Dell Streak 7 Review

Introduction and Design

Even though they’re still trying to secure carrier partnerships for their products, Dell is no stranger in the Android space especially when it caught us by surprise with the original Dell Streak. Luckily for them, they were able to snag T-Mobile’s attention and get their latest venture, the Dell Streak 7, onto the lineup of the nation’s number four wireless carrier. When so many Android tablets require such a high premium cost of ownership, it’s utterly refreshing to see that the Dell Streak 7 is priced at $200 with a contract, and more importantly, it’s under the $500 threshold at $449.99 no-contract. Sharing some similarities with its 5” sibling, the Dell Streak 7 is fully committing itself into the tablet realm, but does it stand a chance against the competition?

The package contains:

  • Dell Streak 7
  • USB cable
  • Hands-free Headset
  • Wall Charger
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Terms & Conditions


Instantly, we’re quickly reminded on how the Dell Streak 7 closely mimics the design of its slightly smaller 5” variant with its sloped sides, however, it decides to employ this tough plastic shell instead. Still tallying in at a manageable 0.49” thickness, we’re happy with the overall size of the tablet, which is quite comfortable to hold with even one hand, but there is a surprising amount of weight with this one. Furthermore, its screen is definitely a magnet for smudges and finger prints, but its plastic casing combined with its criss-cross pattern manages to handle well in keeping everything else looking clean. Taking most of its design cues from the original Dell Streak 5, we still find the implementation to work well with this one – especially for something regarded as a full figured tablet.

Without a doubt, it seems that the Dell Streak 7 is meant to be held in landscape. The 7” display is lagging in terms of quality since it sports a measly WVGA (800 x 480) resolution and quickly shows off its weakness when attempting to read out fine text in the web browser. As for color production, it seems natural for the most part when viewing the display at a direct 90 degree angle, but again, it washes out tremendously at extreme angles. But you know, low price means compromise.

Taking advantage of its speedy HSPA+ connection, we find a 1.3-megapixel front facing camera for video chat and shooting self-portraits perched above its display, while the usual set of Android capacitive buttons are located on the right along the sloped side. Happily, the three buttons are finger friendly in size and we didn’t have any trouble pressing them; nor did we run into any problems accidentally hitting them.

Hidden beneath a wide plastic flap on the right edge of the tablet, both the SIM and standard sized SD card slots are safely tucked away to keep dirt and debris from messing with its innards. Also, the Dell Streak 7 utilizes two speakers which are located oppositely from one another on both edges. Placed rather in an unfamiliar location, the 3.5mm headset jack is the only other protrusion found on the left side of the tablet.

Meanwhile, the rigid feeling volume rocker and dedicated power button are sitting close-by next to one another on the top edge, and in fact, they exhibit a sensible response when pressed. If it were a smartphone, we would be appalled to find a proprietary charging/data connection port, but since this is a tablet we’re talking about, the one on the Dell Streak 7 doesn’t come as a surprise.

Finally, the only thing we see on the back is nothing more than the 5-megapixel auto-focus camera and LED flash. Unlike the original Dell Streak, we’re locked out completely from accessing anything internally with this one since it utilizes a non-removable battery.

Interface and Functionality:

Compared to other relatively fresh Android tablets on the market, like the Motorola XOOM, some would assume that the Dell Streak 7 is diminutive in the processing category. However, you’ll be somewhat astonished to find a contemporary 1GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor at the heart of this device. Somewhat uncharacteristic of such a high caliber chipset, we find some less than appealing choppiness going on when navigating across its homescreens – and even more when a live wallpaper is activated. However, it’s not to the point unwieldy, but we would like to see more fluid movements with its operation.

Dell didn’t do anything extraordinary with the Android 2.2 Froyo experience on this one, but it utilized its Stage user interface that we view as favorable thanks to its useful set of homescreen sized widgets. Of course, there are some enhancements to it over the stock experience, but considering that this is a much more powerful machine than the original, it would’ve been nice to see even a subtle customization. By now, Honeycomb is indeed the preferred choice for new tablets, but regardless, the overall experience with the Dell Streak 7 is still pretty satisfactory.

For a tablet, the messaging experience can be a bit challenging, due to the specific ways you have to handle it, combined with the size of the on-screen keys..

Call it laziness or something, but it’s shocking to see that Dell didn’t bother to optimize the Gmail experience whatsoever – especially considering that it’s a tablet we’re talking about. Instead, they seemingly rely on the usual Gmail app for smartphones, and when you compare it to an older device like Samsung Galaxy Tab, it makes you wonder why they didn’t bother to utilize a similar two panel layout to better organize emails. Nonetheless, you’ve got all the rich set of features with it, but it’s absolutely no different from what you get on a  smartphone.

