Dell Venue Hands-on at CES 2011

One of the most aloof devices at CES 2011 is the Dell Venue, recently announced — first in Asia, now here in the US at CES 2011. Finding one to ogle over is pretty difficult because the only presence Dell has on the show floor is a dinky little booth that showed only the Streak 7 and the Venue Pro, but with some due diligence I was able to hunt down the Dell folks and get some good photographic evidence of the phone’s existence.

The Dell Venue is an indication of the company’s commitment to improve and broaden its mobile lineup. Some are calling the Venue the little brother of the Venue Pro because of the Pro’s inclusion of a full portrait QWERTY keyboard and additional Enterprise-friendly features, but the Venue itself is a very capable Android 2.2 handset.

My first impressions of the Venue when looking at it for the first time is that it looks incredibly similar to the Sanyo Zio. Whether that’s a good thing or not can be left up to your own personal opinion, but I don’t mind the design of the phone as long as it doesn’t have similar performance to the Zio. The Venue has a very slick 4.1″ AMOLED screen with Gorilla Glass and smooth edges, fully chromed-up side, and then a special pattern-design back that feels somewhat plasticky.

As for the interface, the Venue uses a brand new Stage UI that I saw on the Dell Streak 7, which takes each individual home screen panel and converts it into a certain category. For instance, you can find Stages for Social, Email, Recent Apps, Contacts, Music, Videos, and more. If you hate these stages, they can be removed and replaced by whatever else you’d normally like, so at least you have the ability to choose for yourself how you want to decorate the innards of your phone, whether you want to add widgets or folders or regular apps. The Stages themselves have been designed very well, and will be interesting to see if there will be any additional Stages thrown in down the road. I would be very interested to see it open up to developer support, much like Sprint ID does, where you can choose from several customized Stages of all sorts of categories.

Besides the Stages, most of the interface is vanilla Android with exceptions in the contacts and dialpad. Dell will also be throwing in an extra proprietary app called VideoStage, a fee-based streaming video and movie service, which will be loaded on the phones in time for shipping, though it wasn’t available for me to view on the prototype unit I played with.

Among the Venue’s specs:

  • 800 x 480 resolution
  • 8 MP camera with 720p HD video recording
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 1 GHz processor, 512 MB RAM
  • HSPA  up to 7.2 Mbps
  • 12.9 mm thick
  • Weight: 5.78 ounces
  • 1 GB internal storage, up to 32 external available

Overall, I’m very excited to see one of the final versions of the Venue when it’s ready for shipping. So far I’m excited to see a huge difference between the Venue and the Aero that launched last year. Certainly, just by judging the difference I can tell that Dell is on the right path to becoming a strong player in the mobility market.

Here is the video and a photo gallery showing off all aspects of the Dell Venue.

Author: Brad Molen

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  • Michael

    Having two 16GB Dell Venue Pros, this Venue version looks cool except it’s should be running Windows Phone 7. It simply makes this Android offering look dated and cartoony. Too bad.
    I must say that the Dell Venue Pro simply performs flawlessly. and the many iPhones users that I’ve shown it to are blown away by the looks and really by Windows Phone 7 OS. I am beyond happy with DVP and WP7.
    After a few days of using WP7 it’s hard to understand why anybody would want anything else.

  • Rachelle25

    @Michael my thoughts exactly

  • TerryZ

    My Focus rocks! I Love my Windows Phone 7