Dell Streak review roundup

Dell Streak is set for a Friday release. But how many users are in the market for a 'tweener' device?

Dell Streak gets high marks for its processing power, but some reviewers say the device looks ridiculous when held to a user's ear.

On Friday, Dell is set to release the Streak, a device that falls somewhere between a tablet and a smartphone. Dell says the Streak, which ships with a whopping 5-inch touchscreen, "is ideal for experiencing thousands of Android Market widgets, games and applications, all without squinting or compromising portability." But critics have argued that consumers will be turned off by the device's "tweener" status.

(As a point of comparison, the iPhone 4 is 3.5 inches diagonally. Droid X enjoys a 4.3-inch screen. The iPad is 9.7.)

So is the Dell Streak likely to be a dud or a smash hit? Let's go to the score cards.

Over at the Wall Street Journal, Walt Mossberg likes the memory capacity on the Streak – 19 GB in all, including the 16 GB removable card – and applauds the clear call quality. But Mossberg says the Streak "looks somewhat ridiculous when held up to the ear to make a phone call." Moreover, he points out, the screen resolution on the Streak is lacking, compared even to the much-smaller iPhone 4.

The Streak runs on the Android 1.6 OS, which means that users will have access to thousands of third-party apps. "But I couldn’t find, and Dell couldn’t identify, any apps written especially for its larger screen," Mossberg writes. "In fact, a few Android apps I tested seemed to crowd all their icons into just a portion of the Streak’s screen, especially when the device was held vertically, leaving lots of white space."

Over at the UK Telegraph, Matt Warman and Hunter Skipworth are a little friendlier to the Dell Streak, which retails for $299.99 with a two-year AT&T voice and data plan. "Bought on a contract," Warman and Skipworth write, "[the Streak] offers undoubtedly some of the best value for money on the tablet market to date as well as one of the cheapest and most powerful mobile phones you can buy."

Warman and Skipworth fault Dell for including the relatively-antiquated Android 1.6 OS – after all, Android 2.2 is ready and available – but they like the Snapdragon processor, which they say allows the Dell Streak to hum along at a nice pace. "Web pages load quickly and the touch screen is very responsive making browsing straightforward and easy. It may lack some of the [user interface] niceties of the iPad but as a bare bones internet viewing device it works brilliantly," they conclude.

Last word in this Streak review roundup goes to the folks at Slashgear, who admit that the handset is a little clunky, but praise the screen size on the Streak. "Going from browsing on the Streak back to a 3.7- or even 4.3-inch display feels unduly restrictive, even if those handsets make more sense for voice calls," the Slashgear reviewers write. "Like any tablet, the Streak is destined to be a niche product; those who fall within that niche, though, will find themselves using a device with plenty of promise and plenty to recommend it."

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