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Dell Streak 5 – capable 5 inch tablet/smartphone

The Streak 5 is one of those ambiguous gadgets, which is really tough to pin down in a category. On one hand, you could say it’s a smart phone, considering the dimensions and the design, which are in tone with latest trends in phone designs. On the other hand, the myriad of functions and hardware might recommend it as a tablet. The OS doesn’t help too much, as the Android version it runs, 2.2 Froyo, is equally an operating system for tablets and smart phones (ok, many are saying that any 2.x Android version suits better a tablet, but they work just fine on phones also).

Well, let’s take a detailed look at the Streak 5 and you can make your own mind about what it is and if it’s the right choice for you. As the name suggests, the Streak 5 has a 5 inch diagonal screen with a resolution of 800 x 480. This is a good resolution for a device with these dimensions, as many 7 inch tablets come with that resolution and still offer good visibility. But if you put that on a smaller device, you get crisp images and clear text- which is vital for a smart phone or tablet these days. The device comes with an initial 2 GB of storage, which remembers more of smart phones storage standards. Still, you can upgrade to 32 G B via an SD expansion slot.

Dell Stage UI lets you mumble around easier with the tablet

Dell Stage UI lets you mumble around easier with the tablet

The processor is a more fine tuned choice, as it’s the Snapdragon 8250, 1 GHZ chip, which is one of the better single core processors we have in tablets and smart phones. It delivers good performance, especially in terms of video. Add to that 512 MB of RAM and you get a zippy machine, able to cope with apps, videos and whatever without blinking. In terms of size, the Streak 5 is only 9.9mm thick and feels easy to hold and carry around. The bezel around the actual screen is very discrete, so most of the time you’re going down and dirty with the capacitive touchscreen. Oh, and weight wise, we’re talking about 220g, which is not the lightest device we have out there, but certainly will not cause any strains.

But this doesn’t mean the Streak 5 can’t take a fall, as the Gorilla Glass screen and sturdy chassis will protect the valuable components from bumps, falls and scratches. The interface of the Dell Streak 5 is a proprietary UI Dell puts on top of Android for better functionality. The UI, called Dell Stage, allows access to some widgets, which change size and shape when you switch from landscape to portrait. When it comes to calling, the Streak 5 hits the spot. You have a clear and easy to use interface. On the right, you have the dialing pad, while on the right there are options like call, microphone, delete buttons. On top, you have contextual links, like contacts, favorites and call log. It’s simple, but you can’t go wrong with it and quickly punching in a number or going through contacts is very accessible.

the stuff shown on screen are clear and bright, thanks to the high resolution (for a 5 incher)

the stuff shown on screen are clear and bright, thanks to the high resolution (for a 5 incher)

Call quality is also a solid point, as Dell managed to put in a decent speaker, which is both loud (when necessary) and very clear, showing that they managed the extra space in style. Browsing the internet is also fairly successful, as the large screen offers much more clarity than 3-4 inch screens. You rarely have to pinch and zoom, as text and images are big enough to understand what’s going on. The Streak 5 has a 5 MP camera which is capable of recording 720p and comes with a dedicated button. This way, you don’t have to push a virtual button on screen and mess it up most of the time. The app it comes with allows for usual setting tweaking, like brightness, contrast and the works.

In terms of media playback, there are some ups and downs. The screen is good enough to deliver great video and the speaker is one of the best you’ll find on such a little device. The problem is that the initial formats the tablet supports are limited; MOV and AVI files will struggle to play and in order to enjoy them completely, you have to download third party video players. The battery is a strong point, as will last for more than a day, and this with WiFi and 3G on ( not continuously) and hour long spells of music and video playback.

Kind of a looker, eh, all dressed in black

Kind of a looker, eh, all dressed in black

All in all, the Dell Streak 5 is a hybrid phone meets tablet with more positive aspects than negative ones, as it offers the best of two worlds in a manoeuvrable device. It’s solid when it comes to the basics- calling quality, connectivity, battery, and knows how to treat you well with some goodies, like browsing the web and media playback. And for 100 bucks or a little more with a data plan (or about $550 unsubsidised) is a pretty good deal if you’re looking for a carrier to marry with.




About the Author
Mark
Mark is an Editor here at TabletBite.com. Based in London where he studies Screenwriting and Production, he blogs about technology as a hobby. He's mainly in charge with news here on the site, but he doesn't mind publishing some guides, tests and editorials from time to time as well.


Last updated: May 9, 2011 | Published: March 9th, 2011
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