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Dell Streak review

The Dell Streak. Is it a tablet, or is a smartphone? Get your answers on a postcard, but not before checking out Linux User & Developer's review…

This article originally appeared in issue 90 of Linux User & Developer magazine.

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Tech Specs:

Android 1.6
Processor: 1GHz Snapdragon
Memory: 512MB RAM
Dimensions: 79.1 x 152.9 x 9.98mm
Weight: 220g (inc. battery)
Display size: 5” (800 x 480)
Expansion: microSD, SIM card
Dell homepage

Pros: It’s a great-looking device and is very well constructed. The extra screen real-estate makes browsing and navigation all the easier
Cons: The bundled software isn’t all that great, the 720p video player still doesn’t work as advertised, and widgets are poorly designed

There are two questions many people tend to ask when they first see Dell’s Streak. The first is usually “what is it?” And the second, following a slightly puzzled look, is “who’s it for?” On one hand it’s essentially a 5”-screen smartphone masquerading as a tablet device; on the other it’s a small-form-factor tablet pretending to be a phone. It’s a case of dual personality and whichever way you look at it, there’s no easy way to pigeonhole it. If you were to ask the folks at Dell they’d certainly err on the side of tablet, but this does little to change the fact that it’s basically a very large example of any of the latest Android-based Smartphones you can read about here or elsewhere.

It does everything standard 3” and 4”-screen smartphones do. You can make calls, install the thousands of apps in the Android Market, make use of Google’s free point-to-point navigation software or watch a video saved on its copiously proportioned 16GB memory card.

The device itself is very thin – just under 10mm – and sits comfortably in both hands in landscape mode, much like you’d hold any popular handheld games console. The design is a very fetching gloss black with a user-facing camera and ear-speaker on the left and three capacitive touch backlit buttons for Home, Back and Menu on the right. The top bezel is home to the volume rocker, the power button (which doubles up as a lock switch) and a dedicated camera shutter button that will also call the camera to the fore when you want to make use of its 5MP, dual LED-lit lens. The chassis design is second to none and sure to garner attention from gadget fans wherever you take it.

Since its main function buttons are capacitive it’s best to grip with the left hand, since accidental presses of the Home key are all too easy – lefties should beware. Screen navigation is easy with the right hand, though, and anyone familiar with an Android device will feel immediately at home. For everyone else Dell has included a useful ‘Getting Started’ app which shows you the basics capably enough.

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