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Dell Streak, hands-on (photos)

CNET's Donald Bell puts the Dell Streak Android tablet through its paces and offers some real-world photos of his observations.

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Donald Bell
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Apple's ad campaign for the iPad invariably features people propping the tablet up on their crossed legs. The Dell Streak doesn't need your lap. With a 5-inch screen and a design that's less than 0.5 inch thick, the Streak just feels like a touch screen smart phone that ate more than its share o Wheaties.
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Android's default map app leverages the Streak's GPS capabilities to quickly locate you on a map. The Streak we tested ran Android 1.6 and lack pinch zoom capabilities or turn-by-turn directions, but otherwise worked very well.
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Unlike Android tablet attempts we've seen from other manufacturers, such as Archos, the Streak uses Google's official app store, with unfiltered access to thousands of excellent free and paid apps.
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The free Pandora radio app for Android didn't know what to do with all the extra screen real estate on the Streak, but it worked without a hitch.
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The status bar at the top of the Streak monitors incoming emails, currently running apps, battery life, reception for cellular and Wi-Fi, and more.
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A tap in the upper left corner of the Streak reveals a spacious drawer full of all your apps. Apps can be rearranged and brought to any of the four main menu pages for easy access.
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Location-aware apps, such as Yelp, had no problem serving us personalized content, thanks to the Streak's integrated GPS capabilities.
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The upper left corner of the Dell Streak includes a front-facing VGA resolution camera and an ambient light sensor that can adjust screen brightness automatically. The light sensor is not active by default, making it difficult to view the screen outdoors.
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The right side of the Dell Streak includes a strip of touch controls for navigating back, menu options, and home. A small microphone is located below the home button which can be used for making voice calls.
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A 5 megapixel camera is included on the back of the Dell Streak, along with an integrated flash.
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The top edge of the Streak includes hard buttons for power and camera.
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Also included on the top edge of the Streak is a volume rocker switch and headphone jack. A standard pair of earbuds come included, which offer an in-line remote control and microphone.
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Using the integrated microphone, headset microphone, or connected Bluetooth headset, users can take advantage of Google's voice search capabilities. Voice search can be used for many purposes, such as dialing contacts, or searching for nearby restaurants.
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When camera mode is activated, the Streak can be used to shoot video or still images from either the front or rear-facing camera. Settings for image quality, white balance, etc., can be found running along the strip on the right, while recently taken photos are visible on the left.
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By default the Streak's screen brightness is set below halfway and auto-brightness adjustment is not enabled. The result is a screen that can be very difficult to see outdoors. In this photo, I'm trying to take a picture, but have no idea what the camera is seeing.
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After finding the automatic backlight setting and switching it on, the screen's outdoor visibility is improved, but still not as good as switching it off and manually craning the screen brightness to its maximum setting.
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Using the Streak as a two-way video phone is possible, using free voice and video calling apps such as Fring. Tank tops are entirely optional.

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