Inspiron Duo convertible tablet dated, detailed, and priced

Engadget got some hands on time with Dell’s upcoming Inspiron Duo convertible tablet, and the site has more details about the device, its projected release date, and the expected price tag. The system will be based on Atom underpinnings and rely on the new dual-core N550 CPU for most of its processing. However, Dell is also including a Broadcom Crystal HD decoder chip capable of accelerating hi-def and Flash video playback. Throw in 2GB of RAM and a 250GB hard drive, and the Inspiron starts to look like a premium netbook.

And then the capacitive touch screen flips within the bezel, and you’ve got a tablet. The screen itself is a 10.1″ unit, but rather than sporting a relatively low 1024×600 resolution, it offers 1366×768 pixels. That resolution is normally reserved for screens 11.6″ and larger, so it’s a bit of a novelty on a 10-incher. Folks with poor eyesight might have to increase the default font size to make text easily readable at such a high DPI, though.

In addition to running Windows 7 Home Premium, the Duo features a Stage user interface that pops up automatically when you switch into tablet mode. This reportedly finger-friendly UI borrows heavily from the software included with Dell’s smaller Streak tablet, and it’s said to provide applications for picture, music, and video consumption. An eBook reader seems to be included, too, although there’s no mention of how web surfing is handled when the Duo is configured as a tablet.

Convertibles typically aren’t cheap, and the Duo is no exception. The system will start at $549, and you’ll be able to add a few options, such as a larger hard drive and a speaker dock, to bring the price up to $649. That puts the Duo firmly at the high end of the netbook spectrum, although with tablet functionality and a high-res screen, the system has quite a lot more to offer than the average 10″ Atom. Dell will reportedly begin taking pre-orders this month and start shipping its convertible Inspiron in the first week of December.

Comments closed
    • urbain
    • 9 years ago

    Hey guys, can you do Win7 tablets face off.I’m planning on getting a tablet for Xmas, but I’m really not impressed with the Ipad or any Android Tablets.I want a fully fledged Win7 tablet that can do almost anything an ordinary Win7 PC would do.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    Needs so much to make this a really worth while design choice and not just a gimmick.

    • DrkSide
    • 9 years ago

    This looks like a great idea. The only thing I can’t find is the weight. This will be a deciding factor.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    q[< the Duo features a Stage user interface that pops up automatically when you switch into tablet mode.<]q My bloatware sense is... tingling.

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 9 years ago

    I think this is a great idea. I just wish it had something beefier than an Atom in it when it was connected to the “base” (with the keyboard and trackpad).

    That is, I wish it had a tegra2-ish part in the display for when it was separated, so that it used that as a tablet, then sync’ed automatically with your i3-i5 CPU-based computer when reconnected.

    You could have a customized OS (perhaps Android, perhaps eventually ChromeOS) for the tablet part and when it reconnected to Windows 7, the display switches over while a custom data connection transferred your web pages over to Chrome on Windows 7. Instantly moving your browsing, your videos, or even emails from the tablet to the larger laptop.

    I think i3-i5 is probably too powerful in retrospect, but I think a Bobcat-powered tablet with a Llano laptop part would do well in this regard. Letting hackers hack it so they could have the tablet component run at the same time as the laptop part to create a mini-server that could run in the background with no performance loss to the main laptop (besides battery life and heat production) with easy switching between the two “computers” on the same display would also be awesome for specialized uses.

      • DrkSide
      • 9 years ago

      I think you are misunderstanding the concept. It does not “detach” to become a slate but the screen simply turns around. Sort of like some of the other tables where the screen swivels and then closes with the lid on the keyboard.

        • NeelyCam
        • 9 years ago

        Maybe it /[

    • mcnabney
    • 9 years ago

    Might actually be interested with Bobcat inside.

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      Might actually be interested with CULV inside.

        • srg86
        • 9 years ago

        +1 for CULV, I’ve been looking at these processors for a little while.

    • Skrying
    • 9 years ago

    Battery life?

      • ImSpartacus
      • 9 years ago

      Pfff, the denizens don’t care about battery life, ergo it will probably pack a small 3-cell battery that will push 3 hours or so. I hope I’m wrong and it destroys netbooks across the board on longevity, but idk…

      Right now I’m surrounded by students that all have 15.6″ $300 walmart laptops. They all have to plug in at every stop. They use their battery like a UPS or something, I swear.

      Sometimes, I think use battery life minded people are as rare as those who value quality LCDs.

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        I value battery, Have a culv that gets 8-9 easy. However, I don’t give a rats about screen. or sound. GPU battery and i’m good to go!

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 9 years ago

        People care. They just don’t realize that some laptops get 2 hours of battery and some get 10. It’s mostly the OEMs’ and stores’ faults. They just don’t make a point of using battery life as an advertisement.

        If they did, they’d be telling everyone to buy cheaper computers with slower CPUs. Every other computer manufacturer has proved they’re no Apple and all they can handle is playing numbers games.

          • StuG
          • 9 years ago

          I plug in everytime I can when I’m in class. I can get about 4 hours out of my laptop’s batter, but when I have the option I take the battery out and just run from the wall charge.I find that this really helps to keep the battery healthy, as well as giving me better performance since I am not running off the battery. Plugging into the wall when possible makes the most sense 😛

            • OneArmedScissor
            • 9 years ago

            I think that’s perfectly reasonable and I’d do the same, as I really don’t need a battery very often.

            But if laptops could get 20 hours of battery, would you care? I’d be happier with a smaller one that I could easily carry around all over the place if I just didn’t have to think about plugging it in or degrading the battery, much as is the case with cell phones.

            It’s not impossible. There are run of the mill Windows laptops that get 12 hours of battery life. I’m hoping and praying “smartbooks” turn everything upside down and get the ball rolling in the direction laptops should have been going a long time ago.

            • Skrying
            • 9 years ago

            I see people doing this and it confuses me. First… I don’t really see what people are doing that needs greater performance. Chrome doesn’t slow down, Office doesn’t slow down and even light editing in Photoshop doesn’t slow down (which I was doing in class earlier today).

            I’m also a bit at a loss of why you’d want to carry around the power adapter. It’s just more in my already full back pack.

            So yeah… I have a laptop because it makes life a bit more convenient. Carrying around a power adapter is opposite of that.

            On a semi-related note I saw a kid pull out of those 17″ HP laptops today. It was hilariously big.

            • paulWTAMU
            • 9 years ago

            my former boss got one for her work trips.
            When she quit the first thing her replacment did was get a 10″ netbook.

            Personally I’d have told them to find a 12 or 13″ laptop as something that’s more useable but much more portable…but hey, they ask my advice, they ignore it. that’s how it goes :p

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    Even at those prices, I’d probably prefer this to a generic Atom netbook. But I’m going to wait to see what /[

      • sweatshopking
      • 9 years ago

      well, i’d wait until I get a windows phone 7 tablet.

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