Summary & Conclusion
We feel like we end up repeating ourselves somewhere here, but the smartphone market is blossoming in a major way. Every other week or so, we're seeing yet another flagship phone ship from the major players, and while Dell wasn't even a part of this market a few years back, they should definitely be taken seriously now. The Aero was forgettable, and the Venue simply a lot of other Android phones competing with it. But in the relatively uncrowded Windows Phone 7 realm, the Venue Pro legitimately stands out. It's a beautifully built phone with a marvelous operation system, and it's already taking advantage of the NoDo update. There's the best of both worlds from a keyboard standpoint: QWERTY and virtual. All in all, this is a spectacular smartphone for the average consumer.
The 1GHz CPU and massive 4.1" display are great for pushing WP7, which is a tremendously well-designed mobile OS. We commend Microsoft for shaking off the troubles of Windows Mobile and forging ahead with something truly refreshing. For most casual users, we'd wager that WP7 will rank right up there with iOS for speed, simplicity and ease-of-use. It's truly that good. But those who need Flash in a browser, background notifications, a bona fide Gmail app and integrated tethering support will be let down.
While the hardware is awesome, Microsoft has seemingly overlooked and left out a few vital things in an effort to get WP7 onto the market. There's great Facebook integration, but no Twitter integration. There's no tethering support (Wi-Fi nor USB). The e-mail app, while beautiful, won't cut it for users who rely on Gmail. Office integration is nifty, but still lacks the refinement we were expecting. The whole OS feels like an amazing launching pad, but it's still a few updates out from being perfect. That said, we think those nitpicks will be easy to overlook for the casual user, and if you've been dodging WP7 due to Microsoft's prior smartphone operating system (Windows Mobile), it's time to give them another shot.
The overall package here is laudatory. However, you can't drop in additional storage to the device, and 16GB is largest storage option available from Dell. All told however, at $99.99 on contract for the 8GB model, the Dell Venue Pro is one of the better bargains out there. If you are willing to give WP7 a chance, we doubt you'll be let down by what's on offer here.