The Dell Streak Tablet Reviewed

Wednesday 03rd, November 2010 / 19:49 Written by
The Dell Streak Tablet Reviewed

If you usually walked into your office talking softly into your phone, normally no one would bat an eye, at least they have never done that to me, ever. However, that is quickly changing for me, not because I did something Stupendous at work, all that just cause I bought a new phone, and a really ugly one at that.  I went out and got myself a Dell Streak!

Usually what are the first questions/comments if you got yourself a new phone?

  • How much?
  • Which phone is THAT?
  • Oooohhh…when did u get that one?
  • Whoa, Sweet bro!

I, on the other hand, was greeted with a ballant slap in the face – “WHY?”

To be honest, it is a very logical question, which is really hard to justify. Why did I buy a 6” phone, which has all the beauty of freshly laid tar, covers up half you face when you are talking on it, not to forget that fact that u look like an utter idiot who is talking on his shoe.

If you are looking for the quick answer, here’s why:

1Gz processor, 512Mb Ram 512Mb ROM and a 2 Gb internally locked storage sorts out pretty much anything you throw at it, on to a Beautiful 5”, 800 x 480 “Gorilla” glass Screen. All that in a 10mm lean body, which also hold an Ambient Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Accelerometer, e-compass, GPS and Capacitive sensor keys. Plays 3GP, MPEG4, WMV on the Dell player but capable of playing anything under the sun if u can find the player on the android market. Doles out music on it pretty loud rear speaker from MP3, WMA, AAC, Midi or WAV formats. The rear panel give you access to the 32Gb memory card, the sim card port and a formidable 1530 mAh battery on which I managed to Surf on 3G, watch movies, take videos, and talk for 11 hours straight!

To be honest this is not a biker’s phone, but it still slides into any regular jeans pocket, but carries itself off really well as a GPS/media device on a car mount, the squared off edges, and the thin design mean that the 220g device does not put ur had to sleep every time answer a call.

Read on for  a detailed look at the Dell Streak.

Build
Basically designed in a candy bar style, the tablet PC’s “face” is devoid of any buttons. A The capacitive multi-touch screen , 3 touch sensors for back, menu and home rest at the base of the device which give out a quirky haptic vibration when touched and a not so prominent mic.

In the Landscape mode, the “top” for the table holds the 3.5mm audio jack, the volume control buttons, the power button and the Camera key. And those are all the buttons Dell though you need to be bothered with. The bottom end of the phone holds the 30 pin charger/data port which is excusive to Dell. (Loose the cable and you’ll be one really unhappy nerd)

The home screen layout is perpetually in landscape mode, a couple of simple tweaks made it possible to use in both Upright and landscape mode by roping in the 3 axis accelerometer. The 5” reinforced, scratch-resistant gorilla glass display churns out a 800 x 480 resolution, makes watching wide screen movies a dream.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 1GHz processor gets ample support from the 512Mb RAM and the 512Mb ROM, and also the 2 GB internal user locked OS/App space to access anything u might need to keep on the 32 GB microSD card. This ARM-based SoC (System on a Chip) packs a punch, But a bet with any iPad fanboys about their ARM-based SoC may leave u penniless, on the Wifi my ipad beat the streak marginally but on 3G, the dell was more than slightly ahead.

Multimedia

The Streak has a 5 MegaPixel camera at the back with Dual LED flash and a low Res VGA mounted at the front along with the speaker and “2” light sensors. The photos come out real nice if held in position for half a second more after hitting the button and the camera app has a night mode, brightness/contrast control, the resolution is 2592×1944, and includes autofocus.

After taking a picture, a number of editing options open up. Should you choose to accept the editing challenge, you can rotate, crop, resize or flip your image; add text, clipart or decorative frames; and tweak a number of effects, including stylized filters, art styles, and color tweaks. The Camera interface also allows you to define Zoom (up to 4x); Contrast (5 settings); Resolution (2592×1944, 2048×1536, 1600×1200, 1280×960 and 640×480); Quality (Fine, Standard, Basic); Multishot (Off, 4 or 9 shots) and other more prosaic settings.

The videos seem to have a little extra contrast, but look good overall, and with the 2.2 update HD video recording becomes available.

