G Styled: Dell Streak Long on Screen Size, Short on Sex Appeal

This week I took a look at the Dell Streak and… exhales …I’ll try to not completely bash it. You see, K.T. Bradford and I have varying opinions on this device, and our main bone of contention is the size.

I feel that we are in the middle of a dangerous trend in mobile phone technology, where devices will continue to get bigger and bigger. K.T. feels the Streak is a good size and that I’m just hating on it. But seriously, who wants to hold a tablet up their face and talk? Yes, that is what the Streak is to me: it isn’t a phone, it’s a tablet that is pretending to be a phone. And this is my problem with it.

I’m not even going to get into the fact that it is only running Android 1.6, because I’m here for style… but really, 1.6!? Actually this does involve style. Android 2.1 is much sexier looking and more stylish than 1.5 or 1.6, so why would you dress up this device in last season’s outfit?

Still, the Streak is a nice looking device and a sexy tablet PC…. Oh wait, that’s right, it is supposed to be a phone.

It comes down to this: the Streak is monstrous! Nothing about this device screams sexy phone. It’s too big, it has an outdated OS, and even the resolution of the screen on this isn’t sharp and sexy like a Samsung Galaxy S device. I can’t see myself in a sober state recommending this phone to anyone.

But Dell, if you’re reading this, if you release another one and slap some form of PC OS (ex: Windows 7) on this, I will sing your praises.

Dell Streak G Style Phone Rating: Hot Mess

Jason Anderson is a self-proclaimed gadget head and publisher of G Style Magazine where he covers all things “fashionably technical.” He contributes a weekly post on laptop and gadget panache. The views and opinions Jason expresses are his own and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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  1. Brian Says:

    I actually first heard of the Dell Streak as if it were going to be introduced as a tablet, and then later found out it could make phone calls. As a smaller-sized tablet, I feel like maybe it makes sense more than a kinda-too-large phone.

  2. MikeL Says:

    In my honest opinion, you’re insane if you think slapping Win7 on this will somehow make it sexier. If you don’t like it with Android, why would you like it with a full blown desktop operating system operating on a processor that makes ATOMs look good? Not slamming ARM, but the Cortex 8 that the SnapDragon is based sort of on, is far from there latest and greatest… Not that Windows supports it anyway.

  3. sammy Says:

    Were you damn kids even around in the 90′s. You should have tried putting this thing in your pocket. I was on the fence getting a Streak or Galaxy S, but I am going to take the plunge on the Streak

    http://svenghoulie.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/old-motorola-and-iphone.jpg

  4. Charlton Says:

    Big phones aren’t a fad. Phones became smaller and smaller back when they were ONLY phones. Now people do more and more with them, but at their current size they are a usability nightmare. Five to seven inch “smartphones” will be the only device that most people have within five years.

    You said: “I’ll try to not completely bash it.”

    I say: I’ll try to reciprocate.

    You said: “Still, the Streak is a nice looking device and a sexy tablet PC… “

    I say: Ouch. That’s one of those statements that screams “ridicule me” or “educate me”. Fortunately, momma raised me to be a compassionate boy.

    The Dell Streak is not a tablet PC in anyway: not a tablet, not a PC, and not a tablet PC. First, the industry created the terms “slate” and “tablet” a long time ago. Slate implies a form factor, and tablet implies a usage scenario. These terms are derived from pre-digital times when people used to carve into slates (stone blocks) to record their writing, the resulting written work being a stone tablet. The Dell Streak does have a slate form factor, but it is not a tablet because it’s not a computer designed to support writing. Don’t worry. People get confused like this a lot. Many tablets are slates, and this association makes it easy to permute the terms in one’s thinking much in the same way many people erroneously identify squares as rectangles merely because all rectangles are legitimately squares (if that sentence confused you, then we’ve identified your problem). Thus, the Dell Streak is not a tablet. Second, “PC” is broadly defined as a general-purpose computer or more narrowly defined as one which operates on x86 compatible hardware. This Dell Streak is neither. Third, “tablet pc” is broadly defined as an industry team meaning pen-enabled computer or more narrowly as a Microsoft trademark denoting devices conforming to a specific set of hardware and software requirements. The Dell Streak is neither. Therefore, it’s too bad that you’re “reviewing” a device when you either don’t even know what it is or just don’t know how to talk about it. Don’t worry. You’re not the only person who gets confused over these terms, and I don’t credit you with original authorship of this confusion. More likely, you’ve merely been exposed to the confusion and ignorance of others, and, rather than challenging what you read and hear in the spirit of truth, you simply appropriated those errors in the spirit of parsimony.

