Dell’s Duo 12 does tablet and Ultrabook, we goes hands-on

Prepare to watch a laptop magically transform from a thin Ultrabook laptop to a 12 inch touchscreen slate, as Dell gives us a quick hands-on with a new computer coming later this year that kills two birds with one pretty awesome metal frame.

At a showing of new products this week, Dell gave GadgetGuy a quick play with a new product that will be making its way out to stores within the next couple of months, likely right after Microsoft officially launches its next operating system, the uber touch-friendly Windows 8.

The Dell XPS Duo 12 is an Ultrabook unlike any you’ve ever seen before, at least from one point of view.

Open it up normally and it looks just like a regular notebook, with the screen sitting perpendicular to a physical keyboard and touchpad mouse. Nothing all that special there.

But the 12 inch screen is also touch-enabled, similar to the other Ultrabook Touch computers we’re beginning to see previewed ahead of the arrival of Windows 8.

Unlike many of those computers, however, you can actually push the screen out of its frame and flip it, forcing the screen sit facing up where the laptop lid would normally be, and closing the laptop so that it looks like a slate.

It’s not a completely new concept for Dell, mind you, as the company once showed off the concept in a the Inspiron Duo, which married a similar design with an Intel Atom-powered netbook in 2010.

Right now, the upcoming Dell XPS Duo 12 could be the coolest looking hybrid tablet we’ve seen, and with a 12.5 inch 1080p Full HD display, it certainly has a nice screen to go with it.

We’re told the display is covered in Corning’s scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass – which should let it take a little bit of a beating – and aluminium and carbon fibre are used in the construction too, making it slightly more durable than the plastic cased tablets and laptops we still see from time to time.

Sadly, we have no idea what the XPS Duo 12 runs on yet, though expect to see Intel third-generation Core processing technology inside, especially given the Ultrabook designation.

In any case, it certainly left a lasting impressing with us, and we can’t wait to see it again closer to release.