Dell Streak Android tablet

The Dell Streak is designed to hit a 'sweet spot' between smartphones and tablets. But will it be able to challenge Apple's iPad?

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Dell Streak
  • Dell Streak
  • Dell Streak
  • Dell Streak

Pros

  • Slim design, build quality, excellent display, ease of use, access to Android market, excellent Web browsing and video playback

Cons

  • Outdated Android 1.6 OS, uncomfortable to carry in jeans pocket, glossy screen doesn't have great visibility in direct sunlight

Bottom Line

The Dell Streak is an easy to use tablet-cum-smartphone that benefits from the simplicity of the Android OS. Unfortunately, this hybrid device feels unfinished due to the older Android 1.6 operating system it runs, and its odd size may make it too big for a phone yet too small for a tablet. Ultimately, the Dell Streak is an impressive, lust-worthy gadget but we can't justify shelling out for it just yet. Watch this space.

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Dell Streak: multimedia

The Dell Streak's screen is ideal for watching videos and the 1GHz CPU supplies plenty of power under the hood to ensure they display smoothly. The screen is bright and has very good contrast, though the glossy finish does tend to reflect light and can be distracting while outdoors. We particularly liked the Streak's media gallery — it features a scrollable timeline and displays 18 thumbnails on the screen at any one time, making it relatively easy to sort through large photo or video collections. The flexibility of the Android platform means you can download alternative music and video player applications from the Android market.

The Dell Streak includes a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and a dual LED flash, and it is capable of recording video. Unfortunately, it is not HD video — the iPhone 4 can record 720p HD video and the HTC Desire will soon receive an update to allow it to do the same. The Streak also has a front-mounted camera that can be used for video calling and still photography.

If you transfer a lot of movies over to the Dell Streak you can use an optional dock to connect to a TV. The dock has an HDMI output (as well as USB and audio out ports) and even if you don't use it to connect to your TV it's handy for sitting the Streak on an in-flight seatback tray to watch videos on the tablet directly. The Dell Streak is charged via a proprietary 30-pin dock connector that looks very similar to the one used by Apple for its iPad, iPhone and iPod devices.

Dell Streak Android tablet

Dell Streak: connectivity and other features

The Dell Streak is a dual-band, 7.2Mbps 3G device running on the 900 and 2100 networks, so it doesn't work with Telstra's 850MHz Next G network. An 850MHz compatible model of the Dell Streak is sold in other markets and may eventually make its way to Australia. The Streak naturally includes Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi. One of the main benefits of the Streak's larger display is excellent Web surfing capabilities — multitouch works well on the 5in screen and pages loaded and rendered reasonably quickly in comparison to other Android smartphones on the market.

Other features include a built-in accelerometer, a proximity sensor, an ambient light sensor, up to 16GB of internal memory (depending on the model chosen) and a microSD card slot which lets you install a card up to 32GB. You can access the microSD card slot easily by sliding off the back cover, which also makes it simple to replace the battery.

Overall, the Dell Streak is a niche device that will appeal to people who like the idea of a tablet but who don't like the larger size of the iPad. The Streak is a reasonably good smartphone (albeit a very large one) and tablet all-in-one device that some users will find perfect for playing media files and interacting with social media sites. Other users may be perturbed by the odd size, which may be too large for a phone yet too small for a tablet. We'd hold off from buying it until it gets a software upgrade.

The Dell Streak is available in Australia exclusively through Optus. It can also be purchased from online mobile phone retailer MobiCity.

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