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I finally got a chance to check out the Dell Inspiron Duo at CES last week. the Duo is a convertible tablet-style netbook with a 10 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display which swivels back inside the lid, allowing you to close the laptop and use it like a Windows tablet. The design is certainly both unusual and attractive. But I have to say I wasn’t really blown away.

My biggest complaint is that the Duo is heavy. The computer weighs 3.4 pounds, which is light for a notebook, a bit on the hefty side for a netbook, and pretty heavy for a tablet. It just doesn’t feel like it would comfortable when you hold it in one hand to read web pages, watch movies, or read an eBook.

Also, like other Atom-based tablets I’ve used, it takes a little too long for automatic screen rotation to kick in. You’re left staring at a blank screen when you switch from portrait to landscape mode.

That said, the Duo is still fun to play with, as you can see in the video below:

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6 replies on “Hands-on with the Dell Inspiron Duo convertible tablet”

  1. I actually own one. I bought it primarily for portability– the kind where it’s not too heavy or large to carry in my bag, but I do carry power cable with it. It’s not a cell phone. It’s not going to run all day without power, but it will sit in a coffee shop for two hours while you kill time cruising the internet before .

    It is slow to switch (portrait/landscape), but frankly I rarely use it in portrait mode. And when I do, I’m not switching back and forth frequently, so the lag isn’t a problem.

    It’s not a workhorse, it’s not going to run all day without and power source, it’s not an iPad– it does both more and less than that. Most of it’s appeal is the form factor. I can’t stand any amount of typing without a keyboard, but playing games and watching videos the tablet style is a neat option.

  2. I heard that the battery life sucks on this machine. In that case I really don’t see the point of making this into a supposed “portable” tablet.

    1. Main problem is the battery is not user replaceable without taking the case apart. So in addition to possibly not having long enough run time for portable use you’ll also have to have it serviced to replace the battery when it wears down.

      1. Exactly. The same failings with iPods and iPads, but at least they have good battery life.

        1. Well, the iPad has been reported to go from 10+ hours new to around 6 hours after about 9 months. So it’s mainly the iPods that really last. Not to mention easier to charge 😛

          Windows tablets should really have a active digitizer anyway. The heavy weight is also a significant negative but partly explains the short battery life as a larger battery would also increase the weight significantly, as batteries are the heaviest component and can easily double the weight of this size system.

  3. I was pretty intrigued by this convertible, but as you mentioned it is rather slow in switching. At one point, it looked as though it became disoriented and displayed vertically when it should have done so horizontally. A little disappointing considering…

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