There’s an old cliche that ‘if you don’t succeed at first, try, try again.’ That appears to Dell Inc.’s attitude towards its flipable laptop/tablet hybrid. Its first effort in 2010, called the Insprion Duo, quickly disappeared from the catalogue. But this week at the Berlin electronics an updated version called the XPS 12 emerged.
 
Here’s two reports from the show: CNET’s Dan Ackerman, who recalls the Insprion Duo was little more than a netbook, had a quick hands-on test.  Chris Davies of Slashgear said the new unit looks slick. And Dell blogged about it. However, pricing and release haven’t been made public.  Dell also showed a more conventional tablet with a detachable keyboard.
 
They would both cater to the same market — people who want more flexibility from a tablet. Which fits the need?
 
 
 
 The XPS Duo 12, as you can see, has a 12-in. tablet that pivots on a frame. You can use it as a regular laptop and take advantage of an almost full-size keyboard, or spin the screen and pull it over the keyboard to use strictly as a tablet.
 
The problem with this design is there’s a weight penalty, and Dell hasn’t said what it is. Still, the advantage is that the keyboard is with the user all the time.
 
The other unit Dell showed (below) is the XPS 10, powered by an ARM processor and Windows RT. As its name implies, it’s a 10-in. tablet. Smaller size, smaller keyboard, probably a lighter combo and the keyboard will have to be kept nearby to be useful.
 
 
 
Which would be your choice? Or is the virtual keyboard enough?
 
 
 


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