Undoubtedly, Dell Venue Pro is one of the best phones in the first batch of Windows Phone 7. It's portrait slide-out QWERTY hardware keyboard, 4.1” AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla glass and 16GB storage sets it apart. Earlier called Dell Lightening, I always had my eyes on this beautiful piece of hardware and bought it in mid February this year from a Dell Store in Gurgaon, Haryana.
Its build feels solid; but it feels heavy too -- blame it on the hardware keyboard! The Gorilla glass screen and the chrome plating on the sides is likely to protect the phone from scratches. I have been carrying the phone along with car keys in my pocket and there have been no scratches on the screen yet, though I'm yet to drop the phone. On the flip side, the thin plastic cover on the back gives me the jitters. I slide it out often to re-insert the battery.
The 5 megapixels camera with an LED flash at the back of the phone, works decently during daylight but gives blurry and grainy photos during the night. Changing the Scene Mode, flash and ISO Gain works but not up to satisfaction. The phone can record videos at 720p. What pinches me is the omission of a front-facing camera for the day when Windows Phone or apps start supporting video calling or video conferencing. And I wish there was an HDMI out to watch those recoded HD videos on a TV screen.
The big pros
The features that make Dell Venue Pro shine in the crowd are its hardware keyboard and copy-paste feature. The keyboard is a portrait slide out and hence helps in single-hand typing. The keys are small , they bulge out for a tactile feel. While I feel comfortable hitting the keys, one friend with 'fat' fingers seemed stressed while typing. Any mechanical part in a device gives me the jitters. Coming to the copy-paste feature. This feature is a part of the Win Phone NoDo update. Dell venue Pro comes pre-installed with it. Besides copy-paste, the NoDo update allows to search the marketplace specifically for apps, games.
And the cons
Ever since I bought this device, I started facing a strange charging issue with the phone with the wall charger. The wall charger is two-pin that works in India. When I plug in the phone using the wall charger, the screen goes blank with no indication of the phone getting charged. Subsequently, if I pull out the charger and re-insert the battery, the charging indicator shows up. I spoke to a Dell service center about this issue. I was asked to bring the phone to the service center for testing with the assurance that the phone will be replaced against a defect. The phone comes with a one-year replacement warranty.
Few other issues: The phone comes with something called International Assist enabled (by default) in the dialer. Due to this, a call to a toll-free number in India like 1800-425-4026 ends up being an international call.
Next, though Dell Venue Pro has been formally launched in India, the apps ,arketplace is not yet available for India.
Bottomline: Overall, the phone is a solid hardware with a zippy performance, thanks to its 1 GHz processor and 512 MB RAM. The battery lasts for as long as 24 hours with low brightness, occasional Wi-Fi and push E-mail sync.