The Dell Inspiron Duo
Tablet-Netbook Convertible

The Dell Inspiron Duo <br />Tablet-Netbook Convertible

Would you rather have a tablet or netbook computer? That can be a tough choice. Do you choose a built-in keyboard or a touchscreen? Mobiles apps or a full operating system?

Dell doesn’t want you to have to choose. Instead, they sought to offer the best of both worlds in their new device: the Dell Inspiron Duo convertible.

When folded open, the Inspiron Duo looks like a notebook. It acts like one too, running a full version of Windows 7 Home Premium. Then fold down the top, flip the screen open, and the Inspiron Duo becomes a touchscreen tablet PC running a mobile version of Windows 7.

Here’s Spot Cool Stuff’s take on the pros and cons of this netbook-tablet computer:

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible

The Pros

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible The design! The Dell Inspiron duo convertible converts easily between netbook and tablet modes.

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible The flip mechanism is sturdy. The entire device feels rugged and of a high build quality.

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible The 10.1″ screen is above average, producing a display more crisp than it’s high 1366 x 768 resolution suggests.

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible While the camera is only 1.3MP, it’s high quality, certainly sufficient for Skype video chats.

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible Speaking of Skype, the built-in microphone is works surprisingly well, as does the voice recognition functionality.

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible When it has enough processing power to fully operate it (see “Cons,” below) the touchscreen is responsive and easy-to-use.

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible The keyboard is great—technically 95% the size of a full keyboard but doesn’t feel cramped.

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible It comes standard with a 320GB hard drive (7,200 rpm) and 2GB of RAM—that’s not amazing but it is sufficient.

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible Because the screen can fold inwards towards the screen, you needn’t buy a case for the duo as you would for other tablets.

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible The US$550 price is very reasonable—more than a similarly speced netbooks but less than a tablet PC and much less than a netbook + tablet.

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible


tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible
tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible
tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible
tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible

The Cons

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible It’s underpowered. The dual-core Atom N550 processor (1.5GHz/1MB cache) can’t smoothly execute tasks like photo editing or online game playing. Urg.

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible The 30W battery. Supposedly good for 3 1/2 hours, we found only around 2 hours 45 minutes of usable time between charges. Worse, the battery isn’t user replaceable; you can’t easily upgrade to a more powerful one.

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible The mobile version of Windows 7 is not elegant. Definitely inferior to Android. Unlike the iPad OS, it does at least run Adobe Flash.

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible The Duo weighs 3.4 pounds (1.54 kg) and is 1.13 inches (29 mm) thick, making it clunky compared to other netbooks.

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible There’s no on-board optical drive, Ethernet connector or memory card reader, and only two USB slots. For more expandability you really need to buy . . .

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible . . . the audio dock. It is well designed, but expensive at $100. The JBL speakers on the dock are sub-optimal.

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible

The Dell Inspiron Duo vs Lenovo Ideapad S10-3t

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible The Lenovo Ideapad S10-3t is the only other mass-market tablet-netbook hybrid on the market today.

The Lenovo is $50 cheaper, a half pound lighter and includes a card reader. However, it has many of the same drawbacks as the Inspiron Duo—including sluggish performance and short battery life—plus a few new ones. The Ideapad S10-3t doesn’t have bluetooth and only a 250GB hard drive. Most concerning of all: the turn-and-flip mechanism that converts the Lenovo from netbook to tablet feels very flimsy to us; we wouldn’t trust it to survive in prolonged rugged conditions.

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible

Our Verdict

The Dell Inspiron Duo convertible has an undeniably cool look. The screen flip mechanism is smart and the whole device is well built and designed. From the moment we saw the Duo convertible we really wanted to love this netbook-tablet hybrid.

Unfortunately, this love is not meant to be.

As a notebook, the Inspiron Duo convertible is too sluggish to use every day on processor-intensive applications. We’d rather have a Samsung NF310-A01 (which is cheaper than the Duo) or an 11-inch MacBook Air (which is more expensive but oh-so-sweet!). Both of those are lighter, more powerful and offer longer battery life than the Duo. Then again, neither have a touchscreen.

As a tablet, Dell’s Inspiron Duo convertible is done an injustice by the Window 7′s touchscreen software, which is clearly inferior to Android or the iPad OS. That issue could be solved with a software update (which we think and hope will happen soon). But a change of software will not make the relatively heavy and thick Duo more portable. For a tablet we’d rather have a Galaxy Tab or Apple iPad. When paired with a bluetooth keyboard both of those can be used as something like a netbook. But either run a full Windows OS.

It is the hybrid functionality that, along with the design, makes us like the Dell Inspiron Duo convertible. There are certainly circumstances for which the Duo would do well. Traveling on an airplane you could work on a PowerPoint presentation in netbook mode and then read an ebook in tablet mode. At university you could find your way to a coffee shop in tablet mode and then finish up a paper in netbook mode. And so on.

The key to being happy with your choice of the Dell Inspiron Duo convertible is setting your expectations a little low. Yes, you are getting some of the best features of both a tablet and a netbook. You are also getting some of the worst.

published: 7 April 2011
tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible

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tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible


tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible
tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible
tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible

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Acer vs Asus Netbooks
The Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet ← crossover convertible

tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible
tablet computers laptop  The Dell Inspiron Duo <br>Tablet Netbook Convertible


Responses

  1. james braselton says:

    May 5th, 2012at 10:12 pm(#)

    hi there give me a 256 gb solid state flash drive and i am in

    [Reply to this comment]

  2. schill39 says:

    March 27th, 2012at 2:42 am(#)

    The tablet looks good. Its just a matter of conceptualizing to make it better and the battery should be enhanced so that it could be used longer.

    computer tablet reviews guru
    schill39 recently posted..Apple’s New Ipad Shipping to be DelayedMy Profile

    [Reply to this comment]

  3. xunanu says:

    January 3rd, 2012at 10:54 am(#)

    I own now a LENOVO tablet for about 3 months, but the last 2 months has been in the repair centre. I am so disapponted …

    [Reply to this comment]

  4. Dan says:

    April 12th, 2011at 3:49 am(#)

    The Dell tablet/netbook looks pretty good. It was a matter of time until companies tried to unify the 2 concepts.

    [Reply to this comment]

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