back to article Dell Streak 7 Android tablet

Despite the original Streak being one of the first devices of its type on the market, Dell’s Android tablet didn’t really set the word alight. A less than fresh version of Android, a high price tag and a distance between the screen corners too close to many a smartphone, all counted against it. Dell Streak 7 Clean slate? Dell's …

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needs a better screen

I'm a big fan of the 7" form factor (its way better than iPad for ebooks and video), but this needs a better screen. If they could updgrade the screen for say, an extra £50 on the retail price, I'd be seriously tempted, because unlike my Galaxy Tab, this at least has the possibility of an upgrade to Honeycomb.

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Re: needs a better screen

Although I agree with the sentiment of your comment I downvoted it because of your willingness to pay an extra 50GBP for an a better screen. These things are already overpriced and at 300GBP should have a decent display, personally I'd prefer a 10" screen.

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FAIL

Disappointing.

Capacitive screen? 800x480 resolution? And not even running Honeycomb. Seems a fail before it even starts doesn't it?

I certainly wouldn't buy any Android device expecting anything but the OS it shipped with either. Been there and been burned. History has so far shown that OS upgrades happen rarely unless you are prepared to hack it and look for community driven options.

Hardware manufacturers want you to buy new hardware, there is little in it for them keeping you happy with the OS upgrades. For Apple, they make lots of money on content and apps too, so it's worth keeping as many old devices up-to-date as is sensible.

Maybe an Amazon tablet will change all that...

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Headmaster

How exactly...?

does a capacitative screen disappoint you?

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oops

Stupid moment. Of course a capacitative screen is good.

Doesn't stop it being rather disappointing as a whole though...

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WTF?

80% WTF

80%? How. This tablet sounds shit. In every single way it's far far worse than the HTC. Even if it costs more, the HTC has to be significantly better value than this piece of crap.

That's if you really want a 7" tablet, of course. Personally I feel it's too big for a phone, too small for a tablet. YMMV, however.

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"even if it costs more"

£180 more. That's a lot more. And that's before you look at the 3G version of the flyer. Lordy, did you buy a crap Dell desktop at some point or something?

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Dell

I 'acquired' a Dell desktop at one point. Even at free it was too expensive. Spent all my time fecking about with drivers and bits and pieces not working. Dell seem to lash together their PCs from whatever components are cheapest at the time, then throw a few random drivers up onto their website and hope for the best.

I wouldn't touch Dell with a pointy-poo stick these days.

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Re: Dell

Consumer desktops presumably? I haven't had a serious configuration problem with their workstations, laptops or monitors.

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too much

My local computer store has a wifi-only 7" tablet with a dual core cpu & Gingerbread % better resolution for £135. Another £24 & you get 3G.

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Never had a driver problem myself...

With much extensive business use of their Vostro/Optiplex desktops. So long as you don't try anything unreasonable like trying to install Windows 7 on a 2005 Pentium IV machine and expect them to provide drivers for a machine sold before 7 was even publicised then you are fine.

In fact I'd say they are pretty good with drivers, there is always a tested version on the website. They are also great with documentation, service manuals etc - not all companies publish instructions to disassemble their laptops for example, yet even for the cheap machines I can get this from Dell, saves a lot of trial and error and "where is that last screw holding this together" moments.

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Dell

A basic summary of all Dell products:

Desktops: Terrible. Components bought from the lowest bidder. Often proprietary. Prone to breakage. PSUs suck balls.

Laptops: Pathetic. Screens are prone to dying, components as above.

Printers: Appalling. Stab yourself in the eye with a rusty fork, it'll be better.

Peripherals (keyboards, mice etc): a big bucket of "meh".

Monitors: Decent. For some reason.

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I have to agree

@The BigYin Dells build quality is bad, and their customer service is horrifying. "For home purchasers anyway" Dell burned its bridges with me long ago.

I can safely say, my last two Dell laptops are a big part of why I now own three Macs today. And they were not low end models. I do not want to guess how the Dell experience is going to be with a budget plastic tablet.

