CES 2020 | The Dell "Duet" combines two XPS 13 displays in one form factor, because why not
The best part about experimental projects is that manufacturers can test the craziest concepts without necessarily needing to worry about finalized prices, specifications, or designs. Dell will be showing off a few of these work-in-progress products this week at CES with the Nintendo Switch-like Alienware UFO handheld and the dual-screen laptop codenamed "Duet".
The Duet can best be described as an enlarged Lenovo Yoga Book consisting of two 13.4-inch 16:10 IPS touchscreens. Dell says at this point in development, the two screen of the Duet have been lifted directly from the XPS 13 7390 2-in-1 for a symmetric viewing experience. In reality, however, the center of gravity will favor one display over the other since major components like the motherboard will be housed on one side.
Having two screens instead of a regular keyboard and clickpad allows for some unique interactions. Dell plans to ship the Duet with a special magnetic wireless keyboard that, when placed on top of one of the displays, will turn the system into a more traditional laptop with tactile keys.
As for the internal specifications, Dell says they aren't ready to divulge what kind of ports or hardware we can expect inside. We can only assume that it will be an Intel U-series CPU with the potential for low-power Nvidia graphics options since there are two full displays to power. The Lenovo Yoga Book, while attractive, runs far too slowly when compared to a typical Ultrabook because of its Atom CPU.
The Duet is still in its very early stages, but Dell wanted to make the idea public at CES in order to gauge user interest and potentially incorporate feedback from journalists and readers. In our opinion, such dual-screen portables will always have a high learning curve with unique bugs until Microsoft themselves can properly optimize Windows for this specific dual-screen form factor. Until then, Dell will likely have to build its own proprietary software suite just for the Duet in order to make the dual-screen setup more practical for consumers. It'll certainly be a huge investment and a risky venture when considering that Asus already offers dual-screen experiences with its ZenBook and VivoBook families.