Dell Streak: the details...and the reviews

Dell's Android-powered smartphone/tablet is coming soon, but will anyone be lining up to buy one?

Dell Streak tablet

Dell Streak tablet

Dell is diving headfirst into the smartphone/tablet market with the Android-powered Dell Streak. The Streak was announced last month and will be available for $US500 in the US in July, and for 429 pounds in the UK this weekend. Critics have already circled the Streak and dished on how it functions, looks and feels--and its ability to compete with other smartphones/tablets, a hybrid market I didn't even know existed.

The Specs

Here's what you'll get with the Dell Streak, which will be available directly from Dell's Web site:

  • Android 2.1
  • 1GHz Snapdragon processor
  • 5-inch multi-touch WVGA display
  • VGA front facing camera
  • Removable battery
  • 3G + WiFi + Bluetooth
  • UMTS / GPRS / EDGE class 12 GSM radio with link speeds of up to HSDPA 7.2 Mbps / HSDPA
  • HDMI out
  • 5 MP autofocus camera with dual LED flash
  • 2GB of internal memory
  • Micro SD expandable memory available up to 32 GB (42 movies, 32,000 photos, or 16,000 songs)
  • Cushions made from 100 percent sustainable, compostable bamboo

Dell executive Ron Garriques posed the Streak as a "business-first product" and suggested the all-in-one device will, at first, probably be as a supplement to a smartphone, but could ultimately be a replacement.

The Critics Weigh In

What would a sneak preview be without a storm of critical opinions? (After all, months before the iPad's release, everybody and their mother gave Apple a piece of their mind.) The consensus is ... mostly negative.

CNET caught some grumblings from Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. Mossberg said that using the Dell Streak as a phone "was like holding a waffle to his head" and Swisher said "the most likely use for the device was as something to eat." Yikes for the food analogies.

Business Insider 's Nick Saint posed a bunch of harsh questions for Dell. Among other things, Saint said it's too big; nobody would want to carry it as well as a phone; and people would rather have a full-sized tablet. He also called it a "dumbphone" (awesome coinage) and recommended buying a cheaper iPod Touch instead.

The best comment I saw was on Boy Genius Report, which said: "It looks like a smart phone designed for Zack Morris."

Wired has an optimistic view of the Streak . Priya Ganapati said it's the "first real challenger" against the iPad. While many have a problem with the $500 price tag, Ganapati says, "The Streak's pricing on par with the iPad is a bold move by Dell considering the device feels somewhere between a smartphone and a tablet."

Everywhere you go, critics are comparing the Dell Streak to Sprint's newest smartphone: the HTC EVO 4G, which has a bunch of killer features. Not only is the EVO 4G's camera more powerful (8-megapixels versus the Streak's 5-megapixels), it has a more space-conscious screen and, of course, 4G (which hasn't lived up to its potential yet).

And let us not forget the upcoming fourth-generation iPhone. According to reports, the newest iPhone will have a beefy camera, front-facing video, high-resolution screen, a powerful processor, and a whole lot more. If Dell is going to tout the Streak as a smartphone, it might have another thing coming.

I think the downfall of the Dell Streak will be its size and its service. The screen is a little too big to be a smartphone and a little too small to be a tablet. Customers complained about typing on the iPad. Shrink that and now try writing an e-mail. (However, Dell is reported working on 7- and 10-inch iterations of the Streak, which could definitely give Apple a run for its money.)

And the service? The video clearly shows AT&T, reports say AT&T, but both Dell and AT&T haven't confirmed anything. T-Mobile might be a possibility, but if it is AT&T, all I can say is UGH.

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Brennon Slattery

PC World (US online)
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