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Too right about Dell desktops

Not so long ago, I left a fairly recent Dell desktop PC running at my desk, and returned to a strong smell of smoke and a blank screen. Turned out the PSU had gone "pop", and taken the graphics card (a bit of a POS in its own right, but that's another story) out with it.

I suppose I was lucky that the whole box didn't catch fire - one doesn't expect this sort of thing from one of the top-selling PC makers on the planet. Well, after reading this, I can't really say that any more, can I...

("FAIL", because this was a pretty epic one)

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Anonymous Coward

PSUs

My old corporate Dimension dual core machine used to chew through PSUs.

Had at least 2 changed.

Although the new corporate thinkpads aren't any better, have a tendency to randomly hard reboot!

Last I heard after I left was that the old Dell desktop was being used as a server with my Fedora Core install.

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Ru
Unhappy

I actually liked the Streak 5

...but then, I got mine refurbished for 250 quid and immediately flashed it with a StreakDroid OS image to bring it up to Android 2.2.2. I found the form factor ideal; it is just about large enough to use as an ebook reader, but more than large enough to be a decent web browsing/video watching device, etc. It also has the convenient feature that (at least in portrait mode) there's still plenty of screen real estate available above the on-screen keyboard which makes it a quite reasonable SSH device. All that, and I can still fit it into a large pocket.

7" devices fail the pocket requirement, and 3" or 4" smartphones I tend to find have a screen that feels slightly too small whilst still being inconveniently bulky compared to my boring old Symbian S40 phone.

Shame 5" is considered the worst of all worlds by everyone else; I don't ever see it being a popular size.

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Gorilla glass

The reviewer can tell Gorilla Glass by touch? It feels nicer and smoother?!? Sorry, I'll have to see a blind test before I believe this.

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FAIL

7" is big enough, but not low res please!

I've got a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7, also on android 2.2.

I got the 3G in a special offer that actually made it cheaper than the wifi, but that's another story.

Like David Evans, 7" format is perfect for me. I spent a long time looking around since the first android tablet appeared.

I did like the thought of this Dell Streak 7, in fact I so nearly got myself a Streak 5 on android 2.2 just before this came out. But it wasn't quite good enough for me. Neither, in the end was the 5.

But the clincher is the poor screen resolution.

Maybe the next Dell Streak will hit the mark better and come with a higher screen resolution?

Sadly, for me this one is a fail.

Won't have any apple at any price, even completely free - can't stand the idea of Apple's Thought Police telling me what I can/can't have because of their poorly thought out morality.

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Meh

Fail on screen resolution...

In general, I prefer Android to iOS, but something Apple got right with the iPad was the decision to go for a 4:3 resolution display. At least in the West, it's significantly better for reading, as tablets tend to be held in "portait" mode and we read left-to-right. And most physical media (magazines/comics/newspapers/etc) are still presented in the 4:3 aspect, as are the majority of electronic documents (Word docs, PDFs, etc).

Give me an Android tablet with a 4:3 screen (and halfway decent battery life) and my iPad will be on Ebay quicker than you can say "SD card slot and no jailbreaking required"...

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FAIL

Screen resolution fail

So this device has the same resolution screen as my £80 Orange San Francisco smartphone!

I can only conclude that this device is for those with deteriorating eyesight.

For this device to be useful it needs 1024 x 600 screen - the same as a 7" netbook.

Here's my pricing guide for all you fondleslab pretenders to the throne

7", 800x480, GPS, WiFi £150

7", 1024x600, GPS, WiFi £200

7", 1024 x600, GPS, WiFi, 3G £250

10" iPad , GPS, WiFi £400

Always, always compare what you have to the iPad, since all your customers will. It needs to be significantly cheaper.

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@GregWoods

The WiFi only iPad (the one that costs around £400) doesn't have GPS either -- only the "WiFi + 3G" model does.

Other than that I tend to agree.

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Streak 5

You're forgetting that the streak 5 was also a phone - albeit a huge one :)

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£249

Seems to be £249 (and that does include VAT & shipping) at the Dell website + there's 7% cashback available from places like quidco at the moment so effectively just over £230.

