Dell Venue Review - First Look at the Dell Venue Pro's Android Sister
Dell Venue Review
The Dell Venue is the sister phone to the Dell Venue Pro currently released. At the moment, the Dell Venue is not available in the U.S. market, but is available in the Asian market, in places such as Hong Kong or Seoul, South Korea. The Dell Venue doesn’t run Windows Phone 7 like the Pro version does, instead the Dell Venue runs Android 2.2 with Dell’s proprietary overlay, Stage UI. The Dell Venue can be summed up as a miniature version of the Dell Streak, running the same operating system and overlay. The release to the U.S. market has been delayed. Whether the delay is due to hardware issues that the Dell Venue Pro faced, or if there are other reasons is yet unknown.
Dell Venue Specifications:
- Dimensions: 4.76 x 2.52 x 0.51 inches (121 x 64 x 12.9 mm)
- Weight: 5.78 oz (164 g)
- Display: 4.1 inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display, 480 x 800 pixels
- Memory: 1 GB + 32 GB MicroSD (16 GB included)
- OS: Android OS 2.2
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8250 @ 1 GHz
- Camera: 8 megapixel camera with LED flash
- Connectivity: GSM 850, 900, 1800, 1900 / UMTS 850, 1900, 2100
- Data: EDGE
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth 2.1, Stereo Bluetooth
- GPS: GPS with A-GPS
- Battery: Li-Ion 1400 mAh
Design and Display (5 out of 5)
The Dell Venue, like its Windows Phone 7 counterpart, is very distinctive in design, really standing out from the crowd of Android smartphones. The Dell Venue, similar to the Samsung Captivate or the Samsung Continuum, features a bright 4.1 inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display. It has rounded chrome sides contrasting against the main black body of the phone. Similar to the Dell Venue Pro, the Venue also has the slightly curved, “sheared design” Gorilla Glass covering the entire front of the phone. This design, like on the Dell Venue Pro, gives the Dell Venue a classy look from all angles.
Below the 4.1 inch display resides three shortcuts for Android, back, menu and home. This is slightly different from the usual four button layout, but this does allow the Dell Venue to have another area of resemblance to the Venue Pro. To the left resides a mute button and on the right edge resides the volume rocker and dedicated camera button. Up top is the usual 3.5 mm headphone jack along with the power / lock button. Down below is the opening for the microUSB. Rounding out the back of the phone is an 8 megapixel camera along with a large Dell logo.
Hardware and Software (3 out of 5)
The Dell Venue comes with a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, which was the standard for the previous generation of smartphones. The Dell Venue will be competing against dual core smartphones such as the Motorola Atrix 4G and the HTC Thunderbolt in the U.S. market. Even smartphones such as the Motorola Droid 2 Global have a 1.2 GHz processor, putting the Dell Venue just slightly behind.
The Dell Venue also lacks a bit on the operating system department. It is set to launch with Android 2.2 (Froyo) along with their Stage UI overlay. In today’s Android landscape, Android 2.2 is actually nearing the tail end of its lifecycle as Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) moves ahead. The Nexus S has Android 2.3 and the Nexus One recently received an update. Though the currently released smartphones are also still stuck in the land of Android 2.2, it’ll only be a matter of time before Android 2.3 powered smartphones start appearing.
User Interface (3 out of 5)
The Dell Venue, like other Android smartphones, is easy to learn and master. As everything is done by touch, people of all ages can quickly pick up the Venue and play around with the interface. Dell’s proprietary third party overlay, Stage is a welcome addition to Android and offers a sleek new design to the user interface. Compared to TouchWiz UI on phones such as the Samsung Fascinate, Stage actually gives another distinguishing factor for the Dell Venue. The various home screens have clear defined labels across the bottom, such as home, music, and social. There will always, of course, be fans who want stock Android over any overlays, which is understandable.
The user interface on the Dell Venue was very much like the Dell Streak, which may be Dell’s way of unifying all of their mobile devices. Oddly, however, the Dell Venue does not support landscape homescreens, which is a bit of a minus. The unifying interface is a great idea, and it distinguishes Dell devices from other tablets and smartphones, however, third party overlays have caused delays in updating Android. Hopefully Dell moves forward with updates, unlike Samsung which has hurt their customer base with slow updates.
Features (3 out of 5)
The Dell Venue packs quite the punch with an 8 megapixel camera with LED flash, but no front facing camera.
This is a bit of a disappointment as the HTC Thunderbolt, that’s soon to be released, will have an 8 megapixel camera and a front facing camera. The 8 megapixel camera for the Dell Venue is pretty decent, with no color fades or soft focus pictures. The camera application also comes loaded with a ton of options such as face tracking, scene modes, color effects, macro and the list goes on. The Dell Venue would actually make a pretty decent replacement for a regular digital camera.
The Dell Venue, like all Android powered smartphones, also has access to the Android Market, allowing access to thousands and thousands of applications. The 1 GHz processor is more than enough to process applications, so there would be no limitation on the applications you can add from the Market.
The Final Verdict (3 out of 5)
The Dell Venue is a decent phone and is ranked in at a solid ‘Average’ rating. If the Dell Venue had debuted earlier in the U.S. market, it may have been considered a game changer due to the design and specifications. However, in the current market, with the majority of smartphones now using processors faster than 1 GHz, or coming preloaded with newer versions of Android, or using new 4G networks, the Dell Venue has a hard time competing. Once the HTC Thunderbolt, Motorola Atrix 4G, and the Samsung Infuse 4G make their way into the market, the Dell Venue will become nearly obsolete. For a smartphone so well designed, and able to stand out from the crowd, the timing truly killed the momentum for the U.S. market.
However, for the rest of the world, the Dell Venue comes in fairly decently priced and is still a powerful smartphone, so, internationally, the Dell Venue may live on longer.
This post is part of the series: Dell Venue Series Review
Dell has attempted to enter the smartphone market before and fell flat. With the new Venue series of smartphone they’re hoping to grab onto the smartphone market. These reviews cover the Dell Venue smartphones currently available.