This week I want to revisit one of the many devices I've used over the past year, the Dell Streak.
A few months ago I wrote a teaser on this Android tablet/phone, that was originally released on the 1.6 version of the platform. I promised a follow up on it and it kind of fell off the radar. Primarily because I wanted to focus on some other projects I was working on, and more importantly, I was busy digging this new toy. When I write about a device, my number one goal is to exploit the weaknesses and find flaws. Well, with the Streak I had a hard time to be honest. It was a great all around device, other than being shipped with Android 1.6, which is a real crapper of an operating system. But Dell did a decent job of making it usable.
For a couple of months I used 1.6, and waited for the geniuses on the forums to start pushing out some modified ROM's built on Android 2.2 (which Dell promised they would start shipping, though still have not). It's absolutely incredible to me that these guys are able to build something so amazing for the community for free, while it takes corporations years and millions. And many never achieve the results that the community does.
I've updated the ROM on a few Android devices and it typically is not the easiest process, though once you do it a few times it's not too difficult. I've flashed the ROM a few times as the releases come out. New features and bug fixes get rolled in and the overall performance has improved dramatically with each. Last week I upgraded the to Steve's latest ROM, and I have to say this phone is absolutely amazing.
Verizon recently shipped me an Evo to test out, so I used it as an opportunity to benchmark the Streak, being one of the highest rated Android devices available today (and one of the first real iPhone competitors). I have to say the Evo is sweet, and overall very solid. That said, the only advantage is it's size--you can hold the Evo in your hand and use your thumb to type, while the Streak is too wide for one hand. Other than that, the Streak wins hands down. And these apps are my favs on the Streak:
- Google Voice
- Google Navigation
- Google Listen
- Google Reader
- My Tracks (Google)
As much as I am discouraged that Dell has been slow to release software updates, I have to admit I've had an incredible customer service experience with them. During my first month of having the Streak, the screen died on it twice. Once I dropped it and once it started behaving weirdly out of the blue. Both times, Dell never flinched and they overnighted a new unit without question. It turns out the "Guerilla Glass" was not as strong as it was marketed as, and I wasn't the only one that had this experience. Since then, I've purchased two external case protectors that seem to do a good job of protecting it.
Overall, the Streak has been the best phone I've ever had. And while some would argue that it's a tablet, I think it's just a big phone with a great screen. And if you can take your friends making fun of you while you use it, I highly recommend it.