Customer Review

124 of 141 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good New Offering in a Hot Category, April 27, 2011
This review is from: Dell Streak 7 7-Inch Wi-Fi Tablet with 16GB Internal Memory, Gray (Personal Computers)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
DECEMBER 2011 IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS PRODUCT IS NOW DISCONTINUED, My original review is below. If you can find this item at a very good price, it might be worthwhile buying as an entertainment device. Otherwise, beware.

==================================================================================================================================

Courtesy of Amazon Vine, I received my Dell Streak 7 Tablet and I have been having a lot of fun with it.

It's a very good and very satisfying entertainment device. It is particularly good for reading e-books, for listening to music, and for watching video such as Amazon/Amazon Prime VOD as well as Netflix (which has recently been added).

Tablet computers are the latest thing and I wanted to see how this one, a direct competitor to the iPad, would fare. (This is my first experience with any tablet computer; I am unfamiliar with the iPad or any other tablet.)

I was supposed to receive the 'straight' Dell Streak 7 Wi-Fi Tablet (Wi-fi only) but in the event I actually received the Dell Streak 7 4G Android Tablet (T-Mobile), the one which can connect to Wi-Fi plus the T-mobile cellular service. As I do not have a T-mobile account, I cannot comment on its cell data plan functioning but I can say that Wi-fi works perfectly. (The fact that my unit has T-mobile incorporated in no way interferes with Wi-fi usage. Both versions apparently operate and function in exactly the same way and the means of internet connection has no effect on the actual operation of the Streak.) It was fairly easy to enter my network password (though I do not care for virtual keyboards) and the Wi-fi signal was strong and remained so until I shut the tablet off.

Dell includes a set of earbuds and a charger as well as a Quick Start Guide and the usual warranty and legal information.

Operation is simple and intuitive. All external controls fall easily to hand and the touchscreen controls are fairly easy to use.

The video image quality is very, very good, in my opinion, (color rendition is especially rich and vibrant) and the sound quality is adequate, especially considering the size of the tablet and the size of the speakers (it sounds like a small table radio). The sound volume, in most cases, is adequate to fill a small room. I have not heard any distortion or breakup with the sound level set to maximum.

There are loads of applications ('apps') available for it, many of them free of charge (there appear to be thousands of free ones). I intend to install ONLY free applications. I found a free internet radio app (TuneIn) which is the same one on my Roku XDS Streaming Player 1080p; all I had to do was download and install it, enter my user name and password, and everything I had configured on my Roku appeared. Nice.

Entering whatever apps you would like is fairly easy. Just be careful as to what information the app collects and uses.

On our computers my wife and I use the Ubuntu Linux operating system; the Android operating system is based on Linux but, compared to what we are used to, the Android system is somewhat clunky.

In the settings I saw that there was a system update being offered, so I downloaded and installed it (the process was easy enough but nowhere nearly as easy to do as with Ubuntu on a notebook or netbook computer). The resultant system is now Android 2.2.2 but it's still somewhat clunky.

This tablet *may* eventually receive an update to Android 'Honeycomb' (v. 3.0); that's if Dell decides to offer it. I certainly hope they do and I also hope that v. 3.0 is quite a bit better than 2.2.2.

It was easy to connect to our various web-based e-mail accounts though I'm not keen about the fact that the tablet 'remembers' all of the entered account passwords; fortunately there is a setting to enter a system password used for startup which can offer some protection in the unfortunate event that your tablet falls into someone else's hands.

I wish that it had a standard USB port; it does not. To transfer files from a computer, you MUST use the supplied cable (an uncommon type) with its 30-pin connector. This is the same cable used for charging the Streak (you must plug the cable into the AC adapter; it is not possible to charge this device from a computer). The cable is too short and this is disappointing. I will be trying a USB extender cable to see if it is compatible with the Streak's cable.

There is no easy means for printing with this tablet (though it may be possible to do so via a Wi-fi-enabled printer; I don't have one of those, however, so I cannot state with certainty). It may also be possible to print with a Blue-tooth enabled printer; please see the first three Comments.)

You can attach a set of external speakers to it by plugging them into the headphone jack; the speakers will have to be powered separately as there is no means to do so from this tablet.

Its battery is built-in, not user-replaceable. That is unfortunate.

But the unit does fully function with the AC power cord attached; when used this way the battery is charged at the same time. It can also function in a car via its cable and an DC -> USB power converter.

I ran it for three hours on battery power alone, playing an internet radio station. After that time, there was still a fair amount of power left; I do not know how long it would have played before the battery ran out altogether..

If you are just listening to music, you can turn off the screen and this will extend the battery running time. That's what I did.

