Dell Venue Pro - Keyboard and Screen

Slide up the Venue Pro’s screen, and you get to the portrait QWERTY keyboard. There aren’t too many portrait QWERTY sliders out there in the smartphone world - Palm has the Pre/Veer family, Motorola recently announced the XT300 Spice slider, Samsung supposedly has an Android portrait slider in the works, and that’s basically it.

So the Venue Pro uses one of the more unique smartphone form factors out there, and as far as physical portrait QWERTY keyboards go, I think the Venue Pro is one of the best. My previous favorite was the BlackBerry Curve, but in my opinion the Venue Pro surpasses even that. The keyboard was very tactile, with good key sizing and spacing (always a concern with portrait QWERTY devices). Coming from the HTC G2’s awesome landscape keyboard, it took me very little time to adjust to the Venue Pro’s keyboard.

I did try out the Windows Phone  7 virtual keyboard, but there’s not too much to report here - it’s pretty similar to using the keyboard on a Focus or HD7. I prefer the physical keyboard, but the default Windows Phone 7 keyboard is definitely pretty good.

The screen is also pretty good - it’s an AMOLED display, with a WVGA resolution. It’s actually pretty dim compared to some of the other AMOLED displays we’ve seen, with the HTC-built AMOLED devices 10-20% brighter, the Focus 25% brighter, and the rest of Samsung's Super AMOLED displays 70-100% brighter than the Venue Pro. The colours are noticeably more vibrant than the HD7 when side by side, though a touch cooler than most LCDs.

Display Brightness

Display Brightness

The 800 x 480 resolution on the 4.1” display gives it a pixel density of 228 pixels per inch. That’s not quite as high as the Surround or other Windows devices with smaller screens, but not a problem overall. The curvature of the display is convex, in contrast to the slightly concave display in the Nexus S. In the Nexus S, the curve serves an ergonomic purpose, but the Venue Pro’s curved display is purely aesthetic. It definitely plays into the rest of the Venue Pro’s industrial design, and my initial concerns about the glare and reflections went unfounded.

Dell Venue Pro - Hardware Impressions Dell Venue Pro - Software
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  • tipoo - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    The code names were cooler than the final names. Thunder, Lightning, Flash, and Smoke sounded awesome.
  • VivekGowri - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    I completely agree with that, hence the title. How awesome would it be to carry a phone called the Lightning? Woulda gone well with the HTC Thunderbolt too.
  • aegisofrime - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    For some reason those codenames reminded me of Warcraft 3
  • therealnickdanger - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    So awesome. :)
  • zipz0p - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    Yes! This is exactly what I was thinking - I actually happened to be playing the soundtrack myself as I was reading it, totally coincidentally. Good work Vivek!
  • magicrog - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    I don't care what the phone is called - I have an iphone and to be honest the signal pick up is worse then when I had my nokia 6310 and battery life is awful.

    If it has a great name - lets hope the phone lives up to it.
  • FATCamaro - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    Lousy speed, lousy camera, lousy battery life, lousy screen compared to Android devices and iphone. Yet the author thinks this could be a winner. Amazing!
  • Flunk - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    He says the screen is very good and most people don't care at all about the camera. If they did they wouldn't be using a phone because all phone cameras are worthless.

    IE really is a big problem but at least they're trying to fix it.

    On another topic, there are no IM clients for Windows Phone 7 because sockets support hasn't been released yet so it's not possible to write IM clients unless you're tunneling through a HTTP connection which is far from ideal.
  • VivekGowri - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    The screen is good - it's a little bit dimmer than the Focus and Nexus one, but it's not a bad screen at all. Battery life on the AMOLED devices really depends on how much white is being displayed on the screen - that makes a huge difference in how much power the displays consume, and in our battery life test, that puts AMOLED devices at an inherent disadvantage compared to LCD screens.

    Also, as much as I hate to say it, when I said winner, I meant relative to other WP7 devices. Which lowers the bar for a successful device significantly.

    Microsoft really needs to fast track their updates and get the second generation devices out as soon as possible. The faster they can gain back ground on Apple and Google, the faster they get some meaningful marketshare. Nokia will help with that, but MS shouldn't be depending on them, they need to get some success with the rest of the partners too.
  • NoSoMo - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    I have to say, you guys could have done much better on the pics....I've come to expect so much more from ya.....

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