Reviewed by SirGibler (Currently owns)
The Dell Venue Pro is my third smartphone that I bounce SIM cards between (the other two, for the curious, are the HTC Inspire 4G, and Apple iPhone 4S). I bought the Venue Pro just as Mango was release rumors were warming up, and just out of curiosity checked the pricing on an unlocked, AT&T compatible Venue Pro. And, to my surprise, I found it to be reasonably priced at $300 new from Dell. I was primarily using an iPhone 4 at the time (my Inspire tends to be a play-toy for Android ROMs), so I was interested in living with Windows Phone 7.
The Venue Pro is a mixed bag when it comes to hardware. The curved Gorilla glass protects a beautiful AMOLED display that Windows Phone 7 really needs because of the often black backgrounds of Metro-inspired apps. My gripe with the glass is that it's a real oil magnet in comparison with my iPhone and I find myself constantly wiping the phone on my shirt. I'm also disappointed in the number of small scratches on the display only after using the phone sparingly. The portrait keyboard is great because WP7 is (for the most part) a portrait OS. A problem I have with the keyboard, however, is that the top part of the phone isn't quite level when the keyboard is closed. (photo: http://goo.gl/uePwG ) It might not look major, but you can definitely feel it. The camera isn't the greatest, but I wasn't expecting it to be that great. Slow shutter speed and poor white balance seem to be the root causes of the lackluster photographs. Here are some sample shots: http://goo.gl/iggJr http://goo.gl/EiLbN http://goo.gl/nTDdi http://goo.gl/UkU6q http://goo.gl/2eHl8
There are plenty of Mango reviews out there, and I'm sure you've read them. Mango is great and I could see myself using it daily; however, there's no way of getting around the fact that there is a lacking of great apps in the Marketplace. And even if the app you're looking for is in the Marketplace, it probably costs more than it would on another platform — Angry Birds is $2.99, for example. Luckily, this it's getting better everyday as developers are realizing that the dev. tools for Windows Phone are very similar to developing for Windows 8.
The Venue Pro is a great phone powered by great software; however, Dell and Microsoft can't keep expecting Windows Phone to take off without 3rd party developers. If you're looking for a Windows Phone with a keyboard I would recommend the Dell Venue Pro — not just because it's you're only real option — but because I think it's a great, reasonably cheap unlocked phone.
- Design 7
- Display 8
- Camera(s) 6
- Reception / call quality 8
- Performance 7
- Software 8
- Battery life 6
- Ecosystem 5