My First Week With The Dell Streak

Yes, after a couple of years with the iPhone, I figured it was about time I checked out "the other side" and visited Android land. I went the whole hog and decided on a Dell Streak. I figured if I was going to contemplate jumping ship, I may as well do so in spectacular fashion!

Dell-streak-off-1

These are really just my initial thoughts after a week or so with the device. Almost suffice to say I haven't felt the need to use my iPhone once in the past week. In fact, a couple of days ago I inadvertently left it at home and, rather than thinking I'd have to go back to pick it up, I though "what the hell, I've got the Streak with me". Guess that kinda says it all, but here's my initial list of Pros and Cons.

Pros (Dell Streak)

  • That 5 inch screen is simply gorgeous
  • Battery life - after an initial problem due to a rogue app consuming way too much power, I'm now getting 12 - 14 hours with a mix of moderate use and standby and about 6-7 hours of heavy use
  • Web browsing is about as good as you're going to get on a device that can (just) fit in your pocket
  • It's fast!
  • Terrific camera (5 Mega-pixel, with a front facing one which I'll probably never use)
  • The sharing built-in to the camera app - saves having to buy all those apps that I had to pay for on the iPhone to do a similar thing
  • Actually more portable than I imagined it would be. It doesn't really feel any heavier in the pocket than my iPhone does
  • Cell reception. Both the Streak and my iPhone are on O2 here in the UK. The Streak seems to have confirmed what I've thought all along (but can't really prove) and that's that part of the problem with the reception on the iPhone (I currently have a 3GS) seems due to the iPhone itself (a foretaste of the iPhone 4 antenna problems?). The thing is, on the iPhone, I could almost guarantee to not have data access over the cell network about 30% of the time, often more, yet on the Streak, I've had one instance in a week where I couldn't access data, and it only took me walking 2 foot from where I had been to get it back.

Pros (Android in general)

  • I love the "openness" of Android. I can choose which Browser, Input System etc I'd like to use, instead of the device manufacturer choosing for me (you know who you are). Small things like being able to install an app that speaks (in a very clear and hardly at all robotic voice) the name of the caller/sender when a phone call/SMS comes in, or using an app that allows my device to power itself right down during a time specified by me to preserve power during the night when I don't need it.
  • Swype is the best input system I've seen on any device
  • There are some awesome apps available and there seem to be a higher proportion of good quality free apps (but see Cons below)
  • Google integration (one of the main reasons I'm trying out Android)
  • Notifications. Let's face it, the iPhone is crap in this department. Sure, you can use things like Boxcar, but as soon as a second one comes in, you've lost the first and so on. The notification system on the Android is superb, showing everything that's come in on the status bar. Tap that, and you see a nice list on which you can tap to go to the relevant app. It's almost worth having an Android for this alone.

Cons (Dell Streak)

  • It's a bit on the heavy side when you're using it for a long time and don't have any method of supporting it
  • A lot of the available apps don't fill the screen
  • The cost of accessories is ridiculous

Cons (Android)

  • An awful lot of crap apps available (but see Pros above, and also applies to the iPhone)
  • In conjunction with the above, app discovery is not as easy as on the iPhone. That's partly a matter of me finding the right place to look, but on the iPhone App Store, it's very easy to find good - and isolate the bad - apps.

So, is it a keeper? Most definitely yes. Oddly enough, I really got the Streak with the intention of it being a Dev machine for me, as I want to try my hand at a few Android apps. I never intended for it to replace my iPhone, but it has done, almost instantly. The fact that I don't miss my iPhone at all speaks volumes.

Right, on with some Android App development!

Update: See this post for my thoughts after week 2.