Dell Inspiron duo – A convertible unlike any other

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Since its debut earlier this year during the 2010 Intel Developer Forum, the Inspiron duo convertible tablet has created an incredible amount of buzz on the web. I bet many of you may have already checked out the preview video on our Dell YouTube channel. It’s now the second-most viewed video there.

I was able to take the duo for a spin/flip over the weekend and quickly realized that it is more than just a tablet, it felt more like a multimedia computing device. For kids, the Inspiron duo is great for play as a touch tablet, flip the screen and it’s ready to help Mom and Dad organize their calendars. Students, can watch videos or listen to music on their way to class before flipping the screen for taking lecture notes or writing a term paper in laptop mode.

Travelers will love the Inspiron duo for watching movies or surfing the internet in tablet mode. With a flip, you can organize itineraries, write blog posts or manage photos and music with a full keyboard in the PC mode with pre-installed Windows 7 Home Premium.

Additionally, a built in Web-cam, integrated Wi-Fi and optional connectivity choices such as a Bluetooth and 4G mobile broadband option make it even easier than ever to stay in touch with friends and family.

Inspiron duo convertible tablet

The Inspiron duo, loaded with Windows 7 Home Premium and a dual-core processor, starts at $549*, $649 with optional dock, and is available today on Dell.com in the United States, and in the United Kingdom on Dec. 2 on www.dell.co.uk. Through the holiday season, Inspiron duo is also available in retail, exclusively at Microsoft Stores and on www.store.microsoft.com. Availability in other regions will be announced soon.

Dell Inspiron duo Specifications

  • 10.1-inch HD (1366×768) display with capacitive multi-touch and HD accelerator for smooth HD playback; flips from touch to type
  • Windows 7 Home Premium installed
  • Dell duo Stage software
  • Integrated 1.3MP Webcam and digital microphone
  • Intel Atom N550 dual core processor (1.5GHz)
  • 250GB, 5400 RPM hard drive with 320GB, 7200 RPM options (vary by region)
  • 2GB** RAM DIMM DDR3 800MHz
  • Additional details provided at product availability

duo Stage: The Perfect Keep-In-Touch Interface

Dell’s new user interface, duo Stage, makes using the Inspiron duo in tablet mode even better. Dell duo Stage lets families and students quickly access their favorite content as well as a collection of creative applications.

The new interface presents instant access to collections of music, photos, videos, games, e-books** and other applications. For instance:

  • Touching the MusicStage tile reveals an individual’s personal music collection.
  • The VideoStage organizes personal videos and downloaded TV shows and movies and gives people the ability to purchase or rent content directly from partners like CinemaNow in the United States.
  • The PhotoStage includes integrated social networking capabilities through Facebook and Flickr so people can upload their latest photos or view pictures of their friends.
  • BookStage provides a central location for storing and purchasing e-books (available in the U.S. and U.K.).

For even more fun and versatility, we fully recommend the optional $99 Inspiron duo Audio Station dock with 7 in 1 card reader and JBL speakers, two additional USB 2.0 ports and an Ethernet adapter, which charges battery while displaying photos or digital alarm clock.

Inspiron duo  in JBL dock

Having had a chance to get hands on with the Inspiron duo over the weekend, the word from the Byrd family is “Wow!” Watching videos – or listening to your music collection while a photo gallery from your Facebook friends cycle on the screen, is an absolutely incredible experience. Collectively, big thumbs up!

For more discussion on the Dell Inspiron duo online, check out this link on Techmeme.

Feel free to share your thoughts or questions here. You can follow me @ChrisBatDell on Twitter and join the conversation via the #Dellduo hashtag.

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  • CrysDark

    Where is the Merlin Blue color? Why is the price higher on the EPP site? Come on Dell?

  • wise

    what about AC adapter ? As only 4 cell battery ,I started an order for Dell Inspiron duo,but looks like only way you get  battery charged is buying $99 Inspiron duo Audio Station dock ?

  • jimmytt

    why o why is there no video out – deal breaker – so close yet so far……

  • cuirmichael

    Such an exciting idea. I have been looking forward to the Duo going on sale in the UK since September.

