The Dell Streak 7 is a pocket-friendly 7-inch tablet that takes on smaller slates such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the HTC Flyer.

The follow-up to the 5-inch Dell Streak has a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, which impressed us with lightning-fast graphics when we benchmarked it in the LG Optimus 2X smart phone. We look forward to taking the Streak 7 for the same punishing tests when we get it in for a full review. 

We think the 7-inch tablet makes abundant sense, especially if you're planning to use it on the road instead of curled up on your sofa. The Streak 7 includes 3G support, which will keep you online wherever you're at. Dell promises it will come unlocked, so you can pop in a SIM card from any network.

The Streak 7 also has a miniSD card slot, which is the same size most compact cameras use, so you can easily swap cards and transfer photos. There's also 16GB of storage built in. A 5-megapixel camera on the back, and a 1.3-megapixel camera on the front, will vie for your attention.

Its size makes it easy to handle compared to the two-handed 10-inch tabs on the horizon, but it runs version 2.2 of Android, which was designed for smart phones.

Both Samsung and HTC have tweaked their most-used apps to take advantage of the big screen. Their tablets offer a landscape view of email, for example, that serves up your inbox on one side of the screen and your email on the other. 

Dell has taken a lighter touch on the Streak 7. Its Stage user interface is essentially a selection of large widgets, each of which offers up content such as a selection of your music album covers, or a stream of your Facebook updates.

These big widgets are good-looking and a handy way of taking advantage of the Streak 7's screen real estate. But we're looking forward to a promised update, later this year, that will bring more features to Stage. Dell says it's planning to provide an app, for example, that will help you sync files between the Streak 7 and your home computer.

If you're not keen on being stuck on version 2.2 of Android, an over the air update is coming, promises Dell. But the company isn't sure whether it will be a minor update to Android 2.3/2.4 Gingerbread, or a leap to 3.0 Honeycomb, the tablet version of the software. 

We still don't have a date when we'll be able to demand the Dell in UK shops (it's already for sale in the US). But online stores such as Expansys are offering the Streak 7 for pre-order for £505, around the same price as the similar Samsung Galaxy Tab. Would that tempt you away from a 16GB iPad 2 for £399? Let us know in the comments. Then click the photo gallery above to see more.

The Dell Streak 7 (top) looms over the original 5-inch Dell Streak.

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