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Dell Venue Pro / WP7 - Initial Thoughts

After having spent what I would consider sufficient time to build some initial impressions, I've decided to share my thoughts on the Dell Venue Pro that I picked up a couple days ago. Keep in mind I've yet to use it in direct sunlight (a common trouble spot for phones (which is an advantage to living in cloudy Oregon)) or put more than a couple of battery charges through it. But I've managed to attempt, at least to some degree, all of the things I'd ever ask of this device and therefore, without further ado, I give you yet another list:

  • For some reason, the phone doesn't want to pair with my Apple bluetooth keyboard. A quick internet search (I was about to say Google but I actually used the phone's onboard Bing search) reveals that the bluetooth profile for supporting a bluetooth keyboard is absent. That's annoying, considering there is quite a lot going for the phone's MS Office and the related cloud support.
  • The screen is bright. This has to be one of the brightest AMOLED displays I've ever used. For some reason I find myself wishing that the screen had a dimmer setting than "low," though usually this is only when I'm in a dark room. I envision the OLED technology letting me write messages sneakily where a standard LCD would simply illuminate my face and blind my eyes. While this doesn't do the latter, my face is still lit up.
  • Although I was once bashing on WP7 shamelessly... I have to admit, the UI design is phenomenal. When the iPhone came out, it kicked off the (near) button-less revolution. WP7 seems dead-set on removing any on-screen buttons as well. And I like it.
  • Every time I make a phone call, I for some reason feel like I'm in a sci-fi movie. A high-budget sci-fi movie.
  • Where's Skype?
  • Why does Angry Birds cost $2.99?
  • Oh. There's no front-camera on this. That's awkward- must be the first phone I've owned in years not to have one of those. Then again video-calls from a phone is awkward to begin with.
  • The stereo plug is not recessed whatsoever. But the plug of whatever headphones one is using sort of sticks out just a millimeter or so. Enough to be slightly awkward.
  • Whoever said this power button is awkward to find with one's finger has clearly not used an HTC Sensation 4G. Or any for-American-market android handset, for that matter.
  • I wish the on-screen keyboard would use the entire length of the display in landscape mode. That said, kudos for not altering the appearance of text-input-boxes while in landscape unlike some other android phones.
  • The on-screen keyboard has great prediction and the "pop" sound to accompany keypresses is actually useful (like an iPhone) instead of delayed and distracting (like an android phone). That said, I turned the sound off, since I really only use the on-screen keyboard when I'm trying to be quiet, because:
  • I love the physical keyboard. It has great click to it, I was 100% accurate from time-zero till now, and my speed on it has improved very quickly. That same great click isn't the best for super quiet situations and I have a feeling the keyboard will get annoying if one doesn't carefully keep their nails in check.
  • Sliding the display to reveal the keyboard is like pressing the power button. Neato. Saves me a finger stretch. Sometimes I forget to close the keyboard once I start a phone call, though. Probably look stupid with an already larger phone extended yet that much more.
  • Why does the email app open with a white background? In addition to the sudden pain inflicted upon my retinas likely due to the leap in light intensity from AMOLED-black to AMOLED-white (aka full-off pixel to full-on pixel), any AMOLED-equipped phone is going to use more battery life. I'd prefer an option to read my email in high-contrast (black background, white text), but I suppose since the majority of emails are written to be read in non-high-contrast mode, certain things might be messed with. Still, wishful thinking.
  • Reception isn't the greatest. WiFi is a bit stronger than some other phones, though.
  • Where the heck is Pandora Radio?
  • Not sure if it is just my headphones, but I feel like there's a small amount of non-consistent white noise. Sort of like a faint static. Not sure what it is- CPU activity, WiFi / Cellular interference... it's like plugging my headphones into my computer, there's white noise, it's expected. But not here.
  • What is the deciding factor of whether or not the Zune player has the fancy backgrounds? Did I do something wrong or... what's up here? Only about 5 of my bands have backgrounds. Which means there are only about 5 image options for the live wallpaper. Yuck.

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