After the 5-inch Dell Streak, the device that is too uncomfortable to make calls and too small to call itself a tablet, Dell comes up with a “proper” smartphone powered by Android 2.2 OS (Froyo) labeled as Venue. Dell has handful of devices in India powered by Android, which includes the 5-inch Dell Streak, Dell Venue (reviewed here) and couple of low-end budget XCD28 and XCD35.
We had reviewed the Dell Streak sometime back and although it lacked some things, we liked it as an MID. When Dell Venue landed in our hands, we thought design-wise it would be similar to Streak, however, we were surprised, a pleasant indeed to see Dell manufacture a phone that shouted quality.
The Dell Venue weighs on the heavy side but feels solid while holding in hands. Sitting on the front is 4.1-inch AMOLED display, which in comparison with other AMOLED technologies looked pretty vivid and bright. Admittedly, not as close to Nexus S’ superior Super AMOLED but Venue’s display stands out on its own. The convex (curved) glass laden above the AMOLED gives an unusual but good looks to the phone. Adding to the glass is the use of Gorilla glass that protects the display from any untowardness.
Apart from the large display, the front panel houses three touch sensitive buttons. Unlike other android phones Venue has given the Search button a miss. The dual speakers are housed at the bottom panel and a microUSB port is located at the centre of the bottom panel.
The phone looks premium, thanks to the aluminum-like bezels. The rear of the phone features a grid-like design with a Dell logo just beneath the 8-megapixel camera. As I said earlier, the Venue is crafted with some thought and definitely scores an 8 in the aesthetics department. However, for a phone at this price, what goes inside also matters.
Except from a handful of Android phones, including the Nexus S, most companies load a customized user interface to give it some distinctiveness. Dell’s no different. Venue comes pre-loaded with its own Android UI called Stage. The Stage UI also found on the Streak is clean and not that heavy on the system. It presents the most often used programs on the home screen. There are Stage widgets as well that you can add to the screens. There are in total seven widgets – Contacts, Email, Gallery, Home, Music, Social and Web. As the name suggests each of these widgets perform their functions. The contacts widget displays the starred contacts from your contact book so that you can just press their icon or image and call or text them. The Gallery widget displays the images stored on the phone and the Social widget lets you add Twitter and Facebook account s. The phone comes preloaded with Swype that lets you enter text faster as compared to the default Froyo keyboard.
The Venue is powered by Android 2.2 (Froyo) and boasts some decent hardware for the phones in the current range. The phone runs on 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with 512MB RAM and 1GB ROM. The 1400mAh battery provides enough juice to use it for a day with EDGE connection on and moderate calling. The Venue scores on the multimedia front, 8 megapixel camera with 4X digital zoom lets you capture good photos. The device can record and play videos in High definition (720p). The phone comes bundled with 16GB of microSD card and supports up to 32GB.
The Venue is a decent offering from Dell. It’s got good looks, 8 megapixel shooter, AMOLED display with Gorilla glass and a decent Stage UI. Retailing at around Rs.22,000 all these features make it a good buy but it could be better if Dell promises to release the Android 2.3 update for their high-end phone.
Rating: Pros: Large Gorilla AMOLED Display, build quality and looks
Cons: No front camera