The music quality on the other hand is Beautiful, and the music app let you go though the library with easy and you import or create playlists really quickly. At one point I was listening to music for hours at a stretch, and didn’t touch the volume buttons as it managed to auto equalize the songs. Most important feature is you don’t need a client to load the music on to the phone, just drag them off  your Windows or Mac PC and drop them on to the phone.

The speaker locater just below the back panel looks Big and gives out ample output to sit back comfortably and watch a movie or listen to music.

OS and Apps

Come out of the Box with an Android 1.6 (2 generations behind the latest 2.2, but upgrade expected by the year end), and a 6 screen landscaped scroll screens, Dell has thrown into the package it’s own video player which is good when playing 3GP, MPEG4, WMV, however other Applications may be used to play any format you may possibly think of. It also comes in with a host of Google apps like the g-mail app, Google’s voice search, Browser, Maps, Contacts, IMDb, and YouTube, a Facebook and a twitter widget, it has a dell photo/video gallery which put photos and videos taken in a chronological order, Amazon MP3 Store. The Touchdown application from the market is among the best mail clients for the phone as it does not come with one out of the box, opening and reading Office documents and pdf files are easy with the stock Open office but to create them you need to buy applications. The keyboard on the other hand is cumbersome, luckily it’s android and there are hundred’s out there which will do a better job. The android market does not ask you credit card first so the hundreds of applications are really easy to download and install, but It has to be on the phone itself, which is really good, as the dell streak can multitask like no phone I’ve seen till date.

Removal of the back panel gives you access to the battery, which is a 1530 mAh battery which, on ultra-heavy usage delivers about 9-10 Hrs of talk time on 3G!!! , the battery slot also holds the sim card and the microSD card.

Unlike standard smartphone it come with a proper GPS and due to the size of the Device is actullay quite effective and use ful. You may use the default google navigator, or load a subscription of your local GPS software, in my case MapMyIndia had no issues getting in.

Streak @ Work?
Gmail and Google Contact sync are a given on any Android device, so I’m not going to go in there. The good part is, I was able to get my Corporate mail on it, and it syncs perfectly with Outlook contacts, Tasks and Calendar. I also used Logmein for Android, to link into my office computers and remote control them, very useful in my line of work.

Pretty much anything my iPhone4 did, my Dell Streak can do too, and some of it, Streak does better. But the streak needs 2 hands to use, It’s less than a centimeter in thickness, and the weight distributed really well all across, so the 220g phone does not put your hand to sleep on a 1 hour call, the build quality is solid and metallic finish feels really nice to hold. The audio quality on call is really nice and same goes for speakers too. You can make videos call on 3G or wifi. There is No FM radio, and honestly I was surprised when it did not pull up the photos from my Facebook account but it did on my GTalk account. It does everything well, and most of it exceedingly so. But sometimes I love the big screen and sometimes I hate the phone for it (while climbing up stairs).

Sad let down is the android 1.6 and by virtue of which no flash player. The love it or hate is size.

Now as Dell calls it, it’s not a smartphone or a tablet, but a hybrid, and that may be its downfall.The bottom line is, It’s not everyone cup of tea. A great buy for the media oriented enthusiasts, and surprisingly the same hold good for hardcore corporates. It all boils down to “are you willing to use it as a smartphone and not a tablet.”

Quick Specs:

  • Carrier: TATA Docomo
  • OS: Android 1.6
  • Processor: 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon (QSD 8250)
  • RAM: 512 MB
  • Storage: 2 GB built-in, plus 16 GB micro-SD (expandable to 32 GB)
  • Display: 5-inch WVGA, 800×480 pixels, Gorilla Glass
  • Battery: Lithium Ion 1530 mAh
  • Ports: 30-pin to USB
  • Weight: 220 g
  • Dimensions: 6.0(h) x 3.1(w) x 0.4(d) inches
  • Camera: 5.0 megapixel (rear) with autofocus; VGA front-facing
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, GPS, e-compass
  • Keyboard: 49-key virtual keyboard (including number pad)
  • Networks: UMTS 850/1900/2100 MHz; GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 MHz;
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g; Bluetooth 2.1 EDR
  • Tethering: Not available
  • Price:   34,990 INR.

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