    But now I find that, whilst Americans will pay £350 for the basic model, here in the UK we will have to pay £450. This looks to me like racketeering. Am I wrong? Can Dell explain the difference in price, or are we just being suckered?

  • LoupyLou

    @ Wise – There is an AC connector on the left had side of the Inspiron duo from the pics I've seen, so you would not need the optional dock in order to charge.

    What I would like to know is when are the Red and Blue color models going to be made available for order.  No one at Dell or the Microsoft Store has been able to answer this.  Very frustrating!

  • DELL-Chris B

    @CrysDark and LoupyLou

    Thanks for the comments!  Even though our hope was to have the three colors available at launch, Marlin Blue and Fastback Red options are expected to be available early next year.

  • RanskaJean

    This looks like a great tablet, but does it support Linux out of the box?

    2 Gb Ram may be a bit short for Windows 7, I would prefer to run Ubuntu on it.

    Ubuntu 10.10 brought a good support for tablets such as the IdeaPad S3-T.

    Could you tell me if the Duo can run Ubuntu 10.10 without too much hacking?

    Is there a gigabit ethernet on the dock?

  • DELL-Chris B

    @RanskaJean

    I'm sure someone in the community will find a way to put Ubuntu on the Inspiron duo. Keep an eye on our Dell Community Forums, Software and Operating Systems section:

    en.community.dell.com/…/default.aspx

    And yes, there is an ethernet port on the docking station as well.

  • MurphysLaww

    As a Tablet PC power user, I've been extremely critical of Dell's choices in the past in their tablet PC offerings.

    This could be a groundshaking device if the product reliability is good. Please don't follow the failure-based marketing plan microsoft will probably try to foist upon you.

    I love Apple, but my kids go to Round Rock Schools… Take down the IPAD !

  • MurphysLaww

    Marketing 101 for this device…

    Commercial with a dorm room with one kid lying on his bed with the docked Duo showing a movie…

    Second kid typing into OneNote, or converting handwriting to text in OneNote with something in FLASH playing in a small window. (file under "things the IPAD can't do")

    Third kid Reading his Textbook on CourseSmart.

    Slam, Bang, access to a 16-20 million student post-secondary education market, which grows by 5 million every year, and this is just the U.S. we're talking about here. At the price point you've hit, this could be a secondary device to a desktop.

    Please lose the "You can Tell it's a Dell", it comes off as cocky, and frankly it's innovative, something people don't really associate with Dell currently. That could change, but for now, Be honest with your customers, and that includes admitting miscues, and the fact that you were losing sight of the consumer market.

  • timework
  • Sylphxpression

    Hey, I'm looking into buying this computer to use more as a tablet– I wanted to know, can it be used with a stylus? Or is it solely touch?

  • stephensheppard

    @jimmytt – perhaps a product like the IOGear USB external video would work for you. Tops out at 1280×1024, but it does give workable VGA video out for only $53.

    http://www.amazon.com/…/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

  • Pritam

    hi I am from India and I am interested in the Dell Inspiron Duo convertible.

    can you please inform me when it is scheduled to launch in India and what will be the specifications?

  • amusedcat

    I just purchased this for school and for some reason I was under the impression it either came with a stylus or you could purchase one to use with it. I'm finding out that this is not the case. I know I should have read the details better but in every other way it seems to be exactly what I want. I really need to be able to use a stylus for my classes though as I plan to take notes on our power point slides and that really requires a finer point than my finger can provide. I just really don't understand why a stylus was not included with the Duo. Seems like a no brainer to me. Otherwise I might as well have bought the iPad!  Oy. Sorry, didn't realize how frustrated I was by not having the stylus.  

    Any chance there is one out there already that will work with the Duo; or one in the works? Please tell me there is! Please?!?

  • DELL-Chris B

    @amusedcat:

    Since the Inspiron duo has a capacitive screen, you could pick up a capacitive stylus and it will work.  There are several 3rd party stylus available online.

    Hope that helps,

  • deniser306

    I know that they are saying a whole month for delivery on the duo in marlin blue, but does it really, I went from in production to preparation for delivery so I am wondering how long I really have to wait to get my hands on this new toy.  I will be interested in giving it a good run down. I have never been unhappy with a dell laptop so I am guessing that this tablet will be the same way, I just want it in my hands.  Thanks for any input.