Camera and Multimedia:

If you’re still planning to carry the Dell Streak 7 in your back pocket, there’s no denying the allure that goes behind taking candid shots with it – even for tablet! Unfortunately, we’re not all too thrilled by the so-so quality produced by its 5-megaixel auto-focus camera. After capturing some images, it produces some muddy looking backgrounds with slightly acceptable details with foreground images. Moreover, its cooler looking color output generally applies this ethereal effect which tends to make shots seem over-exposed.

It would’ve been unheard of to see the Dell Streak 7 not offering 720p “high-definition” video recording, especially when it’s packing an NVIDIA dual-core chipset, but it’s there of course – though, don’t expect much out of it. We’ll gladly accept the rich 30 frames per second that it captures video, but we’re indubitably horrified by its muddy and painted-looking quality. Furthermore, everything is brought down by the immense amount of artifacting going on when making quick movements with the tablet. So what’s to say about it all? Well, how about just move along and don’t bother?

Dell Streak 7 Sample Video:

Again, it makes you wonder if Dell seemingly rushed the Streak 7 because we’re presented with the ordinary and boring looking stock Android music player. Yes, you heard that right; it’s the same exact one you’d find on any Android smartphone. Naturally, it’s more than functional, but its audio output is rather lacking when it comes to heavy bass tones; though glaring still at the loudest setting. Unfortunately though, there are no visualizations or equalizer settings to enhance the experience – which is a bummer indeed.

Besides combating the finicky viewing angles with the Dell Streak 7, watching high definition videos is no problem for this tablet – especially with its fast processor. Playing a video encoded in DivX 1280 x 720 resolution, there are still some grainy visuals with it, but at least it moves at a consistent playback rate to make the experience enjoyable.

Packing on 16GB of internal storage, it should be adequate for most people, but obviously, you can supplement its capacity by adding a standard SD card. However, it’s worth pointing out that it doesn’t include a microSD card adapter – meaning, you’ll need to go fetch one for yourself.

Internet and Connectivity:

Not something you find with some of the competition right now, but one of the selling points with the Dell Streak 7 is none other than its HSPA+ support. This quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) and UMTS (850/1700/1900/2100 MHz) tablet will undoubtedly work with a variety of networks worldwide, but in the event you’re lacking a cellular connection, you can always fall back to using its Wi-Fi connection as an alternative. Additionally, it packs Bluetooth which easily connects a wide array of peripherals to it with no problems. However, it’s rather disheartening to find no HDMI-out support with this tablet – which is something becoming prevalent amongst tablets nowadays.

Partly because of Android 2.2 Froyo, we get to experience an invigorating web browsing experience with the Dell Streak 7. Combining its quick download speeds and its responsive nature, the overall performance is fitting for such a tablet since it didn’t stutter in dealing with pages that are heavy with Flash content. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Tab, we don’t have to deal with choppy visuals when attempting to kinetic scroll or zoom in. In all honesty, it does a wonderful job in providing a full fidelity experience that’s appreciable on so many levels.


Shockingly, we’re taken back by the miniscule amount of battery life available with the Dell Streak 7. In our first experience, we were floored to see it obtaining only a mere 5 hours of battery life on heavy usage. After fully charging it up again, we decided to do some light work with the tablet, but still, it was only able to give us a little over 10 hours of juice. Considering that other tablets are able to provide a solid day of usage, it’s a bit disheartening to see the Dell Streak 7 at the end of the pack in this category.


Luckily for the Dell Streak 7, there are some aspects about it that propel it to be a decent Android tablet despite seeing some blemishes on its report. Although it makes us wonder if Dell rushed the development of the tablet, the inclusion of its contemporary hardware combined with its affordable price makes it very difficult to not stand out. Sure it doesn’t excel in shooting photos or battery life, but when you compare it with some of its competition, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, there’s no arguing that you get a good amount of bang for the buck. Only requiring you to shell out $200 on-contract or $450 no-contract, it undoubtedly still provides almost all the rich features you’d expect out of a mid-range Android powered tablet.

Software version of the reviewed unit: Android 2.2.2, Build: 15420

Dell Streak 7 Video Review:


  • Affordable price
  • Fast HSPA+ speeds


  • Poor battery life
  • Grainy looking 720p video recording
  • Non-optimized core Android apps

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

4 Reviews

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