The Asus Padfone caused quite a stir when it was first unveiled.
A two-devices-in-one product that saw a phone clip into a larger shell to become a tablet was the height of innovation. However, Asus had real difficulties bringing the product to market and while it did finally go on sale in small numbers in Taiwan, the company has now launched version two without us ever seeing it on the shelves in the UK.
If you’re interested in the idea, though, maybe the Transphone is worth a look. It’s built along similar lines to the Padfone but is not the cheap clone you might be imagining – it was developed by the man who invented the USB key, and the company holds three patents relating to the concept.
In its current form the Transphone is very much built on entry-level lines. It’s a Gingerbread phone with a basic low-res, 3.5-inch display with ‘off-the-shelf’ specs (800Mhz processor) and build quality. The tablet part of the device is purely a shell, housing a seven-inch screen and a battery that can be set to charge the phone as well. The ‘Trans’ mechanism works surprisingly well.
Flip the phone into the back of the tablet and it immediately switches on the tablet display and within just a few seconds you are working away on the larger device. The problem is that the screen resolution is the same 480 x 800 pixels as on the phone, so instead of getting the true benefit of a tablet, you are merely left with a blown-up version of what you had before.
You have to restart the application you were using previously, too, so it’s not a seamless step in your workflow. The Transphone does not become a great productivity device, then, but for some tasks like playing and streaming video or using satnav, these issues are less important.
The Transphone costs £350, and is enjoyably gadgety. The general lack of polish and refinement means we wouldn’t recommend it to anyone more accustomed to using a device from a more renowned manufacturer, but the performance is more than respectable when compared to the budget end of the market.
So for someone new to Android – or anyone who enjoys playing with quirky gadgets – it may be a relatively inexpensive way to discover what these devices are capable of.
Win this Transphone!
For your chance to win a Transphone, simply choose the correct answer below:
Competition closes 17 December 2012.