At this time I cannot comment on battery life while playing video or engaging in other more intensive uses. (I have watched quite a few videos but only with AC power.) But I should think that the battery life will be nowhere near that of most other tablet computers (some of which claim to run 10 hours).

Thus, the battery life of this unit is mediocre at best and will probably be disappointing to most people. This may or may not be a deal-breaker. I myself plan to use it only at home or in a car and, in those situations, it can be plugged in.

Physically, I wish that it had some sort of handle (or even a wrist strap). It's somewhat awkward to carry (I just ordered a Quality Royal Blue Dell Tablet Case with Reinforced Exterior and Soft Suede Interior for the Dell Streak 7 Wi-Fi Tablet 4G , Android , T-Mobile , Gray + Live * Laugh * Love Vangoddy Wrist Band!!! in order to carry it about). It's also heavier than I thought it would be but I found that even several hours of holding it and configuring it while sitting in my reclining chair caused me no undue discomfort. I think that a built-in fold-out stand would have been nice.

It does appear to be constructed with a great deal of integrity.

Because tablets are equipped with touch screens, the glass screen gets finger marks fast but it's easy to remove them with a damp soft cloth. Swype (swiping with your fingers) works well. But as I mentioned above, I am not enamored with touch screens and virtual keyboards. I 'chatted' with my son last night and it took maybe four times as long for me to type my text as it would have with a regular keyboard, as on a notebook or netbook.

But that's the way these tablets are. I'm sure that there are some people who like virtual keyboards and touch screens for swiping but I wish there were some way to physically attach a regular keyboard to this tablet for some uses (unfortunately there is not - but please see the first three comments: you CAN use a Bluetooth keyboard with this tablet). (Please keep in mind that just because I myself don't particularly care for touch screens and virtual keyboards doesn't necessarily mean that you will feel the same way.) At least this touch screen is VERY quick and responsive as well as being quite sensitive.

This is NOT a replacement for a computer. It is an entertainment device which is splendid for reading books and magazines; EPUB files look and work particularly well (tap right side of screen to turn page forward, tap left side to turn page back), PDFs less so (you have to scroll), for watching videos (including Amazon and Amazon Prime VOD which look really, really good), and for listening to music (either your own or internet radio stations). You can easily get your e-mail. It has some communication capabilities thrown in (but no GoogleTalk as yet). It will also work in a rudimentary fashion as a means for surfing the web. I think that, if you will accept it for what it is, you will be happy with it. I know that I certainly am.

My wife is particularly 'hooked' on it as an eBook reader.

So are tablets, and specifically this one, a replacement for a netbook? Definitely not.

Is it a nice, fairly useful entertainment device (which can do a few things on the web in a pinch)? Definitely yes.

I think that it's a lot of fun. I'll be taking it with us when we travel - but I won't leave behind our netbooks!

Other than the case, the only accessory I can see (thus far) that would be necessary would be a 32 GB SD card if you are planning to transfer a lot of music files, books, etc. to the Streak. It does come with 16 GB of internal memory so, depending on your desired use, you may or may not need an SD card. (I ordered this AmazonBasics 32GB Class 4 SD Flash Memory Card.)

So far, overall, I like it. Its OS has a few 'warts' and there are some functional disappointments, the short cord and the poor battery life (hence the 4-star rating) but I believe that a new version of Android, if supplied by Dell, will go a long way toward alleviating the 'clunky' OS situation and maybe the battery-life situation.

I think that if you buy one of these for entertainment purposes, you will like it as much as I do.

I certainly hope that this review has been of some interest to you and I thank you for reading it.

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Update: November 26, 2011

Several days ago, I received another product courtesy of Amazon Vine: this Epson WorkForce 845 Wireless Color Printer (C11CB92201) and not only can you print directly to it from the Dell Streak 7 (wirelessly of course), you can even update the printer's firmware from the Streak (with two free "apps" which you download from the official Android Marketplace). I know - I did so just today.

Obviously the ability to print wirelessly makes the Streak just that much more useful, assuming you have a wireless printer.
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 28, 2011 9:52:39 AM PDT
alex_mayorga says:
Can't you use a Bluetooth keyboard?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2011 10:17:09 AM PDT
Dear Mr. Mayorga,

You may be on to something. I never thought of that!

I'll have to do a bit of investigating. Your suggestion may be the answer to my problem.

Thank you!

Lawrence

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2011 11:50:06 AM PDT
Dear Mr. Mayorga,

I just Googled the question and yes the Streak definitely does support a Bluetooth keyboard. It even supports a Bluetooth mouse, though a mouse has little or no functionality because there is no cursor present on the Streak.

