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Asus Padfone, Station, and Stylus Headset: hands-on video, pictures and impressions

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We deliver our first impressions and photos of Asus' new Padfone, the cellphone which can transform into both a tablet and a notebook.

Asus padfone hands hero
Asus padfone hands hero

Here it is: the modular, transformative, Asus Padfone, in what we're fairly confident is in its final form. The 4.3-inch device on its own is actually pretty nice — decently thin with a nice texture on the back cover. The screen is bright and fairly snappy.Other than the 3.5mm headphone jack on top, all ports and connectors hug the left side of the phone. Which is important, of course, for its tablet dock, the Padfone Station. The lip that houses the smartphone sticks out farther than the rest of the chassis, with just one air hole for the camera to see through. The aesthetic is familiar to the Transformer Pad (née Eee Pad Transformer) series, and in fact I'm pretty sure it uses the same keyboard dock as the Transformer Pad Prime. As Asus puts it, that's three devices with one SIM. The Power Rangers will be thrilled.

What won't be familiar is the Stylus Headset. Unlike the commonly-used hard plastic tips, Asus' electronic pen uses a soft, rubbery ball that'll squish on impact. It's responsive, to be sure, but requires a bit more pressure than you might be used to. We tried it on one app that let us sketch large symbols on the screen that it would then shrink and add as a "hieroglyph" of sorts on faux-lined paper. (Look for this app in future science fiction movies about creatures from another world trying to take notes on our whereabouts in their alien language.) And as Asus' Jonney Shih so energetically demonstrated on stage, the stylus can also be used as a headset when you get a phone call. Talk into the pen, talk into the pen...