Dell Venue Pro
MRP: Rs 35,000
Street Price: Rs 24,000 (Flipkart.com)
What's peculiar about technology is the ever-accelerating speed at which it seems to evolve. Pretty soon we'll have intergalactic space travel, teleporting Subway sammiches, and iPhone releases every other day. Consider the phones we use, for example. I don't know how old the average TechTree reader is (12?), but I remember an age when mobile phones didn't have a colour display. Phones could just make calls and send messages, and that was a pretty big deal by itself.
Phones evolved, and now we can do some pretty crazy stuff with them. You can take 360-degree pictures, automatically scan and save visiting cards, point your camera at the sky and see stellar constellations, and even use your phone as an internet router. The Dell Venue Pro is among the newest phones out there, and I was curious about what new features I'd find on it. I had last used a Windows Phone a few years ago and I wanted to see how it would hold up against the Androids and iOSes.
The package, eh? The package from the guy who sent it to us was: the phone and its charger in a plastic bag. I definitely hope this isn't how regular customers get the phone - I'd be pretty mad if a salesman tossed a phone worth 35 grand into a plastic bag and threw in a charger as an afterthought. Anyway, it seems the package should contain earphones and a little leaflet (probably to reassure you about your impulsive buy).
You can polish a turd.
The phone is a beauty. It's large, sleek, and looks bloody expensive. It's a tad heavy and a bit unwieldy, but then we live in a world where people are dumb enough to walk around with iPads, so this is no biggie. The Venue Pro features a slide-out keypad bearing keys so tiny that you can only type with a safety pin. I didn't bother using the keyboard during the test period because, you know, I have fingers.
On to the tech specs: the phone runs on a 1 GHz (Scorpion Core
) Qualcomm Snapdragon
processor, and has an Adreno 200
GPU thrown in for graphics muscle. It has 512 MB of RAM and 8 GB of onboard storage space, but you can't add memory cards for additional space. Probably because Dell thinks you shouldn't be carrying more than 8 GB of data anyway. The most impressive thing about this phone is its display: a 4.1" AMOLED Gorilla Glass
screen. It's unbelievably responsive and a delight to use, thanks to its clarity and rich colours.
The Dell Venue Pro's screen.
Alright, so the phone looks great. In fact, I used it for two whole weeks and almost everyone who saw the phone had to ask about it. Of course, I claimed it was mine, because there's no way in hell I'd admit to being a TechTree employee. This thing is a fine chick magnet, my lonely friends! Those swanky colours, the fade-in and fade-out menus, the techno ringtones, and the click-clack of the slide out keyboard is audio-visual foreplay for the dumb and pretty women around me. I had to play dumb to bond with them but hey, I added 10 new contacts to this phone. It's like the one app that I can never find on iTunes
.Day 2 Of Phone Usage
The first day was a dream. The next was like the day after your wedding - reality hits home. It started when I decided to configure my phone service provider's internet settings. Simple enough. Hmm, go to Settings
, then go to... ok, Phone
? Oops, no. Umm, Network
? Dammit. Mail
? Internet Explorer
?! MUSIC AND VIDEOS
Revolution now means reverse evolution.
This couldn't be happening. My swish phone wouldn't allow me to tweak \ control \ access my network settings! The max I could do was swipe twice to disable 3G. I tried Wi-Fi next, and surprisingly, I could get on my WAN network. I was about to use Internet Explorer after many, many years - I was cornered. I had to do this. I poked the screen.404 error
dropped the phone, and fell on the ground, rolling all over the dirty TechTree floor in agony. I wailed and kicked around and punched the furniture around me. I had a long tantrum, after which I took the rest of the day off and went home. This wasn't right - Microsoft
would pay. I sat under a dim lamp in a corner of my room as I sulked and swore to avenge my pain.
However, I had to know my enemy well to defeat him. I returned a much stronger man to where I had dropped the Venue Pro and picked it up. No one steals a phone when they see a 404: Page Not Found error
- it's the law of the jungle. I tried every possible thing to access the internet, but nothing worked. For a few minutes, I managed to access Google.com,
but the rest of the time was 404 Happy Hours
. Buy one, get one free.
He started it.
Meh. I decided to move on. I decided to personalize my phone at this point. Apparently I had to create a Windows Live ID
for a "wholesome" experience. So be it. At this point, it magically connected and let me finish registration. Then some random messages warning me to wait or die appeared. I looked away.
As I sat there clueless about what was going on, it demanded that I update my Facebook
app. Glad that I had not been physically assaulted by the phone yet, I quickly clicked Yes
. It did a few swanky things and soon I was on my Facebook page. You know how Facebook looks tacky on all mobile apps? Well, Windows just took it to another
level. All I could do was see my homepage, my profile page and update my status, without my privacy settings.
