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CES 2011: Hands-on with Dell's Venue Android Smartphone

Dell’s fourth smartphone, the newly unveiled Venue, uses the same Android 2.2-based and Dell Stage user interface as the larger Streak 5 phone/tablet. The Venue’s good-looking hardware, however, is similar to that of the Windows Phone 7-driven Venue Pro, although without the Pro’s slide-out keyboard. That’s the start of what I discovered during a hands-on session at a Dell press event this weekend in Las Vegas.

As Dell delves more deeply into smartphones, the veteran PC maker is aiming its Android phones mostly at consumers, said Matt Christiansen, a Dell senior training analyst, in an interview at the event. The Venue Pro, on the other hand, is targeted at businesses, as well as at long-time RIM BlackBerry customers, other major users of texting, and anyone who is brand new to smartphones.

In checking out the Venue, Streak 5, and Venue Pro side-by-side, I found that the Venue is meaningfully lighter to hold and carry than either of the existing phones. Indeed, the lack of a keyboard subtracts extra baggage of around 30 grams, leaving the Venue with a total weight of around 160 grams, or about 5.6 ounces, Christiansen estimated. In contrast, the Streak 5 tips the scales at about 220 grams, or 7.8 ounces. Dell’s display at the event didn’t include the company’s first phone, the Android-driven Aero.

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