Asus may have been the first company to introduce a smartphone that turns into a tablet when you dock the handset into a docking station with a larger touchscreen display. But the Asus PadFone isn’t the only game in town… which is good news if you find the $760-ish price tag off-putting.
A few years ago a rival phone/tablet hybird called the TransPhone made the rounds. And in April it will be replaced with the TransPhone 2 which features a faster processor, a bigger battery, and a slightly larger display than the original.
The TransPhone 2 is also a lot cheaper than a Padfone, with prices expected to start as low as $300.
So what’s the catch? You get a whole lot less for $299 than you do for $762.
The entry-level TransPhone 2 features a handset with a 1 GHz MT6577 dual core processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, and a 4 inch, 854 x 480 pixel TFT display. It has a 5MP rear camera and an 0.3MP front-facing camera.
There’s also a TransPhone 2 Pro (with 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, an 8MP rear camera and an IPS display), and a TransPhone 2 Pro+ (which adds 32GB of storage, a 3MP front-facing camera, and a Gorilla Glass scratch-resistant screen), but those models will have higher prices.
All three models are available with a tablet dock with an 8 inch, 1024 x 768 pixel display that lets you use your Android apps on a bigger screen. If you opt for the TransPhone Pro+ there’s also an optional 10 inch tablet dock. The phones run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and serve as the brains of the tablet when docked.
The phones feature 1500mAh batteries while the tablet docks have 4000mAh batteries of their own.
The Asus PadFone line of products have higher-quality displays, faster processors, and other premium features. But they also have price tags high enough to make you wonder why you wouldn’t just buy a separate phone and tablet and go through the hassle of syncing your apps, media, and other data between the two.