Here's the best part. All your FB contacts are automatically added to your contacts list. People I'd never seen or met before were on my phone list. I had to scroll for a few hours just to call my mom to inform her that I was dying of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
. You can't even have your favourite numbers at the top. Pretty soon I was just staring at the phone with my mouth open. To finally remove all the Facebook contacts, I had to reset the phone. No lies
I gotta finish this. I spent the rest of the day running through everything, and found that there were a billion things you could not do. You know how you can add pictures to a contact? Well, you can't do that here. Hell, you can't even add a ringtone to any contact. Even worse, you can't set some favourite song as a ringtone. Wow. Just wow.
I found myself calling the wrong people often. This was because when you clicked a name, it would show the number in a large font and the contact name in tiny letters on the upper left corner. I even called people I'd never met before! You know how awkward it is when you call a Facebook contact you've never met in person?! It's downright creepy
Hey, remember me?! From Facebook?
The Pictures section was again slick, but that's where it ended. It was as if the coding team was on vacation and they made the designers finish and launch the OS. The only options the Pictures menu allows is Set As Wallpaper, Delete, or Cancel. Hey, what about all the other things I want to do? Like email it, edit it, move it to another album, or mark all?
The camera was a lot of fun. Not because of awesome pictures, but because we had a game where anyone who took a non-blurry picture would win 500 bucks. Nobody won. The camera runs on two modes: Off and Parkinson's. In the light of day, the camera works decently. But walk into a room, or try to take a picture any time after 6 pm, and all you get is a blur. The awesome screen just amplifies the camera's shortcomings.
That's AWESOME!! What is it?
Music And Videos
A-ha, the best part. When I plugged the Venue Pro into my computer for the first time, nothing happened. My computer and I just sat there, staring at each other. Since the guy who sent us the phone didn't send a driver disc, I had no clue what software came with the Venue Pro. I Googled for "dell venue manager"
and got nothing. After a few minutes of reading angry reviews, I found it. Turned out I had to use Zune
to move stuff to the phone. I don't like it, but I persevered.
The Zune download went like this: first, it made me download the installer. Once it was installed, it said there were new "software updates", and made me download those too (why not just update the installer file, you jackasses?) and then
, they made me download phone updates. I played along. Zune finally powered up - after flashing the intro screen for about two minutes. All this on a computer that could simultaneously and single-handedly launch 20 rockets into space.
If you thought iTunes sucks, you've got to
see the Zune. You'll never utter a word about iTunes being inflexible again. It's like someone has a warm shotgun barrel against your nuts. It's their way or no way. Zune forced me to add all the songs on my computer and convert my videos, and all my private pictures. I was terrified because I figured my phone would automatically upload everything to Facebook too. It felt like the Great Robot Takeover
that I had feared all my life. The way Zune takes over your computer is just tyrannical. I imagine this is what a cavity check at Chennai airport feels like.
Bitches need lurvv too.
After taking a few hours to add songs, I tried the music player. It was alright; but after what I'd gone through, anything would sound good. Kinda like the 50 bucks the warden gives you when they let you out of prison. I had no complaints and quietly moved on.
I had had enough
of this phone, at this point. I didn't care about that stupid mobile version of Office
, or Outlook
, or the Calendar
, or that ridiculous search function on the homepage. Oh yeah, what the hell
is up with that? Do you think the first thing I think of when I look at my phone is, "I gotta run a Bing search"
I don't know about this new direction the phone makers have taken. You've got to get into the philosophy of a phone. What is a phone? What are you going to use it for? I get that they want to reduce confusion for the technologically-challenged customers, but they have to draw the line somewhere. Apple was the primary retard, but even it looks sane in comparison. It takes an idiot to go astray, but it takes an even bigger idiot to follow him
. The whole "we will decide what to give you" attitude is absolute crap. I used to hate my Symbian
phone before I used the Dell Venue Pro, but now I realize that at the very least, there's a filesystem on my phone. I can do a bunch of things with my stuff. Sure, the newer phones have many new utilities \ apps, but all the old and very essential functions are gone.
This is what happens when style replaces common sense. Seriously, I wonder what Microsoft's focus group was like: were they talking to high
-schoolers? I can't imagine any adult using this phone. Ever. And I'm also curious about why they named this Windows, because there is absolutely no connection between the computer OS and this piece of shit. The only Windows this thing needs is one that you can throw it out of.Verdict
This phone has layers. Multiple layers of fail, that is.
- Yes, you can make calls. After 10 minutes of going through contacts.
- Yes, you can send messages. Unless you accidentally hit the Search button and lose everything you typed, because the phone does not save drafts.
- Yes, it will give you more friends. But none that read TechTree.
1/5Design And Build Quality:
1/5Value For Money: