First Look – Dell Inspiron Duo

Dell's fliptastic laptop-slash-tablet is coming by Christmas. We sneaked an early look

This is Dell's new take on the tablet. Like an Atom-hearted, Windows 7 Transformer, it can morph from netbook to tablet in the blink of an eye. And back. But what's it actually like?

Deceptively, the Duo looks like any other netbook. Well, quite a fat netbook. But crack it open and...

... it still looks like a netbook. While we're on the not so interesting bit, this one is marlin blue (apparently). Other fancy colour schemes available are foggy night (we think grey) and fastback red.

Here we go. The screen rotates 180 degrees on its hinges (hence the thickness). What was once a netbook becomes...

Wait for it...

... it's a tablet! Amazing, no? Okay, not really. But Dell has thought it through. Rather than the convertible tablet PCs of old that tried to run plain old Windows on the touch panel, the Duo has a finger-friendly Stage skin that concentrates of tabletty jobs like multimedia and browsing.

And there's an optional charging dock, too, with JBL-powered sound and a 7-in-1 card reader (oddly). If you've been hanging round for the spec, it goes something like this: 10.1in capacative multi-touch screen, Windows 7 Home Premium, 1.3MP webcam, 1.5GHz dual core Atom processor, 250GB HDD (upgradeable to 320GB) and 2GB DDR3 RAM. It'll cost £450 and will be available by Christmas.

What do you think? Can Dell's tablet oddity forge a niche in a world of keyless slates? Or will it be consigned to the museum of gadget curios? Tell us in the comments.

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