CNET First Look
Dell Venue (unlocked)Dell's first Android smartphone wasn't very impressive, but does the company right some wrongs on its second try? Check out our First Look of the Dell Venue to find out.
-Hey everyone. I'm Bonnie Cha, Senior Editor at CNET.com, and I'm here today with your first look of the Dell Venue. This was introduced at CES 2011 and it's Dell's second attempt at an Android smartphone. Their first was the Dell Aero which wasn't very impressive at all but, so far, the Venue looks like a huge improvement. For one thing, the Venue doesn't feel plasticky or cheap like the Aero. The phone's design is actually very similar to the Dell Venue Pro and is nice and solid. It has the same overall shape and look but the big difference is that it doesn't have a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. This makes for a slightly thinner and lighter smartphone, so it's easier to hold and carry around in the pocket. On front, you've got a 4.1-inch WVGA AMOLED multi-touch screen that displays larger size. It makes it great for viewing web pages, pictures, and video. It's not quite as sharp as the displays on the Samsung Galaxy S series or the Motorola ATRIX, but it's sufficiently bright and clear so you shouldn't have problems reading the screen. Now, you might have noticed that the Venue has a bit of a different interface. It's running Android 2.2 but on top of that is Dell's own Stage UI which is also used on the company's Streak tablet line. It offers widget [unk] content front and center for easier access and better organization. For example, the gallery widget shows your latest photos so you can simply tap on an image or video to view it full screen. The Stage also provides similar widgets for your recent apps, music, contacts, e-mail, web pages, and others. I was a little apprehensive about the UI when I first fired up the Venue but I'm warming up to it. I like how it shows you all your recent content in a nice grid format and there's nice touches such as this feature where you can touch the bottom toolbar and easily move between the various homescreens. In the end though, I'm still a big fan of the stock Android interface. Other notable features on the Venue include a 1 gigahertz Snapdragon processor and, so far, the smartphone has been running smoothly. It also has an 8 megapixel camera but I haven't been impressed by the picture quality so far. Photos come out a bit hazy and the colors are also dull. The Venue is sold as an unlocked GSM phone so you can use it with T-Mobile or AT&T, but it only supports T-Mobile 3G network so beware of that. Overall, I think the Dell Venue is pretty solid and heaps better than the Aero, but the Nexus S from Samsung is also an unlocked Android phone and it's running Android 2.3 with a Pure Google Experience. It also has a better camera and sleeker design. So, for the money, I'd be slightly more inclined to go with the Nexus. The Venue is available now online from Dell for $500. I am Bonnie Cha and this has been your first look at the Dell Venue.