Dell is predominantly a computer-making company but has evolved to become a complete mobile device manufacturer with the entry in the tablet and a re-entry mobile phone market in the past couple of years.
Dell entered the tablet arena to cash in on the demand generated by Apple’s iPad with its 5-inch Streak tablet. The size of Streak is small by iPad’s standards but Dell differentiates its little wonder by integrating phone functionality, which means a user can use the Streak to make phone calls as well. But mind you, its just an added function, the primary usage of the Streak is as a tablet. We find out whether this offering from Dell in the small form factor and added functionality, is worth the spend on?
Dell’s Streak is decently packed when it comes to the hardware. The 5-inch Streak boasts a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, HSPA, a 800×480 pixels (WVGA) display, Android 2.2 OS (Froyo), 512MB RAM, 2GB internal storage, 5MP camera, Wi-Fi, GPS, 3.5mm audio jack, Bluetooth, microSD card slot and 1530mAh battery. It also comes with its proprietary connector that you would not want to lose.
Streak has a very clean design, which is quite soothing. The 0.4-inch thin device comes in a black glossy front with a VGA camera and touch-sensitive menu buttons whereas the back is a contrast with matte finish. Back also sports a sliding battery cover, speakers and 5MP camera lens with dual-LED flash.
Streak features a 5-inch display supporting WVGA resolution. The display quality is decent when used in a room but suffers unless under direct sunlight unless the brightness is set to full. The Streak comes with Dell’s unique Stage UI which basically sits atop the Android UI and gives quick access to the apps, social networking, web, music and even videos. Users can customize their Streak’s home screen by adding or deleting Stage Widgets that can done just like adding or deleting normal Android widgets. Users also get an option to quick scroll all the widgets on different home screens by pressing on the bottom of the screen.
Streak is powered by Qualcomm’s 1GHz QSD 8250 processor and is no slouch when it comes to performance. The tablet is zippy and fast and can multi-task 4-5 apps simultaneously with ease.
As much as applications matter for a tablet, the multimedia support is important as well. We can say Streak’s multimedia support is good if not great. On the music front Streak supports MP3, WMA, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR, Midi, WAV and H.263 / H.264, .3GP, MPEG4, WMV when it comes to videos. There’s no support for FLAC, OGG or DivX that has somewhat become a regular offering in today’s tablets.
Streak sports a 5MP camera with dual LED flash for better low-quality pictures and support for 720p HD video recording support that can be activated by pressing the dedicated camera key. The HD video recording is decent however we cannot say the same thing for its still image quality. The colors captured by Streak seem to have a blue tinge in it while it ruined macro shots by overexposing, which was only solved when we turned off the LED flash.
As much as Streak tries to fulfill its tablet duties, it also doubles up as a phone. Unlike Galaxy Tab that requires you to use a headphone to make a call, Streak integrates earpiece on the device itself. How crazy one would look talking to a huge phone like this is a debate for another day but one notable thing here is that the call quality was really good.
Other features you’d find in Streak is GPS. It also comes pre-installed with Swype keyboard and is pretty comfortable to use due to the size of the screen. Since the Streak is powered by Android, you can install various other apps from the Android Market.
Finally, it’s the battery. Streak’s battery has a rated capacity of 1530mAh which for a tablet, is small. A smartphone-grade battery for tablet gave us about a day with continuous usage of data and moderate usage of music and videos.
To conclude, we feel that Dell Streak 5 is a good portable device but is stuck in no man’s land with a size big to be used as a smartphone and small to be used as a tablet. Thankfully, Dell has also come out with the 7-inch version of the Streak to give consumers a full tablet experience. Oh and the price, Dell Streak 5 retails for a price of Rs.32,499, which is too high for a 5-inch tablet considering the iPad’s Wi-Fi-only goes for around 28k and its 3G variant for 35k.
Pros: Phone functionality, 16GB microSD card bundled
Cons: Proprietary Cable, Battery life, Price