Dell Inspiron Duo review
10.1 in 1,366x768 display, 1.5kg, 1.5GHz Intel Atom N550, 2.00GB RAM, 250GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
We've seen convertible tablets before, although they've never really taken off. However, Dell's decided to have a go at the convertible again with the Inspiron Duo and answer the question of whether people should buy a netbook or tablet with, "have both".
To drum up interest, Dell has used a brand-new method for the conversion process. Rather than having to swivel the screen 180-degrees before folding it flat against the keyboard, the Inspiron Duo has a far easier and cooler method: the screen spins in the bezel. Converting from netbook to tablet takes a couple of seconds, with strong magnets quickly locking the screen into place at both ends of the rotation. It works amazingly well and looks so different that if you do it in public you'll garner interested glances for sure.
This system means that the 10.1in screen is fitted into a fairly wide bezel, making the Inspiron Duo roughly the same size as an 11.3in laptop. This really works in the laptop's favour, as there's more room underneath for a keyboard. With larger keys compared to other 10.1in netbooks, the Inspiron Duo is surprisingly easy and comfortable to type on. We found that we could get up a good speed without making any errors. All of the Chiclet-style keys are in the right place, too, bar the backslash, which sits underneath the Backspace key, although this doesn't take long to get used to.
Controlling the mouse is simple due to the responsive touchpad, which is sunk into metal-effect wrist wrest above two easy-to-reach buttons. While metal-effect may sound a bit rubbish, if we're being honest, Dell has pulled it off brilliantly. Overall, the finish is fantastic and this is one netbook that both sticks out and looks more like a very expensive high-end laptop. The model we reviewed was the standard black version, bought from Dell in the US, but our images are of a bright-red sample machine that was in the building. Currently only the black version is available for sale.