Dual-screen laptops already exist in several forms, from the E Ink-equipped Lenovo Yoga Book C930 to the handful of gaming and prosumer models with second displays mounted above their their keyboards. A twin-screen concept that Dell unveiled at CES 2020 this week proves to be more ambitious than any of these niche laptops, though, offering a glimpse at an entirely new category of personal PCs.
Like the Yoga Book C930, Dell’s Concept Duet prototype laptop has no built-in physical keyboard. Instead, it features two displays that make up nearly the entire interior surface area of the laptop. Unlike the Yoga Book C930, though, both of these displays are largely identical, akin to the mainstream LCD screens that laptop buyers have come to expect.
The bold Concept Duet envisions a future in which portable computing is more like using a phone or a tablet. You will tap on the screen as the primary means of input, and the layout of app windows displayed on the twin screens will shift according to whatever task you need to perform. A keyboard will be a last resort, an optional accessory that can be magnetically attached to one of the displays if needed.
The Concept Duet is not the first laptop to behave this way. Intel, Microsoft, and others have already displayed similar prototypes, including the Microsoft Surface Duo, that hint at a new computing evolution on the horizon. Several other laptops with even more futuristic foldable displays aim to serve similar roles, including Lenovo’s ThinkPad prototype and Dell’s own Concept Ori, also unveiled at CES this week.
For now, Dell is offering few details about Concept Duet’s capabilities or when it might transform into a product that the company can actually sell. We did get a brief bit of time with the Concept Duet ahead of its CES announcement, however, and it seemed remarkably close to a finished product. Read on for our first impressions.