  • Quitta2011

    I just received my duo in marlin blue today even though the estimated delivery date was on Feb 1. It stayed in delivery prep for about 3 days at the most. I love my duo

  • DELL-Chris B

    @Quitta2011: Glad to hear you are enjoying your new duo!

    @deniser306: Keep checking on your delivery date.  It's an "estimated" delivery, so often times the product ships earlier.  Just ask @Quitta2011 =)

  • cvbdsl

    Does anyone know the release date in Canada? Even the sales reps here have no idea when it will be released and they said they have had many queries. Very frustrating  to see it available a few miles away, but not being able to order one (two actually).

  • Charlie0664

    Feb 8 and no word yet?

    Does anyone know when I can get one of these in Canada?

  • tradetek

    I'd really like to know when the RED Inspiron Duo is going to be available to order.

    My wife wants one and won't let me place my order for a 9100, T110, 3 Ultrasharp monitors, extra hard drives and memory chips until I can tack on her RED Inspiron Duo!!!

    I'd really like to spend several thousand dollars with Dell, but can't because the Duo that was shown as the demo unit and all over the commercials CAN'T BE ORDERED YET!!!

    Please oh please tell me when the waiting will be over!!!

    Thanks!!!

  • Charlie0664

    I've sent Dell countless emails asking when I can order a Inspiron Duo with Dell.ca and they never returned one email (great way to run a company).

    Anyway,I was hoping someone from Dell would respond to this thread, but I guess they don't respond to the

    forums either.

    P.S

    Why won't Dell.com ship the Duo to Canada?

  • mhoman7078

    Dude, I got a Dell!  I purchased the Duo around the end on Jan and received it on 2/10/11.  I read all the negative reviews prior to purchase and was expecting the worse as I kept coming across more negative reviews while I was waiting.  I am a captain and found that my two gateway (xp and vista) tablets were too heavy and cumbersome to haul around from boat to boat and the pen input really was not useful when bouncing around.  I usually watch TV while surfing the internet and had it with the waffle iron laptop frying my family jewels.  I had a lot invested in old software but was considering going with the Mac Air when and if they came out with a screen that would flip and could be used like an ipad.  While I waited I thought I would take a chance on the Duo.  I am glad I did.  Found my old software works even better with touch and I have even used the speech recognition to zoom in and out of my navigation maps.  I use Firefox browser as it has better scrolling than explorer.  I loaded Office 2010 and everything works.  Of course, the software I use is not designed for touch but I use the touch function to scroll and the mouse to hit all the tiny icons and menus when in laptop mode.  I watch videos with the screen flipped and make a tent of the keyboard and screen and it sits nicely on my stomach.  Don’t really need any special case like you would if you had an Ipad.  I have a Bluetooth external gps that works as well with Chart Navigator Pro.  This thing is the Ipad killer for me.  You don’t need all of the apps as you can simply use the browser.  My Iphone 3g and the Duo is the best and cheapest solution.  This blows away the Mac Air for the price.  I purchased the docking station and the auto charger all for much less that the Ipad toy or the Mac Air.  Yes, the Apple is idiot proof but then again I like to tinker around with windows stuff to get it to satisfy my requirements.  Find me some other product with the same functionality and maybe I could come up with something negative like all of the other reviewers.

