Working in Stages
Driving the Duo is Intel’s N550 dual-core Atom processor but Dell has fitted 2GB of RAM so even Windows 7 Home Premium runs at a reasonable clip. Sure, it won’t win any medals for performance, but it keeps a respectable distance from pedestrian a single-core Atom netbooks running 7 Starter on 1GB of RAM.
Do the twist
The PCMark05 benchmark tests threw up par for the dual-core-Atom-course numbers, but that’s not the whole story. In day-to-day use, the Duo feels faster then a regular netbook and performance is more than adequate for the majority of domestic computing tasks.
Playing high definition video at full screen proved to be no trouble at all with MKV, QuickTime and MP4 videos all running smoothly at 1080p. The same was also true for 1080p YouTube videos.
Flip the screen around and Dell’s Stage UI overlay fires up and presents large icon access to a selection Dell’s own media applications and the web browser. Sadly, these programs take an age to fire up – I’m talking between 15 and 20 seconds – but at least you can disable the auto-launch.
In tablet mode, the icon-based Stage UI kicks in
Close down Stage and things pick up speed, except now you will be tapping away at regular Windows 7, which is nothing like as finger-friendly as Android or iOS. On the upside, the basic Windows 7 UI is perfectly fluid and the screen supports basic pinch-to-zoom.
Next page: Benchmark Tests
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.
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***
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.