dell inspiron duo
With the holiday shopping rush now over, some of you lucky enough to
be on Santa’s nice list may be looking to buy some new technology with those new gift cards, or take advantage of the big after-Christmas sales.

For you tablet coveters, one of the most exciting new releases this year has to be the Dell Inspiron duo, a netbook that actually converts to a tablet.

Oh yes it does.

[find out how to win one of these beauties after the jump!]

Essentially, the tablet has a swivel screen on a hinge, so if you flip it inward and lift it it’s like a 320 GB laptop with a 10.1″ screen and a small chicklet keyboard. If you flip it outward and close the screen it over the keypad, it’s a tablet–meaning the kids can’t get their sticky hands all over the keyboards. Very cool.

And because I know you’re wondering: yes, the flipping mechanism seems like it can handle some family-style wear. Because if your kids are like mine, they will definitely want to play with it.

One thing I really appreciate is that converting
the duo to tablet mode automatically initiates the “Duo Stage” interface which gives you instant access to your collections of music, photos, videos, games and other handy apps. The PhotoStage even integrates Facebook and Flickr for easy sharing. And there’s a BookStage
touch app which is set up through a user account with Blio. It’s all very smart and very intuitive.

Dell Duo Inspiron in dock
You might consider spending an extra $99 on the Audio Station dock (right), which acts as a battery
charger and has 2 additional
USB ports, speakers,
an Ethernet adapter and a media card reader. Stick the Duo into it, and now you’ve got an alarm clock, MP3 player, or digital photo frame.

While there are a lot of handy features, what the duo doesn’t have is a
VGA adapter to connect to an external screen or HDMI adapter to connect to an HDTV. That shouldn’t matter really; most likely you’ll be
using your tablet for things like checking email and
Facebook, watching movies, and showing off pictures of the kids. Or if
you’re me, blogging.

If you are looking for the fastest laptop, or a tablet with thousands
of apps and the top touch interface, this may not be a good fit. But as
a revolutionary new first-generation convertible tablet, this is a sweet and stylish bit of technology. Nice going, Dell. -Beth

The Dell Inspiron duo starts at $549.99 at Dell.com.

EXTRA COOL: WIN IT! Are you a Cool Mom Tech newsletter subscriber yet? This is a good time to do it – sign up by the end of the year, because one lucky subscriber will have the chance to win a Dell Inspiron duo! All the details coming up in our January newsletter. Subscribe now before 12/31. Good luck!

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