Dell Venue Pro Review
Dell is quite an odd new addition into the smartphone market. In a market dominated by Motorola, HTC, Samsung, and Nokia, Dell stands out as the odd man. Dell tried to enter the smartphone market with the Dell Aero but didn’t really light the U.S. market on fire, and rather showed that Dell may not have what it takes to be in the smartphone market. The Dell Venue Pro is their upgraded attempt to show the U.S. market that they have the skillset to create a powerful, sleek and usable smartphone. The Dell Venue Pro was released in Microsoft retail stores on November 8th, 2010 and is set to be released on Dell’s website on November 15th, 2010. It runs on T-Mobile USA’s wireless network.
Dell Venue Pro Specifications:
- Dimensions: 4.8" x 2.5" x 0.6" (122 x 64 x 15.2 mm)
- Weight: 6.8 oz (193 g)
- Display: 4.1 inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display, 480 x 800 pixels
- Memory: 8 GB
- OS: Windows Phone 7
- Processor: 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8250
- Camera: 5 MP camera, Autofocus with LED flash
- Connectivity: GSM (850/900/ 1800/1900) / CDMA (900/1700/2100)
- Data: EDGE, HSPA+ (T-Mobile’s "4G" network)
- 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 Pro is very nicely designed and is one of the few portrait sliders in the smartphone market.
Some notable currently released smartphones with slide out physical QWERTY keyboards in portrait mode are the Palm Pre and the BlackBerry Torch. This is a great design choice for the Dell Venue Pro as Windows Phone 7 is mainly portrait based. The recently released HTC Surround falls flat because the OS will not orient itself in landscape mode. The portrait QWERTY keyboard is a solid keyboard and snaps right out.
The display on the Dell Venue Pro is a beautiful, large, 4.1 inch OLED Gorilla Glass screen. This means the display is almost unscratchable. It has also got a slight curve to it, which is unique to Dell and makes the Dell Venue Pro seem more luxurious. Below this beautiful display are the standard three Microsoft mandated buttons; back, Start and search. To the right is the volume rocker and a dedicated camera key. The volume rocker being on the right does seem a bit off, as most handsets seem to have the rocker on the left. Similar to the recently released HTC Surround. On top is the 3.5 mm headphone jack and down below is the microUSB for charging.
Behind the beautiful display, the back of the phone has an almost carbon fiber like look. There’s a Dell logo, as well as a Windows Phone 7 logo and up top is the 5 megapixel camera with LED flash. The back looks almost silky smooth and the texture effect it has really makes the phone look, once again, luxurious.
Overall the Dell Venue Pro is designed amazingly well. The small nuances with the curved Gorilla Glass, the slightly sheared off top and bottom, to the textured back, it really looks like an impressive and luxurious smartphone.
Hardware and Software (4 out of 5)
The Dell Venue Pro, like other Windows Phone 7 smartphones, has required specifications to meet. It comes with a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processsor, which, as seen on other Windows Phone 7 phones, runs smooth and fast with no lag. Boot time is less than a minute, though as time goes on it may degrade. Windows Phone 7 is an extremely stable operating system and everything seems snappy.
The Dell Venue Pro, though it has the same specs as the HTC Surround, just seems to run WIndows Phone 7 more smoothly. This is mainly due to the Dell Venue Pro looking so much more sleek and clean. The tiles glide across the slightly curved glass, the animations run smoothly on the beautiful AMOLED screen and reactions to touch are snappy and responsive. Another interesting thing to note about the hardware is the speakers. The speakers on the Dell Venue Pro are crisp, though it still does have the feeling that it’s coming from a cellphone, sounds, music, calls come out loud. Quite funny considering the HTC Surround’s soundbar can’t seem to compare though that is the selling point.
User Interface (5 out of 5)
Due to Microsoft’s stance of enforcing standardization across their Windows Phone 7 handsets, the user interface to the Dell Venue Pro is pretty much the exact same experience as on any other Windows Phone 7 smartphone. From a software perspective, the Dell Venue Pro has the expected easy to use and easy to learn interface. Tiles provide up to date information without overloading your screen and integration with Microsoft products is spot on.
The physical QWERTY portrait keyboard is the big difference the Dell Venue Pro brings. The keyboard is solid and though it seems a bit tight, it’s surprisingly easy to type on. The slight bumps along with the rubbery texture and slight bounce they have make the keyboard very easy to use with one or two hands.
Features (4 out of 5)
The Dell Venue Pro is another Windows Phone 7 handset that seems a bit limited due to the fact that it can’t really come up with unique features. The ability to integrate seamlessly with Microsoft products, including Office and the XBox 360 are its main feature sets. The 5 megapixel camera with LED flash is about average as compared to the other smartphones currently on the market. Like the Motorola Droid X or the Samsung Captivate, the Dell Venue Pro offers the same decent quality pictures but can’t quite shake that feeling that they’re from a camera phone.
Final Verdict (5 out of 5)
There aren’t a lot of reviews that would rank a smartphone as ‘Excellent’ but the Dell Venue Pro has all the
right parts to push it to that level. The phone, when seen in person is just absolutely beautiful. The 4.1 inch screen is one of the larger displays to be added onto a smartphone and the portrait sliding QWERTY keyboard is a fantastic addition. Though it does add a bit of bulk, it slides out with a snap and this motion can get quite addictive. The small nuances mentioned at the beginning of the review such as the curved glass, the sheared top and bottom and the carbon fiber like back, makes the Dell Venue Pro really look and feel like a professional smartphone. Dell has truly hit it out of the park with the Dell Venue Pro and the current competitors had better keep an eye on this new contender.