Dell Streak review: Size does matter

GSMArena team, 05 November 2010.
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Organizer package with some basic looks

Remember the beautiful organizer on the Samsung Galaxy Tab? You may as well forget it. The Dell Streak’s PIM package looks like an old-school Windows Mobile UI (text on white background) . That’s what you get in the older Android we’re afraid.

The calendar, which can be easily synced with your Google account, allows you to create and manage events. You get the usual view modes available – Monthly, Weekly and Daily. In addition you get the Agenda view, which brings all the events you’ve set in one place.

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The old-school calendar

Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to act as a reminder. There is no support for Google locations though.

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Creating a new event

The Dell Streak comes with QuickOffice pre-installed – but it only works as a document viewer. You can’t select or copy text, the only option you get is search. At least, pinch-zooming works like a charm. Both panning and zooming are fast and the overall performance of the Office viewer is excellent, but we really expected an editor too.

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Viewing documents is possible with the preinstalled QuickOffice

There is also a voice recorder, calculator, Notes and Tasks.

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Voice recorder, Calculator, Notes and Tasks apps.

The Dell Streak features a decent alarm clock application, which allows you to set numerous alarms, each with its own start time and repeat pattern.

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Setting up an alarm on the Dell Streak

There is no file manager pre-installed.

Finally, the YouTube app lets you watch YouTube videos without entering the browser. It’s got standard and high-quality settings, but even at the higher setting videos don’t get as good as on the iPad (which has no settings whatsoever).

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The YouTube app

Android Market makes your phone better

The strength of an operating system lies in its app base and Android is hardly short of apps. The Dell Streak has access to the Android Market but it will only be able to take full advantage of it when it gets an upgrade.

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Dell Streak has access to the Android Market

The first screen of the Market shows several featured apps. The Market organizes apps and games into two separate tabs and each tab lists sub-categories (e.g. Finance applications, Arcade & Action games). In each category you can select to view the top free, top paid apps or ones that are “Just in”.

There's a third tab – Downloads – that keeps track of what you’ve already downloaded. With Froyo you won’t need to keep too close an eye on this tab – automatic updates are supported as long as you enable the feature. You can use the Downloads section to uninstall apps but it’s not the most comfortable way of doing it.

Applications range from pretty silly (including one that simulates a doorbell), through fun (e.g. a virtual guitar) to real must-have's (including alternative launchers, themes, navigation software and more).

GPS with Google Maps

Maps and navigation are the features where the 5-inch screen makes all the difference to phones. It comes as no surprise that Google Maps is the only mapping software to come preinstalled. Voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation by Google Maps still has limited availability though.

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Google Maps will hardly surprise anyone

So, unless you are in the lucky countries that do have Google Maps navigation already, you can either use the route planning to turn the Streak into a digital Map, which is reasonably easy to follow or grab a third-party solution off the market.

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Street View and Google Navigation

Back to Google Maps now and the Streak Street View mode support. With the large screen and the built-in compass you can enjoy a 360-degree view of an area of your choice.

There is only one thing missing on the Dell Streak’s Google Maps – the multi-touch support. There is no pinch-zooming so you have to rely on double taps or the dedicated zooming controls at the bottom.

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