Dell Streak review: Size does matter

GSMArena team, 05 November 2010.
Pages: 12345678»

Introduction

The Dell Streak has crossed the line where phones stop – and by some distance too – but we are still not completely convinced it’s beyond the point where tablets start. Is the Dell Streak sitting on a fence or sitting right in the middle of nowhere?

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Dell Streak official photos

We’ve reviewed all sorts of devices over the years but never did we have more trouble telling exactly what it is that we’re reviewing. And the device itself doesn’t help us make our mind up either. Sure it has a SIM card but those landscape-oriented buttons reveal its tablet intentions. It all boils down to what you want it to do, not what you think of it, we guess.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM and tri-band 3G support, 7.2 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
  • Full phone functionality
  • 5" 16M-color TFT LCD capacitive touchscreen of WVGA (800 x 480) pixel resolution
  • Android OS v1.6 (Donut) with nicely customized homescreen
  • 1GHz Snapdragon CPU
  • 512 MB of RAM, 2GB internal storage
  • microSD slot, 16GB card included in the package
  • 5 MP autofocus camera with smile detection and geotagging
  • VGA video recording at 30fps; 720p video recording after 2.1 Eclair/2.2 Froyo update
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g support
  • GPS with A-GPS; Digital compass
  • Accelerometer, ambient-light and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Stereo Bluetooth v2.0
  • 10mm slim profile, impressive build quality
  • Office document editor
  • Secondary video-call camera
  • Swype predictive text input
  • Very good speaker performance

Main disadvantages

  • Too large and heavy for a phone, and too small for a tablet
  • Proprietary 30-pin connector for charging and USB connectivity
  • Disappointing screen quality and sunlight legibility
  • No Eclair/Froyo update yet (most units are still stuck on 1.6 Donut)
  • No smart dialing
  • No DivX or XviD video support out-of-the-box
  • No Flash support in web browser (yet, Froyo will add it)
  • No FM radio
  • Homescreen has landscape-only orientation

This smartphone / tablet may have identity issues but its timing is right. With smartphones getting better and bigger – and tablets riding the Android tide – the moment is ripe for the Streak. And the best chance Dell have of making a difference in the smartphone game is to take opportunities like this and make them count.

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Dell Streak live shots

We for one would love to see how that experiment pans out. It’s all to play for in a segment so vastly undeveloped (and that’s an understatement really). So will the Streak prove that a 5” screen is the right balance between portable and usable or will it fail to convince? We’ll have to wait until the end of our review. Looks like we start on the right foot anyway – with design and hardware.

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