Two months ago to the day, Asus and AT&T revealed the full spec list for the PadFone X —the audacious smartphone/tablet hybrid that marks the line's first crack at the U.S. smartphone market—and on Wednesday, AT&T finally let loose details on when you'll be able to preorder one of the devices. Circle June 6 on your calendars, Android lovers.
Financing comes in several flavors, given today's no-contract-crazed atmosphere. You can pay down the cost of the hardware for $22.92 per month on AT&T's Next 18-month plan or $29.80 per month on the Next 12-month plan, neither of which includes the cost of service. Alternatively, you can get the PadFone X for $200 after agreeing to a usual two-year subsidy plan. That's not bad when you're basically getting a high-end smartphone and a tablet.
AT&T's still not announcing exactly when you should expect a Padfone X to actually land in your hands, however—it's only announcing the preorder date. Laaaaaaame.
But the PadFone X itself is anything but lame—at least on paper. Just to recap, the PadFone X consists of two separate components: A full-featured 5-inch smartphone and a 9-inch tablet, which the phone docks into and actually powers. Yes, the phone functions as the brains for the "dumb" tablet.
Those smarts consist of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage augmented by a microSD card slot. (Good thing, since 16GB won't go far for a phone doubling as a slate.) The PadFone X phone packs 1080p resolution, while the tablet sports a 1920-by-1200 display. Mobile photography buffs should be happy with the phone's 13-megapixel rear shooter, though the phone's 2MP front camera may make selfies a bit low-res, while the tablet's front camera is a mere 1MP.
While that tablet is essentially just an independent touchscreen for the smartphone, it also boosts the PadFone X's battery life, providing a 4990 mAh battery separate from the phone's own 2300 mAh power source. The tablet charges the phone while its docked, and if you want to add yet another form factor to the PadFone X's arsenal, a mobile dock that transforms the device into an impromptu notebook will also be available.
All in all, that's a pretty impressive list of specs for a smartphone. The PadFone line first launched in 2011 and Asus chairman Jonney Shih told PCWorld last July that the hybrid has been welcomed in Asia, but this is the first time a PadFone device has ever landed on U.S. shores. We came away impressed after a brief hands-on with the PadFone X at this year's CES, but will such a unique piece of hardware make waves with U.S. customers weaned on iPhones and Galaxy devices? The price seems right, but we won't know for sure whether the PadFone X will strike a chord with U.S. buyers until sometime after June 6.