Dell Streak

Dell's Streak offers a 5-inch LCD screen and uses the Android OS. Is it a proper alternative to Apple's awesome iPad?

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Dell Streak Thanks to its 5-inch LCD screen the Streak is more portable than Apple's iPad
By  Jason Saundalkar Published  February 9, 2011

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Key Specs

Audio: Y
Card reader: N
Display screen: 5-inch
Internal storage: 1.6GB
Memory: 512MB ROM, 512MB SDRAM

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The Dell Streak, previously known as the ‘mini 5', is Dell's version of a widescreen tablet device. Like Samsung's Galaxy Tab the Dell is based on Google's Android operating system (OS).

 The Streak is an elegant looking device that resembles an oversized smartphone. Dell intends that the device be used in landscape mode however and this is obvious because the symbols for the three touch sensitive buttons on the screen's right side only make sense when you look at them in landscape.

One issue became immediately obvious when we began testing the Streak; while using your right hand to click icons or swipe from screen-to-screen, you'll most likely - inadvertently - hit one of the three touch-sensitive buttons unless you're very careful.
One advantage the Streak holds over the iPad and Galaxy Tab is that it can be used as a mobile phone (when fitted with a SIM card). Granted, you'll look a little silly holding the Streak up to your face because it is larger than even the largest smartphones on the market today. That said, the Streak can act as an all in one alternative to carrying a smartphone and either the iPad or Galaxy Tab separately.

The Dell features a 5-inch capacitive LCD screen that runs at a native resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. The capacitive screen is multi-touch compatible and using it to type e-mails and messages proved quick and easy, provided you use it in landscape. In portrait mode the on-screen keyboard is just a little too crammed, so we had to be much more careful when putting together messages to avoid making mistakes. The LCD screen offers just about enough real estate to make for a reasonably comfortable Internet browsing experience, whereas most smartphones (including the iPhone 4) can prove a bit too small at times. Most web pages appeared properly on the device and the Streak proved swift when we used the web over WiFi or 3G.

The device itself is quite slick in terms of overall performance. There's almost no wait time when you summon applications and move from screen-to-screen, so frustration never crept into our experience. The Streak features two cameras; one 5-megapixel camera with a LED flash and one forward facing camera, which will allow you to make 3G video calls. The camera proved adequate in most scenarios; it returned print worthy photos and thanks to its flash, we were able to grab decent photos even in poor light.

The tablet comes with 1.63GB of onboard storage and because this is far from enough for power users, the device can be upgraded via microSD memory slot. The Streak will recognise a 32GB card and while this is a far more usable capacity than the paltry amount onboard, it still falls behind what is offered by the iPad and Galaxy Tab.

For: Elegant looks, can double as a smartphone, great Internet browsing experience, strong camera.
Against: Somewhat expensive, not enough onboard memory as standard.
Verdict: The Streak is an amazing gadget that offers the functionality of a smartphone with almost all the everyday usability of a full-sized tablet.

1150 days ago
Joe Baker
User rating: 3 stars

Pros: Only mobile phone on the market that also allows viewing an A4 document without scrolling.

Cons: In my experience over 12 months, the main drawback of using the Streak as a mobile phone is that the thin plastic body is just too flimsy. The glass is almost unbreakable, but the slightest pressure on the body de-laminates the screen so that black edges appear.

Due to the (just) adequate screen size for document review, this is an all-in-one Personal Digital Assistant for professional use. However, treat with care. Dell used to cover screen damage under warranty but not anymore...

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