So definitely hitting the "better that the £99 restive screen rubbish but much cheaper than the iPad" spot.

Interesting!

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Anonymous Coward

or £289 for a 1st gen iPad

Loads of as new first generationiPads from the refurbished section of the Apple store.

The 16GB is for sale at £289, and can even get 3% Quidco on that.

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Anonymous Coward

or £289 for a 1st gen iPad

Loads of as new first generation iPads from the refurbished section of the Apple store.

The 16GB is for sale at £289, and can even get 3% Quidco on that.

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FAIL

Android tablet fail

As the unfortunate owner of a Samsung Galaxy Tab, this seems like more of the same. They keep making them oversized phones rather than true tablet computers. They look awful and work even less well. I'm sure I was drunk when I bought the damn thing. They're great adverts for the iPad.

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Aspect

Don't agree 4:3 is better, won't fit in a jacket pocket. The Streak would at a push.

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Those are big pockets...

I would have thought that height was more of a concern than width: the Dell Streak 7 is 200mm tall (7.9 inches). That's a pretty big pocket. And it also weighs 454g, or only slightly less than a 500ml bottle of pop. So your jacket will be heavily pulled down to one side. Unless you stick said bottle of pop into the pocket on the other side...

In any case, assuming that the height and weight aren't an issue, then according to my fag-packet calculations, Going to a 7", 4:3 screen would increase the width from 4.7 inches to around 5.7 inches (assuming the frame remains about the same) - or roughly the same size as an A5 piece of paper.

The pockets on the majority of jackets I own would be able to accommodate this - they comfortably take DVD cases and/or large paperbacks. As per above, I'd be more concerned about the fact that an inch or two of the unit would be sticking up out of the pocket, making it an easy target for damage and/or theft...

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Coat

Pocket Issue: perhaps a Smartphone

I agree with you, on the Pocket Size, as I was debating getting either a netbook or a tablet for casual portable use. I usually carry pocket books with me in naturally, pockets, and looked into this as base for size, the size of a Moleskine notebook or slightly larger.

Unfortunately this is close to Smart Phone sized, which could be a choice except, they aren't quite powerful enough, and their use like a tablet would murder battery life. And its designed to be a freakin phone with a little more added, not really as a tablet.

I just want my damn Tricorder or PADD, and I want it to fit in my coat pocket. (Hence a coat)

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Jacket pocket?

I guess if it fitting in a jacket pocket is your most important quality, then you also won't mind the crap screen. WIN WIN

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Go

Galaxy Tab 7"

Whilst the Galaxy Tab 7" doesn't have a dual-core Tegra-2 CPU, that isn't necessarily a disadvantage. The video playback capabilities of the Hummingbird in the GTab7 are way better than those of any Tegra-2 tablet. It also fits very neatly in a jacket pocket.

As to the 4:3 vs 16:9 discussion - it's very much horses for courses. Apart from browsing the web, I watch more video on my device than I do read books, so from my perspective the 16:9 aspect ratio is a better choice for me. Having said that, on a 7" tablet , reading books in portrait doesn't feel particular odd especially when you consider that most paperback books have a ratio closer to 16:9 than 4:3.

On the subject of the Streak 7 - it simply isn't as good as the GTab 7" - full stop, done, dusted.

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2G for apps?

2 GB for apps? So WTF is it doing with the other 14 GB then?!

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Holmes

It's not the screen...

...It's battery life where this tablet fails.

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Anonymous Coward

Depends on what you want

I have an iPad, my wife has a Archos 70. Leaving aside the various merits of the machines, the Archos, with its 7" screen, is better for reading portrait style when communting

Then again, my iPad and a bluetooth keyboard makes an indulgent, but useable, laptop replacement

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Hmmm

"it can be updated OTA, which suggests a Gingerbread or Honeycomb update may arrive at some point."

As an owner of several previous Android devices I applaud your careful use of 'suggests' and 'may arrive'.

