Dell Streak 7, It Could Have Been A Serious Contender

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I’ve been in the market for a low cost 7″ Android tablet for a while, I figure it would be easier to use on the NYC subway than an iPad. Unfortunately, most major manufacturers are currently focused on 10″ tablets to compete with the iPad, so the selection isn’t that great. I know there are many low cost “china tabs” available, but what I’m looking for is a usable tablet that’ll do anything the major Android tablets will do. My requirements are fairly aggressive:

– 7″ capacitive multi-touch screen
– Front facing camera. back facing camera is a plus
– Android Market (must have the Google suite)
– 1 Ghz processor
– Under $300

There’s the Samsung Galaxy Tab Wi-Fi, which is pretty much what I’m looking for spec wise, but the lowest price I found was $349. So that’s a no go. Then I found ViewSonic ViewBook 730, everything looks good, and priced around $230, it seems perfect. But after I read some more into it, I realize that the ViewBook 730 doesn’t have a capacitive multi-touch screen. Their Rite Touch screen is just marketing BS for resistive screen. Nice try, but no thanks.

After that I pretty much gave up and decided to just be patient and wait. And it does pay to be patient, because that’s when I found out that Staples was having a sale on tablets, and one of the tablets that was on sale was the Dell Streak 7. I’ve heard of the Dell Streak 5, which is a phone, but never the 7. With the Staples coupon, the 7 only cost $200. After a lot of research, the Dell Streak 7 far exceeds my requirements. The Dell Streak 7 included:

– 7″ capacitive multi-touch screen with Gorilla Glass
– Front and back camera with LED flash on the back
– Android Market
– Tegra 2 1 Ghz dual core processor
– $200 plus tax

It’s the exact tablet I’ve been looking for. Needless to say I ran out right away to get one, the deal was in store only. After 3 Staples, 2 phone call and 4 visits later, I was the proud owner of a Dell Streak 7. It’s really everything I expected, but it’s far from perfect. There’s a few areas where the 7 is really lacking, but it’s a $200 tablet, I’ll live with it. Even with the flaws, it’s still exactly what I’m looking for, a small tablet for reading and gaming on the NYC subway. Here are the flaws:

– Battery life, 4-5 hours of use
– 800 x 480 screen resolution
– Screen designed for landscape view and looks odd in portrait
– Android 2.2 Froyo (Dell claims they will provide upgrade to HoneyComb)

The flaws isn’t too bad, but all the reviews really beat Dell up for the battery life and the screen. This tablet could have been a serious contender, but then the beefed up battery and better screen probably would have drove the price higher. Can’t win them all.

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