When it was first announced during the Intel Developers Forum, the Dell Inspiron Duo immediately garnered plenty of attention. How can it not, after all, with the unusually novel form factor?
Sure, we've seen netbook and tablet convertibles before. Every model before this one, however, used the same swiveling design that required you to twist the entire upper half of the notebook before clamping back down for tablet mode. Instead of following the same path, the hybrid computer uses a flip around screen that not only looks fantastic, it allowed Dell keep the whole thing more streamlined, too.
Like so many netbooks, the Dell Inspiron Duo sports a 10.1-inch LCD (1,366 x 768 resolution) that can function like a regular display during netbook use. However, the screen also packs capacitive multi-touch abilities, allowing it to be friendly to taps and swipes during tablet mode. Granted, Windows 7's UI will probably give your fingers hell (it ships with a stylus), but that's why Dell threw in its duo Stage software, a finger-friendlier interface with its own set of touch-optimized applications. The UI's focus is on multimedia, though, so if you're hoping to have an easy time typing on Word in tablet mode, you might as well burst that bubble now.
Specs include a 1.5 GHz dual-core Atom N550, 2GB of RAM, a 250GB HDD, an HD accelerator for 720p playback, WiFi, a 1.3MP webcam, digital microphone, a pair of USB ports and a 3.5mm jack. Along with the hybrid computer, Dell is also selling the duo Audio Station, a JBL-branded speaker dock for use with the machine while in tablet mode. Aside from the speakers, it comes with two extra USB ports, a 7-in-1 card reader and an Ethernet adapter (the computer itself doesn't have one).
The Dell Inspiron Duo is available now, priced at $549 (computer only) and $649 (with the dock in tow).