Dell Venue Android Smartphone Review

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Introduction & Specifications

Just a few years ago, it would have been a stretch to think Dell would venture into the smartphone business. With the exception of a few stand-outs, Dell has always been fairly conservative with their products and had never really strayed too far from the PC and its associated peripherals and accessories, although they did make a few slick PDAs back in their heyday. Dell's been mobile for years, however, and the Adamo XPS showed that the company's design squad is certainly capable of producing some world-class, ultra-mobile hardware. But Dell smartphone? As strange as it may have sounded just a few years ago, the company has launched a full-on assault into the handset market, and not a minute too soon.
The competition in the smartphone space is intense. It's shocking to think of how far we have come since Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007 and virtually transformed the business. Now, four years later, we've seen Android leapfrog iOS as a mobile platform in a number of ways, and the fierce competition between Google and Apple for mobile user marketshare is benefiting us all. Whatever one company does, the other tries to outdo and that helps drive innovation.

Dell's initial smartphones weren't record breakers. The Aero didn't quite catch on, but things really started to look up when news of the Venue started swirling. Two models were eventually revealed, and while they both carry the Venue brand, they're decidedly different. The Venue Pro is a Windows Phone 7-based device with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The Venue, which we're reviewing here today, is a slate-styled device with no slide-out keyboard and it has Android 2.2 as the operating system.

Dell Venue smartphone (unlocked; AT&T 3G)
Specifications & Features
Processor and memory
1 GHz QSD 8250  processor
1GB internal ROM, 512MB internal RAM
16 GB memory card included (expandable to 32 GB)
Operating System
Android 2.2 (Froyo)
GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
WCDMA 850/1900/2100 or 900/AWS/2100
HSDPA 7.2 Mbps / HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
Wi-Fi & mobile calling
Wi-Fi sharing (Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 5 other devices)
GPS with navigation capability
4.1-inch AMOLED Screen (480x800)
Size and weight
121 x 64 x 12.9mm
 5.8 ounces
Cameras and multimedia
8 megapixel rear-facing camera with HD camcorder
No front-facing camera
Full Web browsing with Adobe Flash Player 10.1 support
3.5mm headset jack
Unlocked; available for T-Mobile and AT&T ($499.99 direct from Dell)
In-Box Content
USB Cable
Stereo Headset

The Venue is unique in a number of ways. For one, it's a Dell, and Dell only makes a handful of phones. But it's also an unlocked 3G phone with support for AT&T's 3G frequencies. The only other major Android AT&T phone that was ever sold unlocked in the US was the HTC-built Nexus One, a phone that Google has since stopped selling. In other words, this is pretty much your only option at the moment if you need a phone that is both unlocked and capable of working with AT&T's 3G network.

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