The contacts application is easy to set up, as it allows integration with Gmail, Facebook and Outlook. Any duplicate entries can be speedily disposed of, using the merge function. Each contact entry has a list of potential interaction methods running alongside to facilitate communication without entering the address book or the appropriate application. It is a nice touch for quick dialling or messaging. Additionally, the user can choose sets of contacts to view for easy location.
In terms of telephony, there is nothing new to admire in the Streak. In fact, it would have been nice to be able to have smart dialling options, but that feature hasn’t been included. There is Voice Calling, however, which somewhat redeems the call application from the depths of mediocrity.
The messaging application and the associated methods of input are varied and all equally well-designed. There is the option of using the device with one hand or two, and in either portrait or landscape mode – and all the permutations thereof. Of course, comfortable access is derived solely from the user’s personal preference, but on the whole, each method is easy to use with a little practice. There is an auto-correct functionality to account for any and all typing errors made when using the device. Additionally, the function learns from frequent use of the phone, therefore presumably it only gets better.
A user can configure multiple accounts on the Streak, and set them to lie side by side on the homescreen. Unfortunately there is no facility for threaded messages, which is a handy feature much loved by Gmail users.
The web browser certainly has more manoeuvrability than on a smartphone, making the experience akin to a fully-fledged computer. The device comes pre-loaded with the Android WebKit-based browser and Opera Mini, which always has my vote. In general, both browsers are evenly matched in terms of functionality and usability.
Although cameras are commonplace on smartphones, on tablets not so much. Therefore it is the Streak’s 5-megapixel camera that trumps the Apple iPad. Not only is the camera a better model, but the camera application is also excellent. There are features and functions packaged to the hilt, making it one of the better cameras available in the market. The camera also has dual flash, autofocus and multishot functions. There is also a fairly workable 4x digital zoom. The front-facing camera is obviously not as good, but its mere presence is a huge bonus.
The media player is fun to use with funky widgets and an interesting interface. There isn’t much that can be done to make a media player interesting, so the floating elements of the Streak are a lovely surprise. However, some of the controls are a little confusing. The sound quality also doesn’t come off well, which is a surprise considering this is not an issue during telephony. The overall performance of the media player is slow, again disappointing when all things are taken into account.
The Streak’s GPS is powered by Google, and their irreplaceable turn-by-turn navigation. The device’s size makes for easy viewing and almost effortless use. Added to that, the Streak has a built-in compass for the directionally-challenged users as well.
Connectivity options are commonplace for a device of this kind; there is Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, EDGE, 3G and everything else in between.