Dell has captured the imagination of a tablet-crazed public with a handful of recent photos and details about a new convertible tablet called the Inspiron Duo. A prerelease sample has turned up in the CNET Labs for a hands-on test drive, and we're generally impressed with the design and concept, if less so with the performance.
Unlike traditional convertible tablets, which have screens that rotate 180 degrees horizontally, the Inspiron Duo screen flips 180 degrees vertically--hinged in the middle of the lid. When the screen is flipped over and the lid closed, the system launches a touch-friendly interface for interacting with photos, videos, and music (and returns to the basic Windows desktop when the transformation is reversed).
The flipping motion worked well on our demo unit, although the hinge felt a little loose. You have to take care to turn the screen only in the correct direction, essentially pushing the top of the screen back through the lid. Also, the screen occasionally collided with the keyboard with an audible thunk if we weren't careful about opening the laptop body wide enough for proper clearance. … Read more