Monday, I spent the better part of an afternoon with the Streak, Dell's ambitious foray into the world of Android tablets. It was an illuminating experience, with plenty of takeaways--both good and bad.
With its release in the U.K. over a month ago, chances are, you're already aware of what the Streak has to offer. Apart from its larger dimensions, the Streak's tech specs read like typical high-end smart phone. There's built-in 3G and Wi-Fi (802.11b/g), along with Bluetooth 2.1 support. The 800x480 resolution screen uses capacitive touch technology, supports multi-touch and is helped along by a fast 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. You get microSIM memory expansion (16GB included), and a removable/replaceable battery. There's both a speaker and microphone designed for voice calls, as well as a 5 megapixel camera that includes auto-focus and flash. And if that weren't enough, Dell threw in a VGA resolution front facing camera, enabling video chat and self-portrait antics.
Now take all of those specs, super-size it with a 5-inch screen, and you've got the Dell Streak. It's a giant smart phone and a scrawny tablet all rolled into one. It's awkward, it's fun, it's a freak of nature, it's your new best friend, it's a paradox wrapped in an enigma. In all seriousness, we're still a little conflicted over whether to recommend this superphone/microtablet--partly because of its unique size, but mostly because we haven't been given all the facts.
At the time of this writing there are still a few big unknowns regarding the Streak's U.S. release. Dell was kind enough to provide us with an evaluation unit, but remained tight lipped when it comes to the product's official release date, pricing, or possible partnerships or subsidies from national carriers. The last we heard in June, the Streak was due out near the end of July, priced around $500 when ordered directly from Dell.com--which doesn't strike us as screaming deal. Priced more aggressively using standard carrier contracts and subsidies, the Streak becomes less of a pint-sized stab at the Apple iPad, and more of an evolutionary step in the arena of Android superphones. We expect more news on the Streak's pricing and availability near the end of the week. Until then, let me walk you through the highs and lows of my afternoon with the Streak, and save our formal CNET review for later.