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Dell Inspiron Duo 10.1-inch Convertible Netbook PC

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Dell Inspiron Duo 10.1-inch Convertible Netbook

Dell Inspiron Duo

©Dell Inc.

The Bottom Line

Feb 10 2011 - For those looking to get a netbook with a touchscreen, the Dell Inspiron Duo is a very attractive and unique system. The high resolution 10-inch multitouch display function well but the software really could use more than a netbook processor. It does come with more memory and hard drive space than similarly equipped netbook and can in some instances playback HD video. There are numerous problems with the design though including below average running times and limited peripheral ports that make it a tough sell for many users.
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Pros

  • Responsive Touchscreen
  • Innovative Design
  • More Memory And Hard Drive Space

Cons

  • Touch Software Really Needs Faster Processor
  • Below Average Battery Life
  • Limited Peripheral Ports

Description

  • Intel Atom N550 Dual Core Mobile Processor
  • 2GB PC3-6400 DDR3
  • 320GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • 10.1" WXGA (1366x768) Multitouch LED Backlit Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
  • Intel GMA 3150 Integrated Graphics
  • 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
  • Two USB 2.0, SIM Card
  • 11.2" x 7.7" x 1.1" @ 3.4 lbs.
  • Windows 7 Home Premium

Guide Review - Dell Inspiron Duo 10.1-inch Convertible Netbook PC

Feb 10 2011 - Dell's Inspiron Duo made a huge splash when first shown off. It is unique among netbooks by having a screen that can be rotated within the bezel so that it can convert from a traditional netbook to a tablet computer. This functions extremely well as Dell has done an excellent job of manufacturing it so that it feels sturdy yet rotates smoothly. The touchscreen is also quite responsive which is surprising for its price. Even though it the typical 10.1-inch screen size, it features a higher 1366x768 resolution.

<>To make the touchscreen feature work properly, Dell has used the full Windows 7 Home Premium software. On top of this, they also include their Stage software interface that loads automatically in the tablet configuration. The problem is that even the Intel Atom N550 dual core processor and 2GB of DDR3 memory have trouble dealing with the interface. It certainly makes it more convenient to open the applications than the standard start menu but it just slows things down too much.

One additional benefit from using the Windows 7 Home Premium license is Dell is free of the memory and storage restrictions. As mentioned above, it features 2GB of memory but it also comes with a larger 320GB hard drive that provides more space than the typical 250GB drives in current netbooks. On the other hand, there are a limited number of peripheral ports on the exterior of the Inspiron Duo. It does not have any flash card slot, Ethernet port or graphics port. There are also only two USB ports compared to the typical three.

In order to keep the size relatively small, Dell relies on an internal four cell battery pack with a limited 29WHr capacity for the Inspiron Duo. This combined with some high performance parts means it isn't going to have the same level of running time as typical netbooks. In video streaming tests, the Inspiron Duo was only able to run roughly two and three quarter hours before going into standby mode. This is more typical of a small, low cost netbook than something that costs $500 and will certainly be something that will deter some.

While the touchscreen features are nice, many people will probably still use it in a traditional netbook style with keyboard and trackpad. The keyboard design of the Inspiron Duo uses a layout design similar to their Inspiron M101z with isolated keys and a matte finish. It is very comfortable and easy to use. The trackpad while fairly small skips the rocker bar design that many companies have switched to and instead uses individual right and left buttons.

Finally, there is the price. With a base price of $550, the Inspiron Duo is certinaly expensive for a netbook but relatively inexpensive for a touchscreen system. It costs less than a tablet like the iPad but has a bit more flexibility. Because of this, the price is within reason but if you won't be using the touchscreen features, there are certainly much more affordable options.

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