Dell Streak Android Tablet Review

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The Streak has some heft to it, and its large footprint (6.0 x 3.1 inches) gives the illusion that it weighs more than its actual 7.7 ounces. As points of comparison, the HTC Incredible weighs 4.6 ounces and the iPhone 3GS comes in at 4.8 ounces. But at only 0.4-inches thin, the Streak is one of the thinnest Android smartphones we’ve used—it’s thinner than both the Incredible and iPhone 3GS.

Top edge: The camera shutter button, power button, volume rocker, and headphone jack
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Bottom edge: The proprietary 30-pin power/sync connector
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The Streak is essentially a thin black slab with rounded edges. When the display isn’t lit, the dark screen blends in with the rest of the Streak’s black body. The device is meant to be held primarily in landscape mode; this is a marked difference from most Android smartphones, which typically use portrait mode as their default view. When holding the Streak this way, the device’s only physical buttons are located on its top edge, and include (from left to right), the volume rocker, the power switch, and the camera shutter button. Perhaps as a function of the device’s landscape format, we found that we all too often accidentally pushed one of these buttons when we didn’t intend to. It is likely that over time we would get used to the landscape format and not be so clumsy with the controls—but needless to say, it takes some getting used to.

The Home, Menu, and Back buttons
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Another quibble we have with the Streak is that the Android home screen only displays in landscape mode. While numerous apps and settings screens auto-rotate when you switch between landscape and portrait mode, this is not case for the home screen. The trouble is, the Home, Menu, and Back buttons are located on the right edge of the device, which makes using them a bit awkward in landscape mode. It feels far more natural to use these buttons when in portrait mode, when they are located at what then becomes the bottom of the screen. The Home, Menu, and Back buttons are capacitive buttons that light up when the display is active, and cause the phone to vibrate when pressed. The microphone is hidden in a little notch at the bottom of the display, near the Home button.

On the back: The speaker, back cover, and rear-facing camera
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On the left edge of the Streak are a pair of proximity sensors, the phone earpiece, the front-facing camera, and a pair of ambient-light sensors. On the back of the device are the speaker, the rear-facing camera, two LED flashes for the camera, and the back cover. When you remove the cover, the Streak instantly powers off. The removable battery, SIM card, and MicroSD card are all accessible beneath the cover. The Streak comes populated with a 16GB MicroSD card (upgradable to 32GB). On the bottom edge of the Streak is where you’ll find the 30-pin power/sync port. It looks a lot like the iPhone/iPod connector, but it is really a proprietary connector.

Remove the back cover to access the battery, SIM card, and MicroSD card
(Click to enlarge)

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