Starting with some of the basics, the Dell Venue Pro is a quad-band world phone and offers a speakerphone, call waiting, call forwarding, conference calling, voice dialing, and text and multimedia messaging. It is 3G-capable but the smartphone doesn't support T-Mobile's HSPA+ "4G" network. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS are also all onboard. There were early reports that the smartphone had problems connecting to a secure Wi-Fi network, which Dell acknowledged and attributed to a software glitch in early units, but that has been resolved and we were able to connect to our secure home network with no problem.
Though not sold through its retail stores or Web channels, the Venue Pro is a T-Mobile handset and is preloaded with a number of the carrier's services, including T-Mobile TV, Family Room, and TeleNav GPS Navigator. There are also a couple of extra apps--Newsroom and Pageonce Personal Finance--thrown in. Unlike with some other platforms, you can uninstall these services if you don't care for them. The Dell Venue Pro does not offer expandable memory, but you can choose from either an 8GB or a 16GB model.
The Venue Pro is equipped with a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash and autofocus. The camera offers a handful of editing options, including ISO settings, white-balance controls, and four scene modes. It's also capable of 720p video capture.
Picture quality was a bit of a mixed bag. Despite our trying to be as still as possible, a number of photos came out blurry, but when we did get a clear shot, we were happy with the quality and color reproduction. We were also pleased with the video quality, but it's still frustrating that Windows Phone 7 doesn't offer an easy way to share videos from your phone. For now, you have to transfer the video file to your computer and then upload to YouTube or your social networking site of choice.
Dell Venue Pro call quality sample
Speakerphone quality could be better. The sound was a bit hollow, and there was barely enough volume to hear callers in a louder environment. We were able to pair the smartphone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and Motorola S9 Active Bluetooth Headphones with no problem.
Though the Venue Pro doesn't work with T-Mobile's HSPA+ network, we still experienced swift data speeds on the phone. CNET's full site loaded in 15 seconds, while the mobile sites for CNN and ESPN came up in 3 seconds and 6 seconds, respectively. YouTube videos took several seconds to load, and played back without interruption. However, the quality over a 3G connection could be a bit murky. Our own videos played back beautifully on the Venue Pro's large screen.
As with calls, we could hear a bit of static when listening to music through headphones. That said, it's worth noting again how Zune enhances the multimedia experience on Windows Phone 7 devices, with an attractive media player and the ability to purchase songs and videos via Zune Marketplace and stream media with a Zune Pass.
The Venue Pro is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and the smartphone felt snappy throughout our review period. We were able to easily navigate through various tasks and apps launched almost immediately. There was a bit of lag when loading games, but this is more a Windows Phone 7 issue and something Microsoft will address in its forthcoming update.
The Dell Venue Pro ships with a 1,400mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 7 hours and up to 14 days of standby time. In our battery drain tests we were able to get 6 hours of continuous talk time on a single charge. In general, we've been able to get through a full day with moderate use before needing to recharge. According to FCC radiation tests, the Venue Pro has a digital SAR rating of 1.39W/kg