The Dell Streak: tablet or oversized smartphone? That is the question

Assuming you had read our short little writeup in the earlier introduction and had not skipped over to this page directly, you would have realized that we posed a rather hypothetical question of whether a 'smartphone on steroids' could be remotely considered to be a 'tablet'. Indeed, with the likes of Samsung's Galaxy Tab and Apple's iPad featuring display sizes of at least seven inches and above, to call the five-inch Dell Streak a tablet is going to be nothing short of stretching (or shrinking) the definition of a 'tablet'.

dscf0003 Dell Streak review: Streaking its way into the hearts of consumers

To justify that remark, let's take a look at some numbers here. According to Dell, the Streak comes with a five-inch capacitive touchscreen which sports a native resolution of 800 x 480 commonly found on smartphones. To put that in perspective, the Galaxy Tab's seven-inch display features a much higher native resolution of 1024 x 600, while Apple's iPad tops the charts with its 9.7-inch display and 1024 x 768 resolution. If we were to make a call based purely on display sizes and resolutions, the Dell Streak probably fits the bill as a smartphone much better than that of a portable tablet.

However, it is clear from the Streak's design that Dell has always intended for the device to function like a tablet. While most smartphones sport button arrangements that are designed to be used while the device is being held in a portrait orientation, the Dell Streak breaks the mould by featuring touchscreen buttons that are geared towards operating the device in landscape mode, as shown in the image below. And in case you are wondering, the buttons located on the touch-sensitive panel are the 'Back' 'Menu' and 'Home' buttons that come standard on most Android-powered devices.

dscf0023 Dell Streak review: Streaking its way into the hearts of consumers


In addition to the positioning and layout of the touchscreen buttons, the placement of the Dell Streak's physical buttons and charging port provide further illustration that the Dell Streak is meant to be operated almost exclusively in landscape mode.

dscf0011 Dell Streak review: Streaking its way into the hearts of consumers

While we are at it, we might as well make use of the opportunity to point out that the Dell Streak makes use of a proprietary connector for charging purposes. This means that you cannot exactly waltz into a computer hardware store and purchase any standard USB cable for such purposes.

dscf0015 Dell Streak review: Streaking its way into the hearts of consumers

Readers may notice that the Dell Streak comes with an additional physical button located just next to the power button. While other tablet OEMs would usually provide nothing more than the bare essentials such as the obligatory volume control and power buttons, Dell has furnished the Streak with its own dedicated camera button. What was interesting about the Streak's camera button though, was that it functioned exactly how one would expect the shutter button  an actual digital camera to work. Slightly depressing the button will result in the Streak's camera's autofocus system kicking in, while fully depressing it records a still picture.

At this point, it should be quite clear at this point that the Streak is an obvious attempt by Dell to merge the portability of a smartphone and the features of a tablet into one convenient package. And in all honesty, we have to admit that they managed to pull it off…somewhat. While its five-inch display means that the Streak is too great a monster to be considered as a smartphone, we are not exactly sure if its dimensions even comes close to tablet territory, simply because the general impression most people have about tablet PCs is that they are not exactly supposed to fit inside a pocket.

But hey, Dell calls its Streak a tablet, so who are we to dispute that?


A Closer Look: Aesthetics, Battery Compartment and SIM/SD Card slots

Having established that the Streak is meant to be a tablet and not a smartphone, we now turn our attention to the more important features that a consumer would be interested in. Needless to say, this includes its general look and feel, along with expandability options.

To say that the Streak 'looks good' is probably quite the understatement. Granted, there are other tablets out in the market which boast some rather decent designs, but as far as aesthetics are concerned, the Streak is definitely capable of holding its own. At least, we can only speak for our review unit, which came with an extremely bright and attention-grabbing red scheme.

Flipping the Dell Streak over reveals the device's red paint job in all its glory, as shown in the image below.

dscf0005 Dell Streak review: Streaking its way into the hearts of consumers

The Dell Streak comes bundled with two cameras: one is located at the top of the device's touchscreen while the other is situated at the rear. The rear-facing camera boasts the ability to capture still images at resolutions of five megapixels and features dual LEDs for flash purposes.

dscf0010 Dell Streak review: Streaking its way into the hearts of consumers


Also, unlike most tablets available on the market today, the Dell Streak features a removable battery, which can be accessed by simply sliding off the aluminium battery cover as shown below. Needless to say, this allows users the luxury of performing their own battery replacements instead of having to take the device down to an authorized service centre to do so.

dscf0024 Dell Streak review: Streaking its way into the hearts of consumers

dscf0039 Dell Streak review: Streaking its way into the hearts of consumers


Located next to the battery are the all-important SIM card and MicroSD card slots for connectivity and storage purposes respectively. Nothing exactly impressive, considering that these come standard in most tablets today.

dscf0037 Dell Streak review: Streaking its way into the hearts of consumers