Thanks very, very much for the suggestion. I'll do some research and choose a good Bluetooth keyboard. It should greatly add the the usefulness of this tablet.

Lawrence

Posted on May 3, 2011 5:40:32 PM PDT
Today I received an AmazonBasics 32GB Class 4 SD Flash Memory Card which I inserted into my Streak. When I turned on the streak, the card was immediately recognized.

I copied over a few folders which contain music MP3 files; the Streak recognized my folders and played my files correctly. The sound level, at its maximum, was not as loud as I should have liked (and I do NOT play my music loud), but it was adequate in volume. It was noticeably lower, however, than the volume obtained through streaming media (such as from TuneIn Radio).

I recommend that Amazon SD card; it is the least expensive such card that I have found and it works perfectly. 32GB is the maximum size card that the Streak can handle.

I have not yet tried adding e-books yet. I'll try that later.

In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2011 11:06:00 AM PDT
S. Zaslaw says:
The Centon SDHC 32GB Class 10 Flash Card (32GBSDHC10) is several dollars cheaper still. Don't know if it's comparable.

In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2011 2:24:27 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 4, 2011 2:25:42 PM PDT
Dear S. Zaslaw,

This card certainly is comparable and I had seen it listed. But with its shipping charge, it was slightly more costly than Amazon's card at the time I placed my order.

Today, even with shipping, it is indeed the least expensive card.

Of course prices change on Amazon, sometimes on a daily basis, sometimes even more often, so it pays to check all options at the time you wish to order.

That's what I did and, at the time I ordered it, the AmazonBasics card was the least expensive card overall and I actually paid less than the today's price of the Centon card.

Thanks for writing to me.

Lawrence

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 4, 2011 11:28:17 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 4, 2011 11:35:19 AM PDT
Objective says:
Lawrence: Great review. And since you seem very knowldgeable about a variety of devices, I have a question for you.
I am wanting to stream computer content (without limitation) to my large flat screen HD tv. I am seeking the most straight forward, trouble free, cost effective way to do this. Here are my options as I understand it:

Plug my laptop directly into my TV: Not an option because my wife is always using it for other things.
Buy another laptop with HDMI output to plug directly into the TV: Min. of $400.
Buy a notebook or netbook with HDMI out to plug direcly into the TV: Min. of $300 plus
Buy a tablet (like the Dell 7 - requires $70 dock to plug into HDMI tv): $380
Buy Roku or similar device: $80, but has limited internet content
Other device that wirelessly transmits computer content to HDMI TV: $100 to $180; not convinced of troublefree functionality receiving from my desktop/router which is in another room 30 feet away. Most advertise that the signal they receive must be within 20' and eminate from the same room as the device - although I do get a strong (2 bar) router signal 50 feet away through 3 walls into my garage.

What are your thoughts on these and other options? My main purpose in getting a new device is to view Glenn Beck TV. Roku is mentioned as specifically carrying that "channel." But if I'm spending $80 or more, I don't want the device to limit me to just that one function, which Roku would do. I have no use for its other "channels." I'd feel more justiified in spending 4 times as much if a number of other typical internet functions are provide in a reliable manner.

What advice can you provide in this regard?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2011 1:00:24 PM PDT
Dear "Objective,"

Thank you for your nice comment. I'm afraid you're asking me a tough question - it's tough to answer because I do not know the state of your purse, your overall purpose, or the tolerance of your wife <grin> (and no offense intended). You say you primarily want to watch Glenn Beck TV; assuming he is available on it, the cheapest way to do that is with, as you say, the Roku (and I have two of them!).

Yes, the internet content is somewhat limited but, at least with the Roku 2100X XDS Streaming Player 1080p ($100.00), the model I own, you can watch Amazon (pay) VOD (or, if you are a member of Amazon Prime [$79.00/year], their unlimited free video content), Netflix streaming video ($8.00/month for unlimited streaming only) - and they have a LOT of full-length movies available, the most of any streaming service of which I'm aware, YouTube (not an "official" Roku channel but it's easy to implement and is free), Hulu Plus (the "pay" version, not the free one) and quite a few others. (There is even a channel called "Pub-D-Hub" which is mostly free, so far, and offers many public-domain videos though I admit that some are wretched in picture quality and/or content quality.) That's a lot of choice!

How much are you actually going to watch? (Only you can answer that.)

The Roku also allows you to listen to almost every internet radio station (I use the TuneIn channel); you can even listen via Pandora if that is your preference. You set up the various (video and audio) programs on your computer; then, once set up and activated on the Roku with your computer login data (it's easy), the computer settings become the Roku settings as well.

