has unveiled a new seven-inch tablet, the Fonepad, that is powered by Intel's Lexington Atom processor. Consistent with its name, the Fonepad is a tablet but doubles as a smartphone with 3G voice-calling functionality. We met with Asus at Mobile World Congress to check out the hybrid device and see how it performs as a tablet and as a phone.
As a tablet, the device is in a similar class to other devices in the seven-inch segment. The Atom chipset does not seem like the most powerful compared to ARM-based alternatives, but we were unable to run any benchmark tests for an objective comparison.
The build reminds us of the iPad mini, with a mostly aluminum housing that curves near the edges. The matte finish is complemented by an anodized finish, either titanium or champagne in color, helping to differentiate the device from its competition. Overall, it has a quality feel that is consistent with many of Asus' other premium products.
The 1280x800 IPS display is perfect for a small tablet, but its seven-inch spread makes the device unwieldy as a smartphone. Nonetheless, for anyone who rarely talks on the phone or uses a Bluetooth headset, the Fonepad might be the perfect all-in-one mobile device.
Asus expects the Fonepad to arrive in March, with prices starting at 219 Euros (~$286 USD) for the 8GB variant.