The Padfone X has some real added value right out of the box. You can make use of your smartphone in more ways because it will dock into a tablet. Suddenly that 5-inch phone become a glorious 9-inch screen. That alone gives you a lot more enjoyment. Want more from your Padfone X? Perhaps the keyboard dock is also something you want to consider.
First, the price. It’s going to cost you $99 USD. For that price you are essentially getting a customized fitting Bluetooth keyboard for your Padfone X Station tablet. In other words, the keyboard is pretty bare bones and doesn’t have any extra battery like the original Padfone keyboard. It does come with a small battery, but that is simply to provide power for the Bluetooth 3.0 connection. Officially, it is said that the 450mAh battery is good for up to one month of use between charges. It is of high-quality aluminum construction according to Asus and AT&T. So for $99 you can basically convert this device into a laptop/netbook. On the surface that seems like a pretty good idea.
The weight of the Padfone X keyboard is 1.7 pounds. Is that shocking? It shouldn’t be. The fact is Asus has already had a 3-in-1 Padfone (the original Padfone) and they have some basis for designing it differently for the newest model. One factor of course is the tipping point. The keyboard is the base and with the Station and phone together, the weight is “top heavy”. Therefore the Padfone X keyboard needs to be weighted just right so that the user experience is sturdy and solid.
So to summarize how much a Padfone X laptop would weigh?
1.7 lb (keyboard) + .33 lb (phone) + 1.13 lb (tablet) = 3.16 lbs
Let’s compare this weight to 10 inch laptops on the market today.
- Asus X102BA 10-inch laptop with 3-cell battery: 2.4 lbs
- Asus Transformer Book T100 10-inches: 2.3 lbs
- Asus Eee PC 1025CE 10-inches: 2.76 lbs
- Asus Eee PC 1015PN 10-inches: 2.76 lbs
So yes, clearly the Padfone X in laptop mode outweighs the other products that Asus has in a similar size. I would suggest that anything around 3 lbs is very much mobile and respectable. Again, the reason for the weight is because there is a need for balance and stability. That was more of a priority than having a light keyboard. If you consider the X102BA weight, it has only a 3-cell battery which is small compared to a typical 6-cell battery. The T100 is 2.3 pounds, but it’s only a tablet and keyboard dock. Where’s the phone? So the point is that it’s best to know about the Padfone X laptop weight before you buy it, but understand that it’s not “heavy”. A few years ago in technology and laptops 3.16 pound would be “light”.
Is the Padfone X keyboard comfortable to type on?
Here is the reality. This is not a full QWERTY keyboard. Through the netbook era, the 10-inch form factor was just big enough to allow for a full standard keyboard. Yes, smaller keys, but the keys were where you would expect them to be.
So what about the Padfone X keyboard that’s 9-inches and not 10-inches? Obviously there are some compromises.
This keyboard is for Android so there are new keys required. You can see some of those keys in these images:
So added keys include things like, “back”, “options”, “home” among others. However what is very noticeable is that the quotation key and the apostrophe key are odd. How so? If you look at the image above, you can see that the quotation key is showing the ” in blue, in the lower right corner of the key. The apostrophe is located on the L key, in blue, in the lower right corner of the key. Essentially what this means is that you will use the “Fn” key (see photo below) to use the apostrophe or quotation mark. An adjustment you will need to make, but as you can see the “Fn” key is very near the shift key.
High Resolution Images – Padfone X Mobile Dock (click image to enlarge)