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August 06, 2011

Dell Streak 5 Review

The Dell Streak 5 is the very first 5-inch tablet we’ve ever seen and is actually the only one available in the market today. Is it really a tablet or just a huge smartphone? Check out our full review of the Dell Streak below.

With a 5-inch form factor, the Dell Streak 5 is a little small for a tablet and a little big for a smartphone.

In over a month that I’ve been using this, I’ve actually come to the conclusion that it serves well as a smartphone than a tablet (rather a really big one).

A couple of evidence pointed me to that direction — it’s got Android Froyo instead of Honeycomb (understandable since Honeycomb wasn’t available yet when this was announced); the 5-inch form factor is closer to other smartphones at 4.3″ than competing tablets at 7″; and even the user-replaceable battery is rated at 1530mAh which is right up the alley of most other high-end Android phones (tablets have much higher battery capacities — between 3000mAh to 7000mAh).

The Dell Streak 5 as pretty solid build with a combination of hard, glossy polymer and metal plating at the back. It’s actually thin at just 10mm on the side which tapers towards the end (top and bottom end on portrait position).

The red color variant we used here has a glossy finish all around which is a huge finger-print magnet (I’ve seen the black variant and it had a matte finish at the back).

In landscape position, you will find the power button at the top side along with the volume rocker, 3.5mm audio port and a dedicated camera button.

The proprietary 30-pin connector for charging is found at the bottom and is also used USB connectivity. There’s no micro-USB port or mini-HDMI port here though (there’s an optional adapter or a separate dock that has an HDMI port). At the back, there’s the 5MP camera and 2 LED flash beside it, a large metal plate that serves a cover for the battery compartment with a huge Dell logo at the center.

Up front, the 5-inch display is huge (if you think of this as a phone) with the speakers on top along with the front-facing camera and the touch panel at the bottom has three controls for Home, Settings and Back.

I especially liked the red and black color combination (it’s got that Ferrari-like look to it) but the size makes it a bit awkward to use as a phone when you hold it next to your ears (I’ve seen people doing the same with a 7-inch Galaxy Tab too).

The display is clear and bright but only has a screen resolution of 480×800 pixels (it’s already not desirable on a 4.3″ and becomes even more on a 5-incher) and very prone to glare outdoors making it almost un-usable against direct sun light.

The relatively low resolution also makes displaying webpages a bit cropped by a couple hundred pixels on the side. It’s somewhat good for watching movies but reading sites would require you to zoom in on the text most of the time.

Dell included a simple Stage UI, which is more media-centric, on top of Android Froyo. I’m hoping they’d release a Gingerbread update soon or perhaps, if they’re pushing the tablet label then it’s Honeycomb. This was actually on Android 1.6 Donut when it first came out and Flash support was just added during the Froyo upgrade.

It comes with a few more native widgets as well. You can see how it looks like in the video below.

Performance of the device is great and comparative to most other devices in its class (Xperia X10, HTC Desire HD). The capacitive touch screen is responsive, apps and games run well and web pages render quite fast including support for Flash.

The 5MP camera on the Streak is pretty good actually, with crisp, nice vivid color and saturation. It not as good on low light conditions (the dual-LED flash does help though) but performs really well outdoors. It’s also nice that they’ve included a dedicated camera button on this one (although because of the size, I tend to use the virtual shutter instead).

See sample photos we took using the rear camera below.

HD video recording at 720p ranges from decent to good, depending on the ambient light available. Audio recording is pretty decent too. You will notice that photos and videos have that effect of excessive sharpening in the output. See sample video below.

The speakers at the back has a really good audio quality and can blast loud enough volume to appreciate music and movie playback right off the bat.

Battery life is acceptable if you look at this as a smartphone. It gets you an average of around 2 days on regular use. However, I wasn’t using it for phone calls, just SMS and a lot of web browsing the net-connected apps like Twitter, FourSquare and Google+.

If you consider this as a tablet, you’d be very disappointed with the battery performance and don’t expect even close to a few hours on a single full charge.

The 2GB internal storage is also a downer (another reason I think of this as a phone and not a tablet) but you can extend that up to 32GB via a microSD card.

