As is normally the case with Android devices, Dell has seen fit to tweak the interface to suit its needs. Its changes aren’t too radical, but they prove reasonably effective. Most evident is the basic home screen design is in landscape, and doesn’t re-orientate itself to portrait if you rotate it. Other applications will work in portrait mode, but by design the Streak is intended to be used in landscape.
By default there are three pages of shortcuts and widgets. These three pages include one with two separate widgets for Facebook and Twitter, which serve their purpose for getting a quick glance but are quite limited in functionality.
Tucked away in the top left corner is the application drop-down that defaults to a minimised, single-row view but can be expanded to show all of them. None of this quite has the polish and attention to detail seen in HTC’s Sense UI, but at least Dell hasn’t over stretched itself and in a sense this is a great blank canvas for tinkerers to play with.
Navigating this interface is made all the easier by the superb capacitive touchscreen. It responds quickly and to the lightest of touches, and has a ‘gorilla glass’ surface that’s renowned for its strength and durability. Not only will it not scratch like a plastic facing, it’s also more resistant to cracking when dropped than you might expect.
It’s not just the touch element of the screen that impresses; its general performance is also good. Being LCD based, as opposed to AMOLED, the Streak’s screen copes much better in bright sunlight than many of the latest phones.
This is a good thing, obviously, and the Streak’s screen also has a more natural hue than the OLED clad Samsung Wave or Galaxy S. It can’t quite match the iPhone 4 – or the iPad for that matter – in either sharpness or fidelity, but it does a fine job nonetheless. It’s also the perfect size and resolution for in-car navigation, making it a great option for anyone wanting to use the free Google Navigation app or any other mobile sat-nav app for that matter.
By contrast the mono speaker on the Streak is somewhat disappointing. It’s no better or worse than the speakers on most smartphones, and still manages reasonable volumes and clarity. However, considering its size and suitability for GPS and portable media player duties, a more powerful speaker or stereo setup would’ve been extremely beneficial. This slight weakness doesn’t prevent the Streak from being a great sat-nav alternative, but it’s worth investigating ways to amplify the audio – if only Dell had added an FM transmitter!