With the successful launch of the iPad mid last year, it was inevitable that all the major smartphone manufacturers would also try their hand at tablet devices. One of Dell‘s first attempts was the Dell Streak which was released in the second half of 2010. I know it’s been out for a while, but I still thought some of readers would be interested on my thoughts on this 5 inch tablet.
Yes, while its screen dimensions (5 inches) are significantly smaller than the iPad (9.7 inches) I do still consider it to be a tablet (for now). I’m sure the definition of what constitutes a ‘tablet’ will be redefined as more and more devices emerge and evolve.
First off I want to talk about what I like about the device. After using ‘normal’ sized smartphones, it’s no surprise when people look at the Dell Streak and say ‘Oh my goodness what a huge screen!’ For me, especially having played and reviewed the 7 inch Samsung Galaxy Tab before hand, it’s not so impossibly huge. In fact I like the size of the Dell Streak. It’s still very pocketable and for its size is quite slim and light. The other advantage of having a 5 inch WVGA screen is you can view a lot more on things like Internet browsers, documents, emails, Twitter and of course Facebook.
At the moment, the Dell Streak comes packaged with Google Android 2.2 which incorporated major improvements like better battery life, ability to store and run apps from a microSD card and increased overall performance. It was nice to see that Dell did something very basic, right – not nice how there still a couple of manufacturers releasing obsolete versions of Android!
Two other things I liked about the Dell Streak were the very easy-to-remove battery cover (believe me it makes a difference when traveling a lot switching SIM cards) and the speaker quality. If you like to play music while having a shower, you can groove without having music being drowned out by the sound of the tap.
What I didn’t like about the Dell Streak
I expected there to be a lot more things to not like about the Dell Streak but it is actually a very decent device. My biggest gripe would have to be the lack of power inside the machine. It currently runs on a 1Ghz Snapdragon Processor. While it never grinded to a complete halt, things like zooming into images within browsers and switching between apps showed that the processor lacked grunt. I would love to see Dell put a dual-core processor in the next version!
Two other major dislikes of the Dell Streak were the proprietary USB charge port (why?!?) and battery life. You’d think that for a device with an above average-sized screen that it would be compensated with a much larger battery capacity. Instead Dell has used a battery that is only marginally larger in capacity than ones you’d find in 3+ inch display smartphones. With things like tethering, WiFi, location-based social media services (FourSquare) and data sucking applications like browsing and emails I found the battery last for one day. It’d be nice to wake up and still find at least 30% charge.
My last negative point about the Dell Streak has to do with its camera. While it looks impressive with its dual LED flash, the results are anything but. Compared to iPhone 4 pics, it’s like Dell is using camera technology from the 1990s. I’ve given up taken food photos in restaurants – the flash spoils it with over-compensation. I’m an avid photographer so this was a substantial let down for moi. For others, they may actually find the photos acceptable?
In summary despite my dislikes, I actually enjoyed using the Dell Streak. I replaced my Telstra iPhone 4 for a whole week just to see if it could handle my daily regime. It did. Except my life photo stream has been a little quiet. Fix these problems Dell and I’m sure you’ll acquire more of the tablet market, especially the segment that wants a pocketable device!