Phone

Dell Venue: An Android Phone Review

With dozens of smartphones out in the market, it is getting more difficult to decide on the one device to buy. Fortunately, the Dell Venue has a few key selling points that other phones do not possess, making it a worthy consideration to your purchase list.

Hardware:

  • 8 megapixel camera with LED flash. Dell Venue is one of the few smartphones with a high-resolution camera.
  • Dedicated shutter button. Dell Venue is one of the even fewer Android phones with this button.
  • Dedicated mute switch. Eh, which other Android phone has it huh?
  • Curved Gorilla Glass. The curved display is ergonomically more usable.
  • 4.1″ inch AMOLED display. Extremely generous screen means everything looks bigger.
  • Design: Dell Venue exterior is made up of several materials. The sides are chrome-plated, the top and bottom are matt-coated, and the back battery cover is textured with chromed Dell logo.

Software:
Running on Android 2.2, Dell has provided some additional apps to make it their own (and save you the hassle of buying apps).

  • Dell Stage UI. Each homescreen page is filled with default widgets that helps you access content easier. My favourite is the “Home” widget that shows your recently-used apps.
  • Dell sync and backup apps. Useful to manage your phone content with little hassle.
  • QuickOffice. A necessary tool to open your productivity documents.
  • Car Mode app. It comes in handy when you are driving, the app presents the apps in large icons.
  • Swype keyboard app. More usable than the standard Android keyboard app.

After using it for a week, I find that it is some ways better than my current Samsung Galaxy S. Putting the technical specs aside,

  1. Dell Venue performs snappier and more stable. I have not experienced any major crashes or lags when switching apps. My Galaxy S is rooted with a custom ROM, which is supposed to be better than the stock ROM, yet it doesn’t give me that smoothness.
  2. Dell Venue screen is larger, feels sturdier and more durable.
  3. Dell Venue battery capacity is lower than Galaxy S (1400mAh vs. 1500mAh) but battery life is a little better. A full charge using AC adapter takes just a little over 2 hours!

There are some usability challenges though.

  1. The general interface is less user-friendly than Galaxy S. For instance, Galaxy S has coloured icons under the Settings menu but Dell Venue just offers monotone icons. Galaxy S has additional shortcuts under the notification dropdown screen whereas Dell Venue offers no additional icons. On the Galaxy S phone dialer, I can retrieve a contact’s name using the keypad, but not on Dell Venue.
  2. Lack of built-in user memory. The one-and-only microSD card stores most of your phone data, so you cannot easily swap another card without losing your existing data. The Galaxy S allows me to swap another microSD card as I wish because all my user data is stored in the built-in 16GB memory.
  3. Dell Venue still runs on Froyo (Android 2.2), while Galaxy S is supporting Gingerbread (Android 2.3), thus Venue does not enjoy enhanced OS experience.

If you are looking for an Android phone that runs reliably in an office environment, the Dell Venue works just fine. The design will certainly make you stand out among the sea of executives who uses the all-too-familiar iPhone-styled devices.

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