Asus unveils PadFone X for AT&T alongside affordable ZenFone line. PadFone Mini coming to the US
Asus is one of those companies that like to announce dozens of new devices at once, and this time around is no different. At its event at CES 2014, Asus brought us a whole new line of smartphones, and a new smartphone that docks into a tablet. It’s also announced US availability for yet another device.
The PadFone X is Asus’ latest flagship PadFone – that is, a smartphone that comes with a tablet dock that it can be tucked into. Unfortunately, Asus hasn’t been very forthcoming with specs for this device. What we do know is that the phone features a 5-inch 1080p Full HD touchscreen, and the tablet dock comes with a 9-inch touchscreen. As with previous PadFones, the tablet dock has a battery which charges the phone’s battery.
The PadFone X runs Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box, and has support for NFC and 4G LTE. The device will be an exclusive to AT&T in the US, though pricing and a release time frame have not been announced yet.
Next up, a quick note: the PadFone Mini that was announced about a month ago will be released in the US, and it will cost $249. The specs have been changed slightly, though, compared to what was unveiled in Taiwan in December. The US-bound PadFone Mini still comes with a 4-inch phone and a 7-inch tablet dock, but the phone’s resolution is 800×480 and not 960×540, and the processor powering it is a 1.6 GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2560 (no more Snapdragon). The internal storage has been cut in half to 8 GB from 16 GB. All of that was done, we assume, in order to reach the $249 price. When exactly the PadFone Mini will be in stores is unclear for now.
Asus also launched an entirely new range of smartphones today – the ZenFones. These come in three sizes, and they’re all incredibly cheap.
The ZenFone 4 has a 4-inch 480×800 touchscreen, a 5 MP rear camera, a 0.3 MP front camera, a 1.2 GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2520 processor, 1 GB of RAM, and a 1,170 mAh battery. It runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with an Asus skin called ZenUI on top. The battery capacity is certainly tiny, but consider that this thing will be priced at $99 – sans contract.
The ZenFone 5 has a 5-inch 720p IPS touchscreen, a 2 GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2580 processor, 1 GB of RAM, an 8 MP rear camera, dual-SIM support, 42 Mbps HSPA+, 4 GB of internal storage, microSD card support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a 2,050 mAh battery. It also runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with the same UI on top. This model will start at $149, believe it or not – contract-free too.
The ZenFone 6 has a 6-inch 720p HD touchscreen, a 2 GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2580 processor, 1 GB or 2 GB of RAM, 8 GB or 16 GB of internal storage, a 13 MP rear camera, the same connectivity options as the ZenFone 5, and a 3,240 mAh battery. The same OS version is running the show. The biggest ZenFone will be priced from $199 without the need to commit to a specific carrier.
Unfortunately, none of the ZenFones has 4G LTE support, so they may not be released in the US.