What *will* happen is that they'll promise a Honeycomb upgrade 'in the future' and then give up on the 7" tablet as soon as they've stuffed the channel and go on to marketing the next model which "will offer the best flash mobile experience yet!". (I'm looking at YOU, Samsung).

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Unhappy

Be patient

Have owned many tablets from EO440 to iPad.

Really want a 5" or 7" Tablet as a mobile Video Camera for golf, swim & tennis movies.

Plus ripped DVDs. Operating system - immaterial.

Current crop not acceptable because of display resolution or high price.

Ideal discounted price point £250

My advice is to wait a couple of months.

Most vendors will refresh products in Sept for USA Thanksgiving & Xmas Hols & 4Q Results.

Latest operating system, better displays, faster chips, more storage.

Also come Jan/Feb expect shelves stacked with heavily discounted tablets of unsold stock as most punters will go for iPad 2.

Of course, Apple may surprise us in Sept with a 5" or 7" mini iPad ie. updated iPod touch.

But I'm not holding my breath...........

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Title

>But it’s a shame the screen is a bit low-rent and low-res – the battery life could be better too.<

So two of the more important parts of a tablet are crap, shouldn't the score reflect that, about 65%?

The scores basically say this is better than the HP Touchpad and RIM Playbook (75%), as good as the eee pad transformer, but not as good as the ipad2 (90%).

Disconnect.

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Happy

Yay for 7" devices.

As a Galaxy tab owner I'd have to say the 7" form factor is great. Despite what people think when they see it, it does fit comfortably into the average pair of work trousers.

I use mine daily as a phone and email device. As a phone it's a bit odd since it's hands free only, but unless in the company of other people, this is quite handy as it means less head cooking :) With space for decent speakers it doesn't sound like a tinny hands free

... but I also carry a diminutive Nokia E51 which is ideal for quick one-handed calls and texts while walking.

The 7" 16:9 factor is ideal for video watching as well as wasting time reading news sites, and as a camera it's great since you can clearly see what you're snapping. I use mine as a photocopier as well since you can just snap a pic of a page, model number, serial number, SIM card, whatever, and it's perfectly readable.

But I'd have to agree that this Dell product is woeful in their choice of resolution. Not sure what they were thinking when they chose that. Mind you the worst 7" tablet I've ever owned is the Pioneer Dreambook - a $100AU cheap chinese knockoff tablet that is so mentally challenged that you have to hold each letter for at least .3 seconds for it to register, and most video operations take .5 to 1 second to render. Fortunately it does Kindle OK so it gets to live.

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FAIL

Transformer

The Transformer also "only" received 80% despite this tablet failing miserably on screen resolution and battery life?

Whilst a very, very long time reg reader I think I'm going to have to stop reading the reviews...

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Anonymous Coward

re: Transformer

"Whilst a very, very long time reg reader I think I'm going to have to stop reading the reviews..."

Or you could just ignore the rating.

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FAIL

DOOMED to fail

Why do manufacturers even bother producing such low-spec kit and then unload the second barrel into their other foot by puting a fantastic price tag on it?

Please note that I'm using the word 'fantastic' in its true grammatical sense, ie. Dell's desire to sell this shit at that price is pure fantasy.

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FAIL

Shoulda gotta Kogan

I'm stunned that this device obtained an 80% score when it appears to be markedly inferior overall to the Kogan Agora 7 in tablet with a capacitative screen and Android 2.3 that I bought from Kogan UK on pre-order for about a hundred quid. (now available for the standard retail price of about 130, I believe). I can't imagine anyone in their right minds paying that much money for a tablet a tablet with the specs of the Dell when you can get a better tablet for half the price - nor can I comprehend the 80% rating the Dell has been given. 30 or 40% would be more like it. Come on, El Reg - grab a Kogan Agora tablet, review that, then revisit the ratings you've given other tablets. The Agora isn't perfect, it's not in the same league as the best tablets, but what it IS is a useful wee tablet that is damned good value for the money - something that the Dell tablet reviewed here patently is not.

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