Monday, December 27, 2010

Dell Inspiron Duo: First Review



I opened my Inspiron Duo on Christmas Eve, since it was my Christmas present, my wife made me wait until then to open it. It was nice to have it to open then, but it was hard waiting!

The Setup
I plugged it in and turned it on. It went through the normal Win 7 new computer setup routine. Within about 5-10 minutes I was set up and running. (Not sure how long, Chistmas Eve + Creme de Menthe = Time Distortion for Clint)

Google Plug
Since I prefer Chrome to IE, I installed it(production release) as my default browser. I logged in to my Gmail account and synched chrome with my other machines so all of my bookmarks and settings would be transferred over.

The Hook
At this point I wanted to try out the whole reason for buying this machine...the convertible touchscreen. I flipped the screen in the bezel and closed the lid. After a brief pause, the screen lit up with Dell’s Stage software launcher maximized. I closed out of this and opened Chrome to browse with my finger. I found it hard to click on links at the default resolution after using an iPhone for the past year. It also took me a while to get the hang of scrolling on web pages. I couldn't just drag my finger up or down the screen to scroll as you can on an iPhone(More on this ater). I had to drag my finger (or thumb, depending on how I was holding it) on the scroll bar to scroll the page. I found that a little disappointing, but it was fairly easy to get used to.
One of the other things I noticed that detracted from the machine was a slight sluggishness, especially playing Bejewelled Blitz on Facebook. This is my secret reason for wanting a touchscreen laptop...to be able to play this game through the website. There are interactions that aren’t included in the iPhone game, such as the accumulation of total points and game levels. I was still able to score 417,000 points in one game using the duo, so I guess I can’t really complain.

Scroll Solution
As it turns out, dragging my finger up, down or across a web page to scroll does work, but only Internet Explorer, not Chrome. Hopefully Chrome will work on this. I am torn between continuing to use Chrome or upgrading to IE 9 beta...I have it on my desktop and I like it, but continue to use Chrome as my main browser of choice.

Initial Summary
All in all, I like it. It works well for web browsing in traditional mode, as well as tablet mode. I can use my fingers directly on the screen, just like my iPhone has conditioned me to do, and it is small enough for me to use in the economy seats of the airplanes I have been riding in lately. With a 320 GB HDD, I can put most of my music on it, plus some movies when I travel, still be able to work on work stuff, if needed, keep up with my social stuff, and still carry it around with me without breaking my neck. (My current work computer is a 17.3” monster that I have to squeeze into a rolling bag.)

To someone looking for a lightweight, all-around, travelling computer, this is a good fit.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a desktop replacement, this isn’t it.
The Setup
I plugged it in and turned it on. It went through the normal Win 7 new computer setup routine. Within about 5-10 minutes I was set up and running. (Not sure how long, Chistmas Eve + Creme de Menthe = Time Distortion for Clint)

Google Plug
Since I prefer Chrome to IE, I installed it(production release) as my default browser. I logged in to my Gmail account and synched chrome with my other machines so all of my bookmarks and settings would be transferred over.

The Hook
At this point I wanted to try out the whole reason for buying this machine...the convertible touchscreen. I flipped the screen in the bezel and closed the lid. After a brief pause, the screen lit up with Dell’s Stage software launcher maximized. I closed out of this and opened Chrome to browse with my finger. I found it hard to click on links at the default resolution after using an iPhone for the past year. It also took me a while to get the hang of scrolling on web pages. I couldn't just drag my finger up or down the screen to scroll as you can on an iPhone(More on this ater). I had to drag my finger (or thumb, depending on how I was holding it) on the scroll bar to scroll the page. I found that a little disappointing, but it was fairly easy to get used to.
One of the other things I noticed that detracted from the machine was a slight sluggishness, especially playing Bejewelled Blitz on Facebook. This is my secret reason for wanting a touchscreen laptop...to be able to play this game through the website. There are interactions that aren’t included in the iPhone game, such as the accumulation of total points and game levels. I was still able to score 417,000 points in one game using the duo, so I guess I can’t really complain.

Scroll Solution
As it turns out, dragging my finger up, down or across a web page to scroll does work, but only Internet Explorer, not Chrome. Hopefully Chrome will work on this. I am torn between continuing to use Chrome or upgrading to IE 9 beta...I have it on my desktop and I like it, but continue to use Chrome as my main browser of choice.

Initial Summary
All in all, I like it. It works well for web browsing in traditional mode, as well as tablet mode. I can use my fingers directly on the screen, just like my iPhone has conditioned me to do, and it is small enough for me to use in the economy seats of the airplanes I have been riding in lately. With a 320 GB HDD, I can put most of my music on it, plus some movies when I travel, still be able to work on work stuff, if needed, keep up with my social stuff, and still carry it around with me without breaking my neck. (My current work computer is a 17.3” monster that I have to squeeze into a rolling bag.)

To someone looking for a lightweight, all-around, travelling computer, this is a good fit.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a desktop replacement, this isn’t it.
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