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BAYTON
Certified Android Enterprise Expert
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Jason Bayton

Certified Android Enterprise Expert

vExpert ● Android Advocate ● CPO
Jun 14, 2011 | Jun 14, 2011 | 5 minutes

Dell Streak review. The Phone/Tablet Hybrid

I've been living with the Dell Streak now for a few months, having the chance to test it to its' limits and being able to see how it performs as a standard phone/tablet hybrid.

The one word that comes to mind fairly quickly is wow.

I have used some phones in my time, but I have never had anything as powerful and versatile (or unbelievably large!) as the Streak. Let me break it down into individual areas for you below..

Battery Life

In my opinion, battery life is the most important aspect of a smartphone and as such takes priority over other aspects listed here. After all, without a decent battery you can't take advantage of the features the phone offers!

On average, I generally get around 36 hours of battery life with fairly heavy usage, it's fantastic. I find Bluetooth and 3G generally hog the battery most, though 3G being far worse. As such, whenever I have the choice, I use WIFI and keep data turned off.

36 hours may seem alright, pretty much what you can get out of a lot of smartphones currently on the market. The difference is, however, the Streak is the only phone with a 5" screen. Powering such a large screen can't be easy on the battery and taking that into consideration it's easy to see why 36 hours is quite impressive.

The battery itself is a 1400. Not a bad size considering how thin the Streak is.

Screen

The Streak's screen is 5 inches with a resolution of 800x480. The screen is bright, crisp and provides a lot of real-estate for all apps that support it (now tablets are around, there aren't many apps that don't support the screen size).

The screen is made from Gorilla Glass which is designed to aid the prevention of scratches and cracks. There are plenty of videos on YouTube that show this in action and although they all look promising, I've still installed a screen protector, just incase. Despite the material it's made from, the screen does appear to be under a lot of pressure in the shell. Tapping in any of the corners will show this with splodges where you tap your finger. It's no problem for day to day use, but it's something I didn't expect to see and almost considered a fault until I researched it on the net. I believe this has been known to cause cracks in the screen relatively easy, which is a shame.

Beyond that, movies look extremely nice, games are fantastic (especially two-player) and as a general device, the screen is very nice to have - quite the ice-breaker!

Power and Hardware

The Streak sports a single-core 1Ghz Snapdragon ARM processor. There's absolutely no stuttering or problems of any kind when undertaking any task I've tried so far and will play any game intended for high-end phones on the Android Marketplace.

Internally, it provides over 1GB of what I refer to as App storage (as I use it for nothing else) and is shipped with either a 16GB or 32GB SD card for any data you may have. One of the apparent contributions towards the Streak's quick responsiveness has been put down to the fact the Streak runs it's operating system off an internal SD card. There's no fixed storage on the device at all which makes it extremely hackable should I choose to do so in the future. Storing different flavours of Android on multiple cards is not uncommon, though unfortunately getting to the internal SD card is not as simple as you might hope.

Beyond the CPU and storage, the Streak has a fairly decent loudspeaker and comes with a pretty nice set of headphones for music, calls and anything else you'd need sound for.

The only hardware I find lacking is the camera - even keeping as still as possible, photos are never fully focused and the flash often overcompensates in dark surroundings. As someone who uses phone cameras relentlessly, I feel a little let down whenever I take a photo. Hopefully, the other Streaks (7, 10) in the family have something a little better. I've included an example image to this post.

Android Development

With the Streak, there's pretty much only 1 real developer working on ROM development. He goes by the name of DJ Steve.

DJ Steve has done some very exciting things for the Streak, including most recently bringing a dab of Gingerbread to the table. He has also brought over a CM7 alpha ROM!

Unfortunately, from a dev perspective the Streak doesn't have the backing HTC and others have. What the Streak gets is few choices released when the only dev available has the time to release them.

Luckily for me, the Dell ROM is fairly stable.

Accessories

Accessories for the Streak are few and extremely expensive. Dell provide a Dock with HDMI output, a car dock and a few different cases, none of which are worth the money they're charging.

So that's it, in a nutshell the Streak is a fantastic hybrid that I would recommend to anyone thinking of getting a new device.

I give it an 8/10, failing on the camera but making up for it under varying circumstances.

Written and published from my Dell Streak.

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Tags:
android
dell
phablet
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