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Dell Inspiron Duo

Flip your lid

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.

Dell Inspiron Duo

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.

Dell Inspiron Duo

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.

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