Dell Streak 5 specs:
5″ TFT capacitive touchscreen (480 x 800 pixels)
Gorilla Glass display
1GHz Scorpion processor (Qualcomm QSD8250 Snapdragon)
Adreno 200 GPU
2GB internal storage
512MB ROM, 512MB RAM
up to 32GB via microSD
HSDPA 7.2 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
WiFi 802.11 b/g, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth 2.0 w/ A2DP
5MP autofocus camera w/ dual-LED flash
720p video recording
GPS w/ aGPS
Li-Ion battery 1530mAh

The Dell Streak 5 is a tablet with an identity crisis. To put it simply, it’s a hybrid between a smartphone and a tablet and Dell must be targeting people who want a phone and a very portable tablet in a single device when they created this. It actually (somewhat) worked for me but I think others might find it a little lacking from both ends (smartphone and tablet, I mean). Besides, there are much more affordable smartphones of the same caliber (in its generation).

The Dell Streak 5 was launched back in April with a suggested retail price of Php27,000 (I actually saw a unit being sold for Php18k in Funan, SG last month and almost bought it but was debating with myself if I should get the Playbook instead). However, it’s current market price has not really gone down much since then and you could get it for around Php22,990 in some stores.

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31 Responses to “Dell Streak 5 Review”

  1. benchmark says:

    HMMM in Yahoo site…it’s one Android device to avoid…

  2. mike says:

    its 23k in a certain mall. But its a bad phone or tablet. more like a slightly improved generic china phone. well it is made in china. I still will not buy it.

  3. dreamchum says:

    http://www.androidapps.com/tech/articles/8942-five-android-smartphones-you-should-avoid-buying

    gusto ko sana makita thorough review ng cherry mobile magnum hd. first impression ko maganda sya. at mura. disregarding the services…

  4. fr0stbyte says:

    They should have upped the size to 7 inches so that it could compete with the SGT. Honestly, if this came out as a 7-incher at the same time when the SGT came out, I’d choose this.

    +5MP camera
    +Higher res
    +Unique design (compared to iPad-ish GTs)

    -Size
    -Price
    -Internal memory capacity
    -A little (pun) too late.

  5. yuga says:

    @fr0stbyte – there’s a 7-inch Dell Streak 7 actually but not yet released in the Philippines.

  6. Edwin C says:

    Medyo choppy ang video.

  7. fr0stbyte says:

    @yugatech:

    Oh? I didn’t know. Will look into it.

  8. 21 says:

    Dell didn’t put much attention in the battery life.. sucks, don’t want this one,

  9. fr0stbyte says:

    I just had a look at the Dell Streak 7. Looks great. Unlike this one, the design accent on the back is plain though. And the LCD screen’s not as good as the SGT. One stand-out spec that it had was the processor which was a Tegra 2 clocked @ 1 GHz. Priced at around $449, this competes with the SGT7. What I like about this the most is that you can run the HoneyStreak (Honeycomb) custom ROM. And the fact that you can play Tegra 2 games.

    Pero as always, overpriced na ‘to kapag dumating dito.

    +Processor (Tegra 2 Dual-core @ 1 GHz)
    +Higher res than SGT
    +SD instead of microSD
    +A more advance custom ROM port of Honeycomb compared to SGT
    +Tegra 2 games!

    -Heavier, thicker
    -LCD not as good as SGT
    -Price once it lands in PH.

    I’d probably import this from the US for a good price.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wouldn’t call having a Tegra2 mobile processor a +positve, as it does not support hardware video playback acceleration. Try playing HD mkv videos on devices with Tegra2 and you’ll see what i mean

  10. Earl says:

    hi Abe, dont you put score, or ratings in your review? thanks

  11. yuga says:

    @Earl – nope, because my rating might be affected by the release date and time I reviewed it.

  12. crashd21 says:

    This one is soooo fragile, my friend has one but he accidentally dropped it frm approx. 3ft on a carpeted flooring, its “Corning Gorilla Glass(LCD)” broke just like that…its just not worth your money..if i may say..

