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Review of Dell Streak
A 5″ Android tablet offers universal solutions: all types of wireless interfaces, proper dimensions and nice additions to the OS. There are several drawbacks: low operation time and a proprietary jack. We will start from the beginning though.
The tablet is thin and easy to handle. The body is made of plastic with slightly sharp edges courtesy of mere 10 mm of thickness. It can beу comfortably carried in a jacket pocket. Dimensions are 152.9 x 79.1 x 10 mm and the weight is 220 g. The screen is protected by Gorilla glass, so you can forget about scratches. It is not easily soiled either. The front is glossy, while the left and right sides are smooth for a convenient handle of the gadget. It almost resembles PSP or a similar device. Those sides host sensor controls together with light and proximity sensors. The back side uses soft-touch plastic, but the battery cover shows off metal. Streak does not slip out of your hands and it is convenient when you make calls. Under the cover you find a battery, SIM and microSD cards. 16 GB come in the box. When you take the cover out the device switches off to protect data if you believe what the manufacturer mentions on the website. Be ready that you will not be able to replace cards on the fly as you need some time to start and activate the gadget. The overall build is excellent. Dell Streak is extremely handy due to its size. The kit is rich too. Moreover, in the box you can find a pouch, which does not make Streak bulky, a wired headset of high quality sound and design.
To the right of the screen we have a block of sensor buttons (Back, Menu, Home) and a microphone. Buttons are typical of all Android devices and we see nothing new here. To the left you can find a speaker and VGA camera coupled with light and proximity sensors. The camera managed to handle video conversations via Fring and other dedicated apps well. At the top come buttons: turn on, camera activation, paired volume rocker and a 3.5 headphones jack. At the bottom is located a proprietary jack, which is a strange innovation. Why not use a traditional microUSB? Hands free speaker and a camera are at the back. Dimensions and design allow using Dell Streak as a phone among other things. May be it is not the best solution to hold the device near your head, but you can always capitalize on the use of a Bluetooth headset (Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR is present here as well).
The model comes equipped with a 5″ WVGA screen (800 x 480). Colors and the overall picture are excellent and you can still read the text in the sun. There is multitouch support and the automatic screen rotation works fine unless you have a "heavy" app running in the background.
When I got my hands on Dell Streak it had Android 1.6. and as any other gadget it checked for updates during the first run. 15 minutes later it was running 2.2. The detailed review of the OS is available here.
Despite a lofty name "Stage User Interface" is merely a system of proprietary widgets. While browsing widgets you see a bar where all of them are displayed as if on a shelf. In other words, these are large widgets taking up to 50% of the desktop. Several of them are available here: contacts, gallery, mail, latest apps, music and weather widget for your current location (you cannot change the city) functioning as a default one. On top of that comes a nice Swipe keypad with a convenient interface and large keys. Swype is not always localized, so you often have to use a standard option, which is handy nonetheless.
The following applications are preinstalled:
Gallery is executed interestingly. You get a general application for audio/video files and images. Open multimedia library (photos, music and video), choose what you need and enjoy the playback. The following formats are supported: H.263/H.264, 3GP, MPEG4, WMV video. Unconverted video of 480p Х 720p is played without hitches and artefacts. Music sound is fine and the headset from the box is also decent. Earbuds with tips have a remote and a microphone. Not every device comes with such handy add-ons. There is no radio here, but you can control playback from the headset. Browse tracks and pause whenever you need, which is convenient to use from the pocket. Disk covers are downloaded automatically, which is pleasant too.
Dell Streak boasts a 1530 mAh battery. It can keep going from morning to night at maximum load (background synchronization, GPS, mail). Every night you have to charge the device, but if you plan to watch video it is better to have power supply nearby, as the battery loses power alarmingly quickly. An extended battery is available to purchase.
I detected only 405 MB out of 512 MB in my model. We also get a 16 GB memory card. In real life there was no influence on performance, especially as Streak boasts a 1GHz Snapdragon processor.
There are two cameras here: a 5 MP with autofocus and a VGA at the front. The quality of shots is not good enough, which is a typical issue with all Android devices. It is satisfactory at best. Some settings are standard for Android 2.2.
I view Dell Streak as a convenient universal gadget. You can watch video or work on your documents. What is the main purpose of the product? We don't have a clear cut answer as we could not provide one with iPad. Features are rich: unconverted video playback, audio, phone features, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth... On top of that you have Android environment. Dell Streak is a large, nice looking and ergonomic smartphone for "robot" fans. Think for yourself who belongs to the target audience. Do you need something new and special? Don't ignore Streak. The price will range from $610 to $960.
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Kirill Borshchevsky Translated by Maxim Antonenko (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Published 27 February 2011
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