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Dell Streak 7 – cheap 7 inch tablet, but not as good as expected

The Streak 7 is the successor of the Streak 5, which was and is one of the oddities of the mobile world. It was a 5 device, neither tablet or smart phone, but which ultimately was rather successful. The Streak 7, on the other hand, is not out of a nebula- it’s a 7 inch tablet which comes with some good features, although some closeted demons here and there keep it from being stellar.

But let’s take it slow. In terms of hardware, the Streak 7 comes with a very good configuration. It has a dual core Tegra 2 processor, 2 cameras- 5 MP in the back and 1.3 MP in front, 16 GB and 4G connectivity the tablet can be bought for $200 with a data plan from T-Mobile and with $450 without.

In terms of design, the Streak 7 looks and feels like the Streak 5, but it’s just bigger. It has the same plastic build which feels very solid, while on the back there’s a patterned finish which gives a very good grip. The 7 inch form factor surely has it’s advantages. The tablet is very easy to hold with one hand while reading or whatever, considering it’s only 0.48 inch thick.

And what’s slim is usually light- the Streak 7 weights less than a pound, being a very comfortable tablet, easy to carry around and just grab when you need it. On the right side of the screen, you can find the standard Back, Menu, Home buttons, while above the screen there’s the mic and the front facing camera.

Dell Stage UI brings more functionality and eases access to core apps

Dell Stage UI brings more functionality and eases access to core apps

Besides that, there isn’t anything else, Dell going for a minimalist front set up. On the right there’s a hatch protecting the SD and SIM slots- you should have longer nails or a toothpick with you at all times in order to open this easily. On the left there’s a 3.5 mm headphone jack, while on top there’s a volume rocker and the power button.

As you noticed, there’s no HDMI port, but Dell said that this will be possible via the docking station, which connects to the tablet via a PDMI port. In terms of screen resolution, the Streak 7 is a little substandard. The 7 inch screen has a 800 x 480 resolution, which remembers more of budget tablet than full fledged, multimedia devices.

The low res will be very annoying when playing a high resolution clip, looking at photos or trying to cramp up many things on the screen at once. In conjunction with this, the screen is less bright than current standards and viewing angles are a pain in the you know what.

In terms of software, the Streak 7 comes with Android 2.2, although Dell said that an upgrade to 3.0 will be available when the OS will be available. On top of Android, there is Dell’s Stage UI, which comes with some really useful widgets, which come with easy access to your social networking, contacts, weather information and the works.

Screen resolution is one of the problems

Screen resolution is one of the problems

Preinstalled apps include Kindle, Zinio (magazine reader) and Qik for video calling, amongst others. Video performance is good, as 1080p videos locally and 720p from the web work without a glitch, but the low res screen is kind of a set back. Battery is not very good, as the tablet ran out of gas after only 6 hours- and that’s without too many videos! Connectivity includes WiFi and 4G and download speeds are pretty fast- average of 3Mbps.

Video calling is pretty smooth with the Qik app

Video calling is pretty smooth with the Qik app

To enjoy this, you’ll have to buy a plan from T-Mobile, which starts from $40 a month for 5 GB, but you can also go for prepaid plans, the cheapest being $10 for 100 MB per week.

The Streak 7 is also available in stores, and prices go for about $250, a bit expensive I might say, since a lot of better Android tablets go for under 200 dollars these days.

So, would you buy one of these? On one hand, there’s the very good price when you buy a contract- $200 and the very fast connection speeds, but the disadvantages are there for everyone to see- low res display, no HDMI port and short battery life.

About the Author
Mark is an Editor here at 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: December 8, 2011 | Published: March 10th, 2011
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