  13. Fleeb says:

    Theater mall vendor said price went down from 27 to 23.

  14. Garnet says:

    A friend got it for ~12k but he asked someone to buy it in Bahrain. I guess it’s a lot cheaper there.

  15. Loggic says:

    Villman is already selling this at P13,190 (cash price) http://www.villman.com/Product-Detail/Dell_Streak_5

  16. janna says:

    where did u buy ur streak for 12,490? thanks

  17. grels says:

    The battery doesn’t even last a day :(. I hope somebody can tell me where to buy an extra battery for it. Thanks!

  18. frank says:

    wala daw froyo nor gingerbread update… sayang

  19. ydla says:

    can anyone help me kung san service center ng dell (dell streak 5)? need my lcd / digitizer to be fix.

  20. criscustodio says:

    I bought my Dell Steak 5 last May 27, 2011. After a week I found black
    dots that are spreading on the side of the screen. I returned it to
    Asianic Parksquare. Their findings was LCD Problem – No sign of
    physical damage and scratches. I did not even drop it. The scratch
    free GORILLA GLASS still has a factory screen protector when I
    returned them for service.

    June 25, 2011, I received a text message that my warranty was void due
    to crack LCD.. Oh my God! I waited for 3 weeks and I should pay for
    the service. I only bought a Dell Steak because it has a clone look of
    my Dell Inspiron Laptop, a twin or a smaller version of my Laptop.. If
    only I know that Dell Steak 5 quality and durability is not good, I
    should have buy an iPhone 4.. P27,000.00 + the additional services for
    my Dell Steak 5, It will cost a lot, might be higher than iPhone 4..
    They (Asianic)will contact me again for the additional cost for the
    service.. Disappointed, but what can I do, I chose to buy Dell Steak 5
    instead of iPhone 4.

    Guys, everyone, do not believe on those falls advertisements that say
    this and that.. I rely on the brand-name of DELL, but now I learned my
    lessons.. Not every products has the same qualities and not all
    expensive brands/products has a good quality.. Now it scares me to see
    DELL on the mall displays..

    Today, 06 July 2011, after waiting for 1 month & 1 week, I never hear
    from them..

    I am still hoping and praying that someone could help me ease my
    disappoinment to DELL Products and its Customer service.. I also do
    hope and pray that my hard earned money for my Dell Steak 5 purchase
    is worth it..

    Peace out..

    • hueteez says:

      all gadgets (all brands that is) have their own factory defects. its a pity that it goes on your device. im very satisfied with mine. bought it so cheap in korea worth only 7500 converted into peso brand new. now i can watch movies and nba games at work on a bigger screen than my ipod on a cheaper unit without my boss noticing it.lol.

  21. aajan
    Twitter: aajan_20
    says:

    hi po dba my mga dell po kau?balak ko po kse bumile nto e?ok lng po ba ung dell streak po?o hanap nlng po ako ng ibang unit po?thx po

    • maverickron says:

      for me yes since i have been a user of this gadget for 1 1/2 years already and never gave a problem on anything. well but first its accessories are hard to find. mostly are imported. giving you another option buy the samsung galaxy s2.

  22. maverickron says:

    to all: DELL STREAK 5 is a great gadget to have. it’s battery can laast up to 1-2 days of regular texting and mild voice calls sometimes it last for 3 days sa sister ko. shempre it will drain your battery for less than a day due to your settings e.g. data networking, LCD brightness etc… any gadget would be a battery drainer if you’re a heavy user. battery is available at Villman stores. dell service center ask Vshop or villman stores. gingerbread updated ang OS ng dell just updated it last year. my unit is one and a half years old and never once had a problem. lol

  23. regie8 says:

    hi i just want to ask if you know a store where in they sell DELL streak 5 batteries here in the philippines im from Quezon City, Philippines. Thanks.

  24. Bryan
    Twitter: SahleehSanDiego
    says:

    I still have mine. I dropped it one time on rocky ground. It’s still working but there’s a broken line na sa glass. For 13K phone, this is a must-have. 27K, old price, no way! It’s just hard to hold with one hand unlike other 5″ phones.

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