The Dell Venue Pro represents all that's good and all that's bad with Windows Phone 7. On one hand you have a phone with a different form factor (one that incorporates a large touchscreen with a full-fledged QWERTY keyboard) that makes good use of a standardized OS that looks good and works well. However, on the other hand, the term "smartphoneOS" feels a little too heavy for Windows Phone 7- it feels oversimplified in areas where functionality is curbed thanks to an absence of options that go beyond the absolutely basic ones.
If you are used to Android where almost every app has a context sensitive menu, the absence of fleshed out menus in the Windows Phone UI may feel frustrating.
It's still clear though that the Venue Pro is a quality device but one that has to contend with some issues.
The Dell Venue Pro is a Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) powered handset with a 4.1-inch capacitive touchscreen and a slide-out four-row QWERTY keyboard. The display features AMOLED technology and has a resolution of 480x800 pixels and is made of scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass. The Dell comes in 8GB and 16GB variants which is essentially storage space being provided by a microSD card (in the case of my review unit- a Sandisk 8GB card). The strange part is that the microSD slot is covered by a sticker, removing which will void your warranty. For all intents and purposes, the Venue Pro supports external memory but swapping cards will be at the risk of losing warranty cover.
The Dell is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm Scorpion Processor and an Adreno 200GPU along with 512MB of RAM. It supports Wi-Fi, GPS and 3G (HSDPA-7.2Mbps, HSUPA- 5.76Mbps) and uses a microUSB port to charge and connect to the PC. A 5MP autofocus camera with an LED flash resides on the camera's back. The camera can also record 720p videos.
Windows Phone 7.5 adds a bunch of extra features to the ones we saw in the original version on devices such as the HTC HD7. The update adds cut/copy/paste functionality to the OS and also allows for multi-tasking so that you can jump between apps that are running simultaneously in the background. The update also improves on social network integration, browsing, location search etc. but overall, the OS still feels very much like the original version.
The phone uses Windows Marketplace for apps and has many decent quality paid and free apps available to download. While this app store may not be as large as the one that Android or iOS offers, it looks to be growing. You can also download games from the Xbox Live store and can connect your Xbox Live Profile so that you and your friends can view your achievements and game library anywhere. A neat addition is that you can download a trial version of any game before deciding to pay for it.
An excellent pre-installed app is the Office Mobile suite, probably one of the best mobile office suites that I've used. Not only does the suite allow you to create documents but also ensures that you have no compatibility issues with the MS Office Suite on the PC.