The Dell Inspiron Duo

My Dell Inspiron Duo arrived a couple of months ago.

At first I liked it.  The flip multi-touch screen was handy and responsive.  The Dell Stage software sucked rocks but I expected that from the reviews.

I purchased a license for FrontFace by Mirabyte to replace the slow and unresponsive Dell Stage software which came with the notebook.  FrontFace sortof replaces the windows desktop with one of it’s own designed for tablets – with the large icons and selectables.  You can run all your windows applications in frontface.

It was when I tried to use the bluetooth that I starting having problems.  At first bluetooth wouldn’t work at all – or hap-hazardly.  Since the notebook only had a few ports (a single USB port, no RJ-45, etc…) having bluetooth was important.  However I was able to locate and download an updatted driver which finally got the bluetooth working consistantly.

The next problem was the wireless ethernet.  The Duo boasted Wireless-N which means speeds up to at least (in my opinion) 150Mb/s.  Actual speed was a mere 65Mb – which was very slow when I was hooking up to Wireless N which was, in turn, connected to a gigabit network.

To solve the problem I attempted all the ‘solutions’ in the book.  Checked for interference, distance (5 feet!), settings, etc…  A separate notebook, also with Wireless N, sitting right next to the DUO achieved 150Mb/s easily.

Please note that this has few external ports.  A single USB and that’s about it.  I didn’t want to have to use that single USB for a separate ethernet port (wireless or wired) or go through the bother of a HUB (which would need to be plugged in if I wanted powered devices).  And the low 65Mb bandwidth simply wasn’t satisfactory.

Could not get any assistance from Dell. The service tag (Dell-ish for ‘Serial Number’) seemed to be funky – I could not even enter a ticket on it. 

Phone support is useless to me.  Show someone a screen or error message over the phone.  Try pushing a configuration file through the phone’s pickup.

So third problem – no support.

As a result I returned the Duo back to Costco.  They were quite easy to work with and gave me my refund in cash (since Costco brick-and-motar stores don’t accept Mastercard they could not refund it that way).

After that I started looking for a new tablet again.