Another Windows Phone 7 device, this time, the Dell Venue Pro. It has one of the most beautiful designs of any WP7 device, users a 4.1-inch AMOLED touchscreen, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 5 megapixel camera with 720pHD video recording, and the recent NoDo update which adds copy-and-paste. Check out the rest of the review after the break, where I figure out that Dell’s first great smartphone entry is a win in many areas, but a slight flop in others.
Price as Reviewed: $129.99 at Dell.com
The Specs, With Looks And Feel
- 4.1-inch AMOLED touchscreen
- 1GHz Snapdragon processor
- Portrait slide-out QWERTY keyboard
- 5 megapixel camera with 720pHD video recording
- 16GB internal storage
- 1,400 mAh battery
- WLAN802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR
- Bands of UMTS 900/1700/2100
HSDPA 7.2Mbps/HSUPA 5.76 Mbps (this is a T-Mobile model)
- Weighs 6.8 oz.
It’s the best-looking Windows Phone 7 (in my humble opinion) next to the Samsung Focus and HTC 7 Trophy. It is also one of the heavier smartphones currently on the market, weighing 6.8 ounces, meaning it even weighs more than the 4.3-inch behemoth Droid Charge, which is built out of plastics rather than the Venue Pro’s rubber, plastics, and Gorilla Glass. This makes for a very weighted device, but after consulting six Android, iOS, and Windows Phone 7 handset owners, they seemed rather OK with using the device for 5 minutes, however I don’t think that’s long enough to really feel its weight, which depending for some, is just way too heavy to handle.
But that’s enough with weight: Onto the looks. Even on a general stance, the Dell Venue Pro is better looking than the massive crop of candybar phones coated in black (read: technically all smartphones), even though it looks just like them. The pictures can speak for themselves; Dell has designed a very good-looking smartphone.
But just how does it perform? What’s the battery life like? And heck, What about a portrait-style keyboard on a massive 4.1-inch AMOLED screen. Just how does that work? The following sections will answer all of that, and whether or not this should be your Windows Phone 7 device of choice, because let’s face it, WP7 isn’t the first choice among common smartphone buyers: It’s iOS and Android.
Performance In Windows Phone 7
Fo some reason unbeknownst to me, the Dell Venue Pro is the snappiest Windows Phone 7 handset I’ve used (beating the Quantum, Focus, Surround and others) when opening apps and performing different tasks. Keep in mind all the other handsets I’ve used have been upgraded to NoDo, much like the Venue Pro, so I’m speaking on fair grounds. What’s powering all of this speed is an industry-standard 1GHz Snapdragon processor (the same used in practically all of the other WP7 devices). Perhaps it has to due with some under-the-hood tweaking Dell has made, but nevertheless, the Venue Pro is a great device in terms of speed and stability.
Since I plan to keep this review rather short, you can read up on my full Windows Phone 7 review to get a more detailed analysis of the operating system itself, since unlike Android, virtually every Windows Phone 7 runs the same exact version of the OS, with little to no carrier-bundled apps or manufacturer additions (and if so, only occur in Hubs, which are technically still apps).
Camera And Battery
The Venue Pro contains another industry-standard for smartphones of this calibre: a 5 megapixel back-facing camera capable of 720pHD video recording. WP7 handsets also have a flaw with their camera-button and aperture systems: A photo is always blurrier than the viewfinder suggests it is. It’s very hard to get a still, crisp and sharp photo on this thing. If I may borrow a saying of sorts that professional gamers use, then it would be the Venue Pro’s camera makes me ragequit. You have to be very still to take the awesome photos you see in the gallery below. 720pHD video is another matter (read: just fine). In fact, its video looks about on par with all of the other WP7 phones, like the Surround.
Venue Pro Camera Tests
Now, about the battery. The battery is the shortest I’ve ever seen on a Windows Phone 7 device that I had the chance to review and it has a rating of 1,400 mAh. On a full day’s usage of Twitter, phone calls, web surfing, and GPS on with max brightness, expect the Venue Pro to last 12-16 hours on a full charge before you hit critical.
With Windows Phone 7 constantly growing, there’s lots of handsets that will be released, tons of updates issued, and many more features and improvements to be made overall. Now, back to the Earth and this review: the Venue Pro is the best Windows Phone 7 device with a QWERTY keyboard that isn’t from HTC. It also has a great design (albeit heavy as it may be), is snappy, and just is a great smartphone to use. Now I truly wouldn’t mind if Dell started creating higher-end Windows Phone 7 devices using the just-announced Mango update.