Dell aren’t necessarily known as one of the biggest players in the smartphone market, but they still managed to be an early adopter of the Window Phone 7 operating system. That means the Dell Venue Pro 8GB had to meet some fairly strict minimum requirements, but how does it do as a phone when compared to the rest of the initial Windows 7 line-up?
The phone has a rather stunning 4.2 inch display, which is one of the largest screens offered by any of the phones running the operating system. Unfortunately, this can lead to the phone feeling a little bit cumbersome, whether it’s in the pocket or the hand. As such, if you are going for comfort over size it is probably best to look elsewhere.
Having said that, it is still fairly easy to handle and the slim design makes it much more attractive than bulkier phones that feature similarly sized screens. There is a little bit of weight to it, so don’t go expecting anything too lightweight, but it’s nothing that should cause you any problems and it serves to make the phone feel that much sturdier as a result.
The phone is also the only Windows Phone 7 that features a sliding design, which means you can just slide it up to access a physical keyboard. For those who don’t like messing around with touchscreen equivalents, or simply want to avoid smudging the screen with their fingerprints, this can be a great touch but it again adds to the overall size of the phone for people who prefer something a little more compact.
The screen itself is also of a fairly high quality, offering a lovely and sharp picture that makes the phone perfect for viewing most kinds of media. The colors on the screen tend to wash out when the in contact with direct sunlight, but that’s an issue you are going to run into with most phones.
The phone has to meet the minimum specifications for running the Windows 7 operating system, so you can expect the overall performance to be as smooth as you would find on any other Windows Phone 7 device in terms of speed and the way that the phone handles the operating system.
The major issue we had with the phone was the slightly sketchy sound quality. It is most noticeable when listening to music, particularly if you are using cheap headphones, as there is very noticeable static in the background. This can’t be blamed entirely on headphone quality, as it is also noticeable with better sets as well.
The speakerphone is also not quite on the same level as some of the phone’s contemporaries. It often feels a little bit too quiet, meaning you are going to have to struggle to hear what is being said. This means the phone isn’t great for conference calls.
Having said that, normal calls seem to be perfectly fine and don’t suffer from the sound issues that seem to plague the speakerphone.
It also offers a decent battery, with an advertised 7 hours of talk time, plus 14 days of battery life if the phone is left on standby. This makes it one of the better Windows Phone 7 offerings in this respect.
The phone comes with many of the standard features that you would expect, such as conference calling and a speakerphone, but it is unable to connect to 4G networks. This isn’t an issue if you are happy with the connection speeds offered by 3G networks, but if you want the fastest internet access possible it may be a problem.
This model only comes with 8GB of memory as well, which can’t be topped up with any extra. Luckily, there is also a 16GB model available for those who are going to need a little bit of extra space, plus you should be granted access to Microsoft’s cloud storage service upon purchase.
The camera is pretty good, offering 720p video capture and a range of editing options that will be great for the amateur photographer in you. Just remember that you are going to have to be wary of running out of space before too long, particularly with the 8GB model.
The Bottom Line
The Dell Venue Pro 8GB offers a unique design that will appeal to people who are looking for a phone that is more orientated towards business. The physical keyboard is extremely easy to use and is solidly designed so you don’t need to worry about causing any issues when using it.
The only real negative is the sound quality produced by the speakerphone and the fact that there is noticeable static when using headphones with the device. However, these are fairly minor quibbles for many people, meaning the phone should definitely be considered if you are looking to try out Windows 7 and want a phone that is a little bit different from the rest of the offerings.