Other than the "pay" streaming video channels (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus, etc.), most channels (including the internet radio ones) are free - and there are a LOT of other channels available with more added each week.

Well, that's the cheapest way for you to watch Glenn Beck TV - and I think you'd get your $100.00 worth. (I do not know anything at all about the Glenn Beck channel, even whether or not it is actually available on the Roku, and, if it is, if it's a free channel; you'd have to check carefully before buying.)

However, if you truly desire watching "unlimited" internet content on your TV, anything and everything, you're going to have to buy another computer, assuming your wife won't compromise. It does not have to be fully dedicated to the TV, but it has to be "yours," one that your wife won't use. (YOU can use it for other things when you're not using it for TV.)

If you are planning to watch a lot of HD content, I recommend that you avoid netbooks; the Intel Atom processor does not properly handle most HD content (at least my 2009 and 2010 models do not) though handling HD internet video may not be important to you. You could look for a refurbished notebook from a reputable source (but make sure it is an up-to-date one, not, for example a Windows-XP or Windows Vista model). Obviously that would be much more expensive but also much more versatile. (I use computers with the Ubuntu Linux operating system rather than Windows or Mac.)

But you're going to have problems finding notebooks with HDMI outputs available at a reasonable price; most continue to have VGA outputs (for picture) and standard analog audio outputs for sound. If your set does not have a VGA input, the VGA output from your computer can be attached to a StarTech.com VGA2HDMIPRO Professional VGA to HDMI Audio Video Converter with Scaler (and yes, I have one) but this converter is by no means inexpensive. (There are less expensive ones on the market but I cannot vouch for their quality - I have read reports of some cheaper ones not functioning properly.)

This box gives me the ability to connect ANY of my computers to ANY modern television receiver. If a TV, say in a hotel, has only a VGA input, I just connect directly from my computer to the TV; if the TV has only HDMI inputs, I use this Startech box. (With some other "contraptions" I own, I can even connect computer or Roku output to even the oldest of TVs, those with no audio or video inputs at all!) But that's a hobby of mine, not something in which many other people are interested.

I would recommend avoiding the wireless transmission devices; they are, as you say, not trouble-free and, at least at this time, they may cause more problems than they solve.

So it comes down to what you want to spend and how much you're going to use your TV for watching internet content. If, as I suspect, you do not want to spend a lot of money, I recommend the Roku route. My wife and I are happy with ours. (But get the $100.00 one, not the lesser models. Its relatively small additional cost buys a great deal more versatility.)

Otherwise you'll need to buy another computer (unless your wife is willing to allow you to use her computer for TV watching at certain hours). And you probably will need to buy some ancillaries (cables perhaps), depending upon the computer you buy and its output connections. (Don't buy any necessary cables from those "Big-Box" stores like Best Buy [which is anything but!]; buy from Amazon - the quality of their cables is positively the same or better than those ridiculously expensive ones the "Big Box" stores sell and Amazon's prices are MUCH lower.)

I hope that this answer is of some assistance to you and I wish you luck in whatever route you take.

All the best,

Lawrence H. Bulk

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2011 3:49:17 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 6, 2011 3:55:17 PM PDT
Objective says:
Thanks, Lawrence for your thoughtful and thorough reply.

Beck will be available specifically on a Roku channel as of September 12. Mercury Arts (Beck's media company) appears to be scurrying to find additional options to recommend to their viewers to enable cost effective viewing of GBTV content on their TVs. You and other readers may find the discussion on this forum interesting ---> http://www.glennbeck.com/content/blog/stu/gbtv-faqs/

We already have Pandora on our Blue Ray player. And I recently found and have a great time with the Logitech Squeezebox Logitech Squeezebox Radio Music Player with Color Screen (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer) for all the internet radio I can possibly fathom. Great device, by the way.

We don't have any need for additional PPV movies or HD content. So in reality, the Roku would be a single purpose device for me. After giving my initial question further thought over the last several days, I am leaning toward a portable device that will truly be multi-purpose for me. That device may be either a tablet or a small laptop or netbook.

This setup would provide full internet content viewing on the main TV while providing portable personal viewing anywhere in the house or away where there is wi-fi.

I'm hoping to spend less than $500. For example, Asus has a line of tablets and netbooks that have mini-HDMI out. One that looks promising is the Asus Transformer Asus Transformer Tf101 10.1-inch Tablet (Dock Included)

But being based on the Android system, I am not sure if the Transformer will work on GBTV which uses the MLB.com video system. The specs on the MLB site do not include Android as being supported. I have queries into MLB, Asus, and GBTV on this topic and no replies yet.

I'm thinking this whole proposition needs to stew around in my mind, along with more research and more answers.
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