15 Feb Dell Inspiron Duo – The first convertable Windows 7 Tablet
The Inspiron Duo is a convertible netbook with a twist. Normally, to convert a laptop into a tablet, you rotate the whole screen on a hinge before folding it over the keyboard. Instead, the Duo’s screen swivels inside the lid. This is very quick and easy to do, and there’s a hint of magic about it. The screen has to be connected to the motherboard somehow, but the Duo hides it completely!
The Duo has a third set of capabilities as an entertainment centre. Drop the tablet into its JBL Audio Station dock and it works as a digital picture frame, movie player, Skype video phone and bedside alarm clock. It also would look good in the living room, or on an executive desk. More than anything, the Duo comes across as an attractive and functional appliance, almost to the point where you stop thinking about the electronics inside, or even the price.
There are a few drawbacks… Windows 7 has touch capabilities, but that doesn’t mean it works as easily as an Apple iPad. You can use your fingers to operate software designed for the greater precision of a mouse pointer, but it’s not really comfortable on a 10in screen. It’s OK for web browsing in couch-potato mode, but you’ll often want to swivel the screen and use the keyboard instead. That’s why the easy conversion is so important.
The Dell Duo is, at the moment, still more of a convertible with a twist, than an iPad replacement. However, slightly more functional than the Apple iPad within a business environment. The team here at Apex Computing value the functionality of a real computer that offers things such as a physical keyboard, full Microsoft Office, Adobe Flash, multi-tab browsing and fast switching between different user accounts, all of which the Duo offers.