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Dell Streak Tablet

"Usability is what will really make you fall in love with this device. Easy to find options for accessing the net, or your phonebook, as well as switching to documents and e-mails, make this device simple and efficient"
PC Site score:
 
60
Battery:
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Overview

The Dell Streak is a very thin portable tablet that is based in design around Smartphone technology. It boasts high levels of connectivity and fantastic usability. Cost-wise you are looking at a mid to high level buy, but such things don’t come cheap.

Dell’s latest tablet comes with a docking station for added connectivity, giving you a HDMI option; it can also be plugged in to keyboards and other systems via USB. It’s a fun device that’s easy to use and cool looking.

What we like best

With such devices companies are constantly trying to outdo each other. As defining features the Dell Streak has been given a larger screen then you would find on any Smartphone. This works both for and against it, but the 5 inch multi-touch 480 x 800 pixel resolution screen certainly comes in handy for viewing videos and PDFs, and it allows an impressively sized touchscreen keypad for note taking too.

The other major attraction of the Dell Streak is the 5.0 MP autofocus camera, which is a feature you’ll probably find on the next generation of iPads, so Dell have beaten Apple to the punch there.

Usability is what will really make you fall in love with this device. Easy to find options for accessing the net, or your phonebook, as well as switching to documents and e-mails, make this device simple and efficient. There is something of the Apple touch screen navigation design to the Dell streak. You can scroll across pages with a slide of your finger accessing, and downloading applications to make it both functional and fun.

What we like least

As a machine that can be used as a mobile phone it is a curious device, telecommunications are in no way an issue, but the stature of the Dell Streak makes it an odd thing to hold up to your head. Since mobile phones have been shrinking since their inception it is strange at first holding such a huge device up to your ear.

The real rub is that there are no included office apps; they can be bought, which will make the tablet more serviceable to professionals, but they certainly would’ve made a nice addition to the standard package.

The verdict

Archos’ attempt to create user friendly tablets really didn’t do the industry much good, but Dell has redeemed the tablet. It is now a truly user-friendly and dependable device. It incorporates heavier processing power than you normally find on a handheld, the 1 GHz Snapdragon processor is up to the task. Operating with Android 1.6 or the recent Froyo 2.2 means you can manage many functions that normally require a laptop or netbook. This multi-featured tablet makes an admirable travel companion, and optional alternative to a netbook or Smartphone.

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Specifications

Processor Speed

1 GHz

Processor

Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8250

RAM

Up to 512 Mb Rom & RAM

Screen Size

5 inch
TFT Capacitative touchscreen 480 x 800 pixel resolution

Graphics

not listed

Hard Drive Storage

Up to 32 Gb Hard Drive

Battery

Li-Ion 1530 mAh standard

Multimedia

5MP Rear facing Auto-Focus Camera
VGA Front-Facing Camera
H.263 H.264 3GP MPEG4 aNd WMV Video browsing
Webkit Android browser
Multiple sound options including MPEG4 and WAV
TFT Capacitative touchscreen 480 x 800 pixels
Accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate
Multi-touch input method
Proximity Sensor for auto turn-off

Ports

1 x HDMI
1 x USB

Weight & Size

152.9mm (W) x 79.1mm (H) x 10mm (D)
220 g

Connectivity

WLAN
GPRS
EDGE
3G
Bluetooth

Operating System

Android multi-touch UI

Product Description

With the Dell Streak fresh out on the market, and with smartphones gracing palms the world over Rosie Khdir ponders the future of mobile technology.

The invasion of the smartphone

Over the previous year, the evolution of the mobile phone to mini-handheld computer has accelerated, generally thanks the growing desire to always be connected or online.

Nearly every large tech company has released a smartphone and updated versions are all on the horizon, but PC innovation is usually a more prolonged and sustained process.

These rapid developments in mobile technology are proving just how behind the game the PC makers are lagging with simple things such as GPS awareness. Why is this? It seems it’s all down to the chipset aka Intel and what it decides to include in its chips.

Next step, the tablet

Another mobile device that is beginning to grip the globe is the tablet. The majority of the hullabaloo is thanks to the Apple iPad – which has now exceeded over 3 million sales – as well as devices from hardware giants like HP, and Microsoft and Lenovo.

According to a recent Dell blog:

“The Dell Streak is a hybrid device that lives in the space between a smartphone and other larger tablets or netbooks.”

A little competition never hurt anyone

It has been put forward that Apple has pushed this next evolution in computing thanks to its iPhone, iPod Touch and more recently the iPad. Strong competition therefore is another factor contributing the rapid development in mobile devices; no company wants to be seen as the last on the bandwagon.

Where Intel is taking its time and practically ruling the motherboard of PCs, chipset engineers for smartphones are climbing over each other to get their chips into the latest model. This type of competition fuels innovation, which is another reason for the rapid progress in the mobile market.

So what is the future of mobile technology?

Many people believe that PCs will be obsolete in a few years as tablets become the norm, while others have faith in their future use.

At the rate in which mobile technology is growing, and with innovative devices like the Dell Streak providing users with the ultimate hybrid of computing and communication the fate of the PC looks pretty bleak.

It will either spur Intel and computer manufacturers to speed up PC innovation, or it will see them all place all their energy into mobile devices that “have it all”. A quote for an article by a guest author for TechCrunch, sums up the situation nicely:

“As we approach the next evolution in computing as ushered in by the iPad, Microsoft and Intel are under extraordinary pressure to recover in mobile. But not only do they lack the technology to succeed, they will also fall victim to the inbred structure they’ve created in the PC industry. It’s very likely that within five years, tablets, smartphones, and other “mobile devices” will have permanently left PC innovation behind. And I’d argue this is a good thing for both the progression of exciting new technologies, and for consumers.”

Image credit: thefranksterk

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