    Finally, while I love a good literary device, we’ve come to a place where adults who cover technology professionally have outgrown anthropomorphizing their devices. Yup, five years ago when everybody was customizing their MySpace pages, we were all giddy and self-congratulating over the mainstreaming of technology and could get away with saying “device X is a device Y killer” and “device Z is sooooo sexy”. Nowadays, the preponderance of evidence suggests that devices aren’t murders, and there is no data to support that any “device X” is legitimately out there killing a “device Y” as first reported. It was clever to use human metaphor five years ago, but it’s not anymore. This brings us to the use of “sexy” to talk about design. I may only be a professional industrial designer, but I think you’re back into that “calling a square a rectangle” mentality that we outlined before. Sexy means sexually attractive. That means you want to engage with it sexually. Once again, I love a great literary device but claiming that you want to have sex with the Dell Streak because of its appearance is odd. Once again, five years ago people did feign sexual feelings for their devices out of appreciation for their styling, but not anymore. I hope that what’s happened is, because sexy things are legitimately attractive, you’ve erroneously permuted the terms in your mind and said “sexy” when you meant “attractive”. If on the other hand you do have uncontrolled feelings of physical intimacy for this device, seek help.

    Best of luck to you on your career writing about technology and style.

  5. Alex Whiteside Says:

    I don’t know about the US, but Dell UK is pretty clear that it’s a pocket tablet, not a phone:

    http://en.community.dell.com/dell-blogs/direct2dell/b/direct2dell/archive/2010/05/25/dell-streak-the-versatile-5-inch-android-tablet.aspx

    It’s mostly sold on a data-only plan.

  6. Jason Anderson Says:

    @Mike L in my defense, I didn’t say specifically Windows 7, this was edited a little not by me. But I do think if it has some mature OS: Windows/OS X/Chrome, something it would make for a cooler tablet PC (or slate as Charlton so passionately mentioned lol) than a phone.

    @sammy, you pulling the trigger on the phone device, the Samsung Galaxy S device are way more sexier than the Streak and you at least get Android 2.1 and now 1.6!

    @Charlton my friend, you have entirely too much time on your hands lol sheesh

    My thing is I understand that phones got smaller and smaller when they were only phones. And yes we are doing more and more with phones now. But what is going to end up happening is basically everyone is going to end up just using bluetooth earpieces with their phones, because honestly I don’t see you holding anything 5 inches or more up to your ear for extended periods of time.

  7. Jason Anderson Says:

    @Charlton *coughs* Alex Whiteside just crippled your whole it isn’t a tablet speech. How you going to argue when the makers of the device themselves call it a tablet….

  8. ton Says:

    i understand jason, but is he right? not exactly

    if you view the streak as a phone, yes you are right. But smartphones are a lot of things and a phone is just one of them. As a multimedia device size does matter, as a 16:9 device you get a much better screen for video (the much larger ipad is oddshaped for that and has in real pixels about the same resolution when playing video)

    for mail/browsing bigger is better, and the streak is about as big as a pocket device can be. And lets face it, with the ipad you need to add a phone to have it all .

  9. Jason Anderson Says:

    @ton I do agree with you. Maybe I’m just nitpicking. But if you added a phone feature to the iPad, would you want to whole it to your face to have a conversation? lol

    I guess I’m fearfully of a world where we all look crazy from one side of us because people can’t see the earpiece, so they think we are talking to ourselves lol. Plus the current crop of Bluetooth headsets are cool enough to me yet, where I wouldn’t mind having to put one in my ear.

    Put it this way, when they create a Bluetooth earpiece that is small enough to fit in the ear with no boom mic, no piece hanging off the ear. Ya know just something about the size of a small watch battery that I can put in my ear and have great battery life (and won’t fall out of my ear), then I wouldn’t mind Streak and up size devices. :oP

  10. FreddieBoy Says:

    U got to b kidding, haven’t put a phone small or large phone to my ear in YEARS. BT headset is a must if driving,
    so why not use it all the time ? ! ? Also 5″ is about as large as pocketable, which is the main purpose of 5″
    size. One device, MID, phone (with BT) which Dell is offering for .99 on pre-order), eReader, front VGA & rear
    5mp Camera with Dual LED Flash & Froyo 2.2 in not to distant future.

  11. ton Says:

    @jason

    no but the streak is smaller and would be on the edge with that. (if you have a big head that is :))

    i have an iphone, 99^% of the time i use a wired headset with call’s.

    you could check out those jawbone devices that eliminates a bit of the boom mic.

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