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:
5â€³ 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.