So yes, I bought it, took it back and bought it again. But I’m keeping my Dell Streak now. It’s great. And this is my last post on mobile phones – well, this month anyway… 😀
Usually new mobile phones are known about well in advance of their launch. Everything from specs to early reviews are made available in order to create a buzz around the product. For example, a couple of years ago I was sent an LG Shine and encouraged (although not instructed) to take photos of it and blog about it. With the Dell Streak, however, apart from a great video at jkkmobile I stumbled across on the night before it was released in the UK, I’d heard nothing about it!
Full specs of the device can be found here, but the highlights are that it’s an Android tablet/smartphone hybrid with a 5″ screen. Yes, five inch! :-p
Let’s just get past the two (related) questions I’ve been asked most frequently over the last couple of weeks:
- Is it too big?
- Don’t you feel a bit stupid putting it to your ear to, you know, make phone calls?
- It’s certainly on the upper limit of what counts as a phone size wise. Some, undoubtedly, will find it too big. But given that I tended to use my iPhone more for Twitter and other internet based activities than for phone calls, I don’t!
- It’s not Dom Joly size and I don’t really suffer from self esteem issues anyway. As for people who think that phones should only be able to make phone calls, get back in your cave please… 😉
Things I really like:
- The whole experience and speed of the device makes it über-slick
- Spotify, Dropbox and other official apps are better (to my mind) than their iPhone counterparts
- The size of the screen makes everything… just better
- It’s really quite thin
- Several virtual desktops means you can organize your stuff
- I don’t have to jail break it to set it up the way I want it
- Widgets provide real-time updates
- The camera is legendary and the in-phone editing functions are actually useful
- It’s got a ‘gorilla glass’ screen – check out this video showing it being torture-tested!
Things I’m not so keen on:
- The placement of headphone socket
- Volume buttons alter up or down depending on orientation (confusing!)
- You can’t delete things (e.g. emails) by swiping
- It’s not running the latest version of Android (v1.6)
- Proprietary power/ sync cable
- Current lack of third party support (eg cases, speakers, other add ons)
- The quality of sound recording when shooting video isn’t gerat
Stuff other reviews might not tell you:
- As with the iPhone, music stops playing when you remove the headphones
- Sometimes tasks don’t shut by themselves and drain your battery (a force close app is pretty much essential)
- It’s not really possible to use the Streak with one hand whilst walking for texting, etc.
- With Android apps you’ve got 24 hours to get a refund if you don’t like it or it didn’t perform as you expected
- The power cable is similar to the iPhone’s in that the USB end plugs into the power cable
10 apps that are awesome on the Streak:
- Fring (for Skype & instant messaging apps)
- Google Listen (podcasts through Google Reader)
- Handcent SMS (iPhone-like text messages)
- Opera Mini (web browser)
- Profiles (change between ‘Normal’, ‘Night’, ‘Outdoor’, etc.)
- Quick Addroid (add stuff to your Google Calendar quickly)
- SlideScreen (really classy home screen replacement)
I’m happy to answer any questions you’ve got – including making another video, so ask away! 🙂
This week I have been mostly…
I was down in at the University of Bolton at a mobile technologies event hosted by JISC CETIS. Mark Power did a great job at making sure it was a relaxed affair with really quality sharing and networking opportunities. Well done! 🙂
It was the home stretch this week before the launch of the Open Educational Resources infoKit I’ve been working on since I started at JISC infoNet. So there was plenty of delegation to do, especially to Lou McGill, who’s worked tirelessly and to a consistently high standard on it!
Getting back to my productive self
My productivity took a hit after my indecisiveness over the Dell Streak. Now that I’ve settled on it, I’ve learned my lesson in terms of making my mind up and sticking to it! Turns out every decision I make is a productivity decision…
Starting marking scripts
Ever since I, along with a few others, was recruited during my PGCE course at Durham I’ve marked History examination papers for Edexcel. I used to do AS Level Russia, then they moved me to AS Level Germany, and this year I’m marking GCSE Germany.
I’ve got absolutely no problem with the online marking system itself: it’s quicker than doing it on paper and suits me. Of course, I’ve got to virtualise Windows XP on my Macbook Pro so I can use Internet Explorer 6 and some proprietary software, but that in and of itself is no big deal.
What really winds me up about Edexcel is their organizational inefficiency and the general lack of anyone knowing what they’re doing. The emails they send out force you to spend half an hour figuring out what they mean and, of course, not understanding means you are obviously morally or organizationally deficient in some way. Gah.
The sheer horror of the obviously-doing-it-to-save-costs online standardisation procedure could be a whole other post in itself, but I’ll spare you that. Suffice to say that, given my experience yesterday (for which I took annual leave) and the fact that I’m not teaching History at the moment, I’ll not be marking for Edexcel again in the near future!
Last week I explained why I returned the Dell Streak I purchased on a 24-month contract. In this post I explain why I bought another yesterday on a device-only deal.
1. It’s more fun.
You can customise pretty much everything with the Android operating system. You have to resort to shenanigans to customise your message tone on the iPhone, whereas it’s trivial to get some great sounds on the Streak. There’s widgets and weird and wonderful stuff. 🙂
2. The screen is just gorgeous.
Granted, I haven’t seen the screen on the iPhone 4 in the flesh, but the Dell Streak’s screen is so… well, touchable. The high-resolution screen is backed up by an extremely fast processor and enough memory to make flicking between apps easy.
3. The contract was part of the problem
Who wants the same phone after two years? I’m planning to wait until the earliest opportunity to get my Dell Streak unlocked and then go on an Orange SIM-only contract. Why Orange? It’s the only network that offers 3G where I live and my broadband is flaky due to our semi-rural location.
4. I’m online more than I talk
The default orientation of the Dell Streak’s screen is landscape. And that’s because it’s meant to be held like a PSP most of the time. It’s thin enough not to be heavy but substantial enough to feel solid in your hands. I like that.
5. The camera
The combination of large, hi-res screen, 5-megapixel camera and in-device editing functions feels luxurious, it really does.
There’s an active community for the Dell Streak over at http://streak.modaco.com and you should read this Techradar review which is both comprehensive and fair! 😀