Back when ASUS formally launched the PadFone, it trotted out a handful of accessories to go with it: a keyboard dock, tablet station and even a stylus that doubles as an earpiece. As it turns out, the outfit had even more goodies up its sleeve: we just spotted a PadFone docking monitor hanging out in the ASUS booth here at Computex. For starters, it is what it sounds like: a 27-inch display with a cradle designed specifically to accommodate the PadFone’s dimensions. There are also HDMI, VGA, DVI and four USB 3.0 ports in case you want to use it as a standalone monitor.
When you plug in the handset, the display turns into an all-in-one PC, with Ice Cream Sandwich as your desktop OS. Since the 1920 x 1200 screen isn’t touch-enabled, you’ll have to get used to interacting with Android using only a mouse and keyboard. We’ll admit: we would have preferred to just tap the home button instead of click on it, especially when we were ready to switch apps, but nonetheless, Android makes for an intuitive-enough desktop operating system, what with the home screen full of shortcuts. Funnily enough, even, we felt more comfortable using Android in a desktop setting than we did with Google Chrome OS, which was actually designed with PC form factors in mind. Beyond the user experience, we found ourselves craving a little more pixel density, but we did appreciate the matte finish, which offers wide viewing angles despite the fact that this isn’t an IPS display.
According to an ASUS rep staffing the event, the Docking Monitor will eventually go on sale in the US, though he couldn’t say when or for how much. In the meantime, check out our hands-on photos and quickie demo video.
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