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back to article Dell Inspiron Duo

Devices that try to reconcile the essentially irreconcilable often come a cropper. As the Good Book says, “Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Trying to combine the best of the netbook with the best of the tablet is what Dell’s new Inspiron Duo is all about, but does it work as …

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Silver badge

I'm quite interested in this sort of thing

This kind of device is a definite interest for me - a tablet that you can still easily create with when needed. The weight doesn't bother me much, but the killer in this one is the battery life. For a modern laptop/tablet/mobile anything, that's just really crap.

Once Linux spins get up to date with all the multitouch niceness, a device of this nature running a custom spin would be very nice.

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Hel

I'd wait for the second iteration

I own one. pre-ordered it, actually. You're right about the battery life, and the reviewer is right about the lack of ports. If Dell makes a second iteration, you can bet those 2 issues will be addressed. What I'm interested in is a spin of Android 3.0 for it. There's a build of Android 2.1 for it that boots almost instantly, and is quite snappy, and would be perfect for use for a quick webbrowser. Anything more, windows 7 loads in about a minute.

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The trouble you have here

is that when you have an Atom + Windows combo, the only way to improve battery life is to put even bigger bateries in it. The thing is already heavy and expensive so these issues are only going to get worse,

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Gold badge

Too slow

Yeah but compare it to a tablet. With a tablet you can open an app and it'll take 10 seconds tops, often it will appear instantly. On this thing 10-20 seconds? that's rather tedious to say the least.

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so...

it's expensive, heavy and lacking ports and supposedly a tablet/ netbook alternative?

I think I'll pass.

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FAIL

Worst of both worlds

Too heavy for a tablet.

Not expandable enough for a netbook.

Too poor a battery life for both. Well done Dell, another corker to go alongside the Streak of P***

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Boffin

Hmm

Seen this kind of device before i.e HP tc4400, always found with the added weight most people wouldn't bother using the tablet functions and instead used them as a laptop.

I do wonder how the screen surround would react if its dropped, it looks like a weak point to me that could easily right it off. Still some people do actual like and use these devices and there is nothing wrong with having a choice.

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For speech recognition I chose something faster.

Namely, HP TouchSmart TM2-1010 (EA). The screen turns on an axle in the centre of the long edge to become a tablet. I haven't done much with it yet, but it's pretty good, and apparently roughly 50 per cent faster at processing than this Dell thing is. But heavier (I think) and more expensive. And less fun.

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looks less fun

but is a whole lot more - 256 levels of touch sensitivity with the built in wacom digitiser and pen?

HDMI out too with out docking station and up to 7 hours battery life (and it does come close to this).

Do I need to mention th 4gb ram and free external dvd writer?

They cost about 550 now so it's a much better deal then this franky one trick pony Dell. I bought one last year and love it.

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pffff

fail, i will keep my chunky but very fast touchsmart tx2z, its bigger heavier but i can actually use it due to having a proper laptop CPU and 4 GB of ram

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Paris Hilton

Think I'll get a Latitude 2120

I've had mixed feelings about this concept ever since it was announced: nice trick, but is it worth it?

I guess we can all figure it by ourselves now...

Oh, well, think I'll get a Latitude 2120. That large bottom is so sexy!

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Nice try

But that Asus tablet with the slide out keyboard sounds more appealing, assuming it delivers the goods.

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Hel

Finally, a level-headed review of the Duo

(Full disclosure -- I own one.)

Good job, Reg! Every review of the Duo I read either comes at it as if it were a tablet, and says it's too bulky, or as a laptop and says it's not powerful enough. It's neither.

Yes, the battery is terrible. Yes, it needs video out (at least). Yes, it's a bit awkward to use as a tablet. Yes, you should remove all Dell-branded software before you do anything else with it. Everything other issue mentioned has been a non-issue for me.

There's several different marks that hardware is designed to hit (desktop replacement, laptop, netbook, tablet), and the Duo hits right between several of these. If you think of it as a very nice netbook with a gimmicky screen, it starts to make sense. Also, that touchscreen works in laptop-mode, too, which comes in useful in several cases.

If Dell can address the 4 problems I've mentioned (or just the first 3 -- I'll be removing their software anyway) in the next version, they'll have a real winner.

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balmer...

I recently saw on BBC Click a video of Steve Balmer trying to use Win7 on a touch screen, as part of his sales pitch to Spencer Kelly. He couldn't use it, everything seemed clunky and difficult to press. So, no thanks Windows, maybe 8 will work better as a touch screen OS?

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Why wait?

There are some good touch screen implementations around, they're just no Windows.

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Re Balmer

He probably needs opposable digits first.

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Coffee/keyboard

Please miss, can I have a new keyboard

Truly excellent.

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Happy

@Rich 30: On Win 7's limitations

I have to say that I agree about the limitations of a tab loaded with Win 7 (that is of course part of the reason for the appalling battery life), it is not a touch screen os and no amount of "skinning" from any of the OEMs will achieve very much. For those wanting a Windows based tab they are just going to have to wait and see what the Win 8 (ARM) os is like. That should (combined with decent and appropriate hardware, natch) address the user friendliness issues with regard to touch and (I hope) battery life. If it does not then I am afraid MS can kiss the tab market goodbye - which would be a pity since a genuine workhorse tab (as well as the current sofa/horizontal/cup-of-tea/content consumption tabs) would also have a place in the market. All about choice and all that. When and if they market tabs that are *both* replacement *and* supplement devices (such that I can wave my HP lappie bye-bye) I will be entirely willing to pony up serious readies.

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Thank you

I was just about to put my hand in my pocket to order one these.

No video out - What were they thinking ?

But the deal breaker is the battery !

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FAIL

Stopped reading...

... when I saw the battery life.

Epic.

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Re

This. I came right to the comments to begin laughing.

"Longer bars are better"

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Wrong platform

The very same thing with a Tegra 2 CPU and Android 3.x could be great. With an Atom CPU and Windows 7 on the other hand... bad idea.

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Please use graphs that start from zero

The "Memory" comparison graph, for example, doesn't start from zero in the horizontal axis, giving the false first-glance impression that the Toshiba is ten times faster than the Samsung in terms of memory speed. But many readers may miss the fact that the values are actually very close together, even between max and min (2488 versus 2139). You might say that discerning readers can tell the difference, but aren't graphs designed to provide immediate visual cues about relative numerical values? If the "Memory" chart had started from zero instead of 2100 in the horizontal axis, it would take only one second to tell that the five notebooks are closely grouped together. For those wanting finer distinctions, these same zero-start graphs will do just fine, or just read the numbers.

Just my small contribution to make a great web publication better.

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totally agree

^this

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Re

Seconded

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Coat

mmm ......

.... deck chair meets notebook disaster, run .....

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Fail

Too thick, screen too small. Fail.

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Heart

Dell Inspiron 1545

Del insprion good laptop. http://driverswin.com/dell-inspiron-1545-windows-7-drivers/ for higt performance new driver

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