Remember the Dell Inspiron Duo flip tablet netbook hybrid we told you was coming soon? We've just had some proper hands-on time with the dinky device, as well as the key specs, and are here to give you the good, the bad and the not so ugly.
With the suddenly rejuvenated interest in tablets thanks largely to Apple's iPad, there are a lot of contenders already on the market. We've previously looked at the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and will be bringing you a full review of the ViewPad 7 later this week. But what if you want the convenience of a tablet with the keyboard and functionality of a laptop? Aside from full-blown laptop options like the HP TouchSmart tm2 or underpowered netbooks like Asus' T91, there's no option between the two – until now. Because despite being based on an Intel Atom processor, the Inspiron Duo is a far cry from your average netbook!
For one thing, the Atom CPU is of the dual core variety, an N550 running its cores at 1.5GHz. On its own that wouldn't make it an al-singing, all dancing multimedia machine, for as we saw when we reviewed the Samsung NF210, productivity, 720p video and HD Flash reaped benefits, but Full HD (1080p) video was still unplayable. However, though the graphics card of choice here is still Intel's weak integrated solution, it's backed by an HD acceleration chip which allows smooth playback of even the most intensive material.
Dell hasn't wasted this power on a low resolution screen either. While most netbooks and tablets with 10.1in screens sport a sub-HD 1,024 x 600 panel, the Duo proudly features 1,366 x 768 pixels, giving you more desktop real estate and letting you watch 720p material in all its glory.
Video and general productivity are further aided by 2GB of DDR3 RAM, double what you'll find on most netbooks and enough for the installed version of Windows 7 Home Premium to run comfortably. And though the 250GB, 5,400rpm hard drive is less ambitious, you can at least upgrade this to a 320GB, 7,200rpm model (though unfortunately an SSD is not yet an option). Naturally, a webcam and microphone are built in as standard, while wireless duties are capably handled by Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth.