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Dell Streak 7: The First Look
Not long ago we have reviewed Dell Streak 5. But from the start Dell were planning a big family of tablets and in early summer the five inch model will be complemented with Dell Streak 7. The seven in the name means that this web tablet features a seven inch screen. Both tablets will be on sale simultaneously. So in this preview I will try to clear up the market positioning of these tablets.
At first glance these models are twins. And as far as the front side is concerned Streak 7 is identical to its little brother: same sensor keys, same Gorilla Glass over the display. The only difference is that the front camera (1.3 MPix) is now located above the screen in the middle of the bezel.
Both tablets "feel" similarly and due to the difference in size the extra thickness is not even noticeable. The dimensions of Streak 7 are as follows: 200х120х12.5 mm, weight 450 g / 7.9x4.7x0.5 in, weight 15.9 oz. thanks to the wide aspect ratio you can hold it in one hand and even put it against your ear which, however, will not be necessary – unlike its little brother Streak 7 does not feature the "phone" application so you will not be making regular calls.
There are few changes on the sides: the camera shutter button is gone but the power button and the volume rocker are still there.
On the left side there is the 3.5 mm jack and one of the speakers – the other one is one the right side and thank to proper placement of the speakers the stereo effect actually works when you watch movies. Also on the right side there are a few slots: an SD memory card slot and a SIM card slot (in the WiFi version this slot is sealed).
And, finally, the rear side – the back panel is made of texturized fingerprint resistant plastic and you cannot remove it which means that you cannot get to the battery. The 5MPix camera module has been moved a bit sideways from the middle.
There isn't much to tell you about the camera – let's just say that it won't give you a chance to reveal your talents in photography. But it works and does even support HD video recording and there is a flash. But that is about it.
I have decided to place my thought on market positioning here since the networking capabilities determine the market role of a gadget.
Dell used the idea of a "big smartphone" in Streak 5 so subsequently it features every means of connectivity possible. While Streak 7 cannot be used as a phone – the 3G version only allows you to send SMS so basically there is only data transfer and no voice calls available.
However, there is quite a range of sensors and networking modules here: WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, G-sensor, light sensor and a proximity sensor.
All these might come in handy if you are going to use the tablet for navigation – naturally, all relevant Google services are already preinstalled.
Dell is still using a native charger slot. The sync cable shares the role of the charger cable so try not to lose it.
Together with Streak 7 a dock station for tablets will be released on the market that can work with both tablets. I suppose that the coming 10" model will be also compatible with this dock station.
The dock station is very simple. It has a glossy upper side and a plastic support for tablets and it has a rubber bottom. On the back side of it there is a miniUSB slot for connecting the charger and a Line out audio jack. And, finally, it features a full HDMI slot. You can connect it to any larger screen (it is shipped without an HDMI cable) and can choose whether to use the TV speakers or the ones on the tablet.
When you connect your tablet to the dock station it automatically launches a special interface that offers you to browse weather forecasts, watch a slide-show with your pictures, set an alarm-clock or just listen to your music.
The screen in Streak 7 is rather disappointing to say the least. It is protected by the Gorilla Glass, while the resolution is 800x480 (WVGA). The offering is not the worst, but its performance leaves much to be desired. Viewing angles are enough for the individual use only and in the sun the screen fades away.
Multitouch is useful for pictures viewing and the browser.
The hardware part was altered as well and in contrast with the screen these changes are surely to the better. Streak 7 boasts NVIDIA Tegra2 with 1 GHz dual processor.
Apart from convenient menu navigation the chip allows watching HD movies. At the same time the performance is not the best in this respect. If movies trailers (.mov, mpeg4) are easily played even in 1080p, mkv files are harder to handle. Their swift playback requires a particular player, which will take some time to choose.
Games are more impressive in their playback. There are no complaints here. Even the games with highest hardware requirements in Android market are played well by Streak 7.
Moreover, in its shop Tegra Zone NVIDIA offers games created especially for Tegra. Apart from quick performance the picture was altered for the HD screen with different textures and additional effects. In Tegra Zone are available demo versions, news, trailers and interviews. By the end of the year 50-100 more games are promised for release. Prices will depend upon the greed of gaming companies.
Android 2.2.2 is topped by the proprietary shell from Dell labelled Stages.
In fact these are widgets stretched on the desktop. The maximum number of tables is 7.
Widgets are standard: clients, accounts managers and information widgets.
Gallery. Here you can view pictures and watch video. The content is added automatically.
Mail. Headlines of latest mail messages are displayed here. Attached files are marked with a paper clip icon. There is also an account icon represented by a red envelope of your Gmail account.
Social services. If you enter your Twitter or Facebook details the widget will update all the time and add latest events of your friends.
There is also a widget with latest run apps, music, browser favorites and weather.
In the settings we can change wireless communication details and roaming data transfer, activate Tethering function, etc.
Among other things Dell Streak 7 boasts Swype.
Our tablet also featured several other preinstalled apps.
We have to mention an app for reading and accessing Amazon Kindle service, AccuWeather, Blockbuster and T-Mobile Hotspot.
Look at screenshots of several standard applications.
This parameter is hardly impressive. Continuous video playback limits the operation time to slightly more than 3 hours. If Streak 7 is used for the Internet surfing, social networks and a bit of Flash video you will get around 5 hours of work. We were surprised by the energy consumption during the idle moments, which required 10% of the charge every hour.
Full charging needs around 2 hours.
Dell Streak 7 will go on sale in the first part of May. The company offers an intriguing solution, but it has considerable disadvantages too. Many wireless interfaces and powerful NVIDIA Tegra2 processor are paired against low operation time and the screen with limited viewing angles. In the sun the text is difficult to read unless the brightness is at the maximum, so be ready to look for the shade in the street.
To our mind Dell Streak7 is a very competitive solution. The first model to appear will offer 16 GB of memory and a WiFi module for the price of $580. Afterwards clients will benefit from 32 GB of memory and another model of Streak 7 boasting 3G. These variants are likely to hit the shelves in June with the prices to be below $730.
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Published 16 May 2011
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