Dell Streak 7 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab 4G

The two hot 7-inch tablets at CES 2011 have to be the Dell Streak 7 and the new and improved Samsung Galaxy Tab 4G. But the question for us at Pocket-lint, as ever, is which one of them is better? Which one is the mini-tab that you should be spending your hard earned cash on?

As is our want, we’ve laid down the spec sheets on both of these Android gadgets and made a judgement for ourselves. Take a look at what we reckon below and do check out our hands on photos for a closer inspection.

Form Factor

1st: SamTab 4G
190.09 x 120.45 x 11.98mm, 380g

2nd: Dell Streak 7
199.9 x 119.8 x 12.4 mm, 450g


While it’s a pretty close run thing for dimensions in the form factor opener, there’s a very large difference in weight between these two devices that are otherwise of a similar size. 70g is actually a fairly considerable excess to carry around. Add on the fact that the Samsung Galaxy Tab is also thinner and arguably a little better looking and it’s not a good start for the new kid on the block. Naturally, that extra mass might be down to a few bonus features but we’ll have to wait for later categories to see if that’s the case.

Display

1st: SamTab 4G
7-inch, 1024x600, Super TFT-LCD

2nd: Dell Streak 7
7-inch, 800x480 LCD with Gorilla Glass


Gorilla Glass or not, the big question is whether that poor pixel resolution on the Deal Streak 7 display is really worth protecting in the first place. The WVGA spec is the same as you’ll find as standard on Windows Phone 7 handsets and they’re around half the size. Forget HD and forget a lush cinematic experience. Dell’s effort is surprisingly lacking in a category that’s ever so important for the tablet class. The Samsung Galaxy Tab, while being older, still manages to show it up both in terms of resolution and superior screen technology as well. A bad loss for Dell here.

Engine Room

1st: Dell Streak 7
Nvidia Tegra T20, Dual Core, 1 GHz

2nd: SamTab 4G
Cortex A8 1.2GHz CPU, PowerVR SGX540, 512MB


It’s a win for the Dell Streak 7 in terms of what’s under the hood but not a massive one. The Tegra T20 module is based on a Cortex A9 chip, not too dissimilar from what comes on the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Dell hasn’t said how much RAM it’s using to power the whole thing either and that could actually be as low as 256MB. What we do know though is that the Dell Streak 7 runs on a dual core system and the Nvidia platform should spell better gaming and graphic processing. Run on a lower res screen like that as well and, performance-wise, it should all be very smooth at the number crunching level.  

Storage

Tie: Dell Streak 7
16GB, 32GB + SD

Tie: SamTab 4G
16GB, 32GB + microSD


A score draw this time with both tablets providing exactly the same options in the storage department and both expandable as well. Neither match up to the 64GB internal you can get with the iPad but, if you’ve really got a problem with space, it might be time to delete some stuff.

Battery

1st: SamTab 4G
4000mAh, 7 hours video

2nd: Dell Streak 7
2780mAh


There’ve been no official stats on how long a single, full charge on the Dell Streak 7 will last you, so we’re going to have to do a little guestimation here. The battery is a lot smaller on the Dell, so the question is whether it can run much more efficiently than the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Both tablets work on similar speed processors, so no major difference there. One might expect the new chipset to be slightly more efficient but that still wouldn’t make up for the difference. In fact, there’s not a hell of a lot that would. So, perhaps the reason we haven’t had the battery stats quoted is because they’re not that good. A generous guess might be something like 5 hours of pure video. Whatever it is, it looks like the SamTab is the winner here and, with long haul plane flights one of the best times to use a tablet, this is quite a place to miss out.

Software

1st: Dell Streak 7
Android 2.2/3.0

2nd: SamTab 4G
Android 2.2


Both of these tablets will run Android 2.2 Froyo out of the box and both can be updated to Android 2.3 Gingerbread in time as well. The problem is that it doesn’t look like the Samsung Galaxy Tab - even the 4G version - is going to be able to get Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Now, seeing as that’s a great looking, made for tablet OS - that’s quite a loss. Word has it that Honeycomb will require a minimum spec of a dual-core processor, which, of course, the Streak 7 has, and, in fact, Dell has said that their tablet will be OTA upgradable when the update comes. So, without a shadow of a doubt, the dead end situation of the SamTab’s OS puts it firmly in second place here.

Connectivity

1st: SamTab 4G
Wi/4G/GPS/Bluetooth 3.0/DLNA

2nd: Dell Streak 7
Wi-Fi/4G/GPS/BT 2.1 + EDR


While the Dell Streak 7 is certainly competent in this department with everything to match the Samsung Galaxy Tab - including LTE connectivity, should you live in a country with a 4G network - it’s missing out on the DLNA fun. Bluetooth version differences aren’t really a problem but getting content on and off tablets is quite important. The fact that the SamTab can stream video around your home network is a real bonus and saves a lot of faffing around with cables. There’s no mention of anything like this in the specs as released by Dell and, for that reason, it’s easy enough to hand the connectivity award to Samsung.

Imaging

Tie: Dell Streak 7
1.3MP front, 5MP rear, LED flash

Tie: SamTab 4G
1.3MP front, 5MP rear, LED flash


It’s an easy one to call when two devices rock exactly the same specs and that’s very much the case in the imaging department since Samsung made a slight tinker to the rear camera on the Galaxy Tab 4G. Both tablets will allow you all the video and stills capture you like as well as video calling too. The only trouble could come with the Google Talk app which we know will deal with video on Honeycomb but no word, as yet, on whether the update will work with a Froyo or Ginerbread device. Still, there’s always Skype. Right?

Price

Tie: Dell Streak 7
Unannounced

Tie: SamTab 4G
Unannounced


One area that could make a major difference for the traditional stack ‘em high sell ‘em cheap approach adopted by Dell in the past could be price. The first arrival of the Samsung Galaxy Tab was ludicrously dear - although you can now pick a 32GB version up on sale at just £399. All the same, Dell has come out with quite a few premium products in the last few years and the Dell Streak 5 - the 7’s smaller sibling - certainly isn’t a snip. All the same, until we know for sure, it’s going to be no comment in this category. Do be warned though that both these machines will need to come at an extra cost if you’re planning on using the mobile broadband network.

Conclusions

1st: SamTab 4G

2nd: Dell Streak


Each of these devices has a major Achilles' heel. They’re both decent in most areas but while the Dell Streak 7 has really quite a poor screen, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is never going to get blessed with the tablet nirvana that is Android 3.0. So, what would you prefer - a gadget with a lifeless window to the world or one with a dead end OS? For us, there’s little point in buying a tablet unless you’re doing it to consume content. So, it has to be the one with the better screen in our books and that’s the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4G. Until there’s a 7-inch tablet with as good a display that can run Honeycomb, then the original Android tablet and its 4G upgrade is still the place to be.

CES 2011 is now in full-swing, be sure to check out our dedicated CES homepage for all of the news as it breaks, as well as detailed analysis.



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