  • Larryg99

    Like many, I had high hopes for the Duo.  I have owned it now for about 3 weeks.  Although I like the concept, and it seems sturdy, there are a few drawbacks that make me overall dissatisfied.  1) It can not handle editing my Sony HD HandyCam videos.  This is a big disappointment.  The video on playback is choppy, and some time the sound is also choppy. I feel the CPU speed is the problem.  Why is Dell still using something as slow as 1.5 Ghz processor.  I also have a 3+ year old Acer NetBook, and it has a 1.5Ghz processor.  Really… nothing better in over 3 years?  2) There are only 2 USB ports.  I use a wireless mouse… there goes one port right away.  That only leaves 1 port for everything else you may need… say an external DVD player because it doesn't have that either.  And another thing… why put the ports on the side, covered by a flap.  Something wrong with putting them in the back like everyone else does… out of the way?   When even the smallest USB device is in the port, the flap door hangs there in the way, just begging to be torn off.  Also, since the ports are on the left side, if you want to use a wired USB mouse… better get a long cord if your right handed because a short (normal) wire will lay on the keyboard.    3) No VGA connection, so I can't connect it to my big screen TV (maybe they knew I wouldn't be able to play my HD videos so why bother).  My 3-year old NetBook has that !   In short, I had hoped for more improvements since my Acer purchase over 3 years ago.  I should say, I own a Dell Inspiron N7010 which was a recent purchase, and its great.  Good thing I had it, I had to edit those video's on it.  I also own a Dell Desktop XPS410 and its a work horse.  So I think Dell can make some good products, but they could have done a better job on the Duo.  Although price matters… I would have paid more to get a better product.  

  • samuel613

    To LarryG99:

    I think your expectations for this device are a little too high. While Dell didn't say it outright, the target market for this seems to be the same as the iPad's.

    HD Video editing is done on dual or quad-core machines, not on netbooks and definitely not on an iPad. That this machine cannot do HD Video Editing is really not surprising nor unexpected.

    The CPU is an Atom, which means its strength is in taking tiny sips of power, not gulping it in gallons, so to speak. While the clock speed may be the same as in previous Atoms, the addition of a second core is a great feature.

    Regarding the USB ports, the iPad has…zero. This has a full keyboard and 2 USB ports. It also has bluetooth, so you can get a bluetooth mouse (either from Dell or elsewhere) and still have both your USB ports. You can also buy a USB hub for a nominal cost and change one port into four or seven.

    While I don't own this device (I wish I did), I presume the port cover if for aesthetic reasons and also to keep dust out of what is intended to be a highly-mobile product, which means it could get dust and dirt inside it even faster and more easily than a regular notebook, so the cover makes sense to me.

    Regarding the placement of the USB ports, engineering considerations could be the reason they are on the left rather than on the right, but in any event most cords are long enough that it should not matter on which side the USB ports are placed.

    Personally, I might also have paid more, in theory, to get a faster processor and more power, but if the everyday performance and battery life are satisfactory, then Dell has a winner with this machine as is.

    I'm not sure why there's no VGA or HDMI, as this would be a great portable PowerPoint machine. Still, there are USB to VGA or USB to DVI adapters available, and this should suffice for PowerPoint.

    I think this would work for most purposes, and if it provides a comparable or faster experience/speed than the iPod then I would buy it over an iPod any day.

  • samuel613

    In that last sentence, I meant iPad not iPod.

  • mhoman7078

    I purchased a Targus pen that works on my Duo and my Iphone.  It works as good as a finger but it doesn't leave marks on the screen like a finger.

  • OracleOfDelphi

    Because of its disappointing specifications, unacceptable limitations, poor performance, user unfriendly battery replacement, obsolete usb 2, no external video port, limited memory with no expandability, no stylus input for writing and drawing, low res webcam,  weird hinge to rotate the display which will probably malfunction just after the warranty expires, negative criticisms by owners, instead of purchasing the Inspiron Duo, I've decided to continue using my Toshiba tablet laptop and wait for the iPad 2 to which I can add a bluetooth keyboard , for $49, with its own leather case which the iPad slips into and enables the iPad to be used like a laptop (that negates the Inspiron duo's keyboard advantage) and the keyboard can be used remotely from the iPad too.

  • TMClapp

    If you buy one be sure to get the complete care or equivalent warranty.  I had mine less than 3 months and the screen cracked.  Now I have a netbook but the tablet part is non functional.  I was carrying it back and forth to work in my backpack as I do with my work laptop.   It was even in a padded compartment.   Who knew the screen was that fragile.  

  • emmanuelkendonkoh

    Hi, can this tablet use 3G sim?

    How can I get one to buy?

    Please help me

    Thanks.

  • emmanuelkendonkoh

    Hi, am very much interested in your Dell Inspiron Convertible Tablet

    With Inter dual core 1.5ghz, 10"multiple-touch. Am in australia, so pl

    ease how I can buy one.

    Thanks.