Today is a happy day(I’m so bi-polar), I just got my Venue Pro in the mail and have been playing with it for the better part of a day. Love how Fedex didn’t even ring the bell. Didn’t know my packaged had even arrived until I tracked it online and it said it was delivered. But no matter, I have my phone and the world is good again! So here are my impressions so far.
The phone is indeed heavy, but the initial weight shock has since subsided. It honestly didn’t feel that much heavier than my HD7 anymore. The second thing I noticed was the screen has a slight blue hue to it. This is especially visible when the screen is displaying white. It’s unfortunate, but I guess this is an issue with AMOLED screen in general. Saturation is amazing, maybe even a little oversaturated. Colors just pop compared to the HD7. Blues are bluer and reds are redder. The panel itself isn’t completely black as with the Focus, but since it’s OLED black produce zero light. I tested this with the lights off and indeed there is nothing emitted from the black areas. This is great for using the phone in the dark. While using the HD7 in a pitch black room(with the brightness on low) the light produced is still very harsh on the eyes. However, with the Venue Pro, I can have it set to high and still be manageable so long as the background is black. The screen is also noticeably less glossy than the HD7.
Build quality is amazing. I don’t think I can stress it enough. It feels like a tank compared to the HD7. It definitely has a premium feel to it. I would put it on par with the iPhone 4, if not slightly above it. The Venue Pro isn’t all that much larger than the HD7. Even with the keyboard, it’s maybe only 2-3mm thicker. Height is identical when you stand them up together and the Venue Pro is actually slimmer around the sides. The textured backing makes the phone easy to grip, as well as look nice. I love how the pattern continues on the back side of the screen. The metallic pattern really makes it stand out. It makes me almost wish the rear panel had the same metallic finish, until I realize that would make the phone way too flashy, and maybe even a little cheap. The subtle elegance of the phone is what’s great. The slider mechanism is stiff, yet easy to open. It provides the perfect amount of resistance. The volume keys are actually easier to press than those of the HD7’s, even though they are flush with the case. The only button that’s hard to press is the power button, but it likewise is better than the one found on the HD7. The curved glass making typing on the screen in portrait mode easier than on the HD7’s bigger screen. This is a minor plus, as you always have the physical qwerty right underneath.
The keyboard is what this phone is all about, and I’m sad to say I was slightly disappointed with it. This isn’t to say it’s bad, it’s not. I just wished the keys were a little more pronounced. Other than that it works without a hitch. I have only made 1 typo on the device and it was my fault not the keyboard’s. I love not having to double check all my words before shooting off an email or sms. When the keyboard is opened, there is a symbol in the status bar area that is enabled letting you know of any special key stokes, like shift, fn, etc. Inverted colors for fn/shift lock.
Sound quality from the speaker grill is leaps and bounds above the HD7. The HD7’s speakers have a very teeny sound to them. In contrast, the Venue Pro’s speakers are not only louder, but provide deeper sounds(without sacrificing the higher end when compared to the HD7). The HD7 managed to output the save volume of sound at 23 as the HD7 did at 30(the max setting), all the while still sounding better. I did notice some distortions on the Venue Pro when the sound was cranked up all the way though, but this was minimal. I was disappointed to discover that it’s not a stereo speaker as we had been lead to believe in videos from the Windows Phone launch, but the single speaker gets the job done quite nicely. The earpiece is also sufficiently loud. Much louder than the HD7 or the iPhone.
Camera quality was ok. I didn’t have the purple/pink hue issue I had with the HD7, but the phone doesn’t seem to do a good job focusing on object. It does finish focusing ridiculously fast, perhaps that’s the problem? I’m just speculating though. You can adjust the ISO setting to 100, 200, 400, 800 or leave it on “Auto/HUR”. There is also a large selection of resolutions to choose from including: VGA, SVGA, XGA, “FOUR_VGA”, UXGA, QXGA, and 5MP. It appears Dell has some additional problems to fix. The camera starts producing black bands in certain lighting conditions, you can see it in the picture to below. The bands were much darker and thicker in the view finder but diminished once the picture was taken.
On the accessories front, the included headphones are the most comfortable ones I’ve ever had included with a device, phone or dedicated mp3 player. They are in-ear canal ones so if you don’t like stuff in your ear then you’re out of luck, but they block out a good amount of noise, aren’t too big and have various sized fittings. There is also a built in mic with a answer/end call key. The AC adapter is nice, much smaller than the HTC one, which was already tiny to begin with.
All in all, the phone great. Is it perfect? No, but then what product is? It’s a great device so far. And I have no regrets buying it. I definitely recommend it over the HD7. Even if you don’t need the keyboard, the added bulk isn’t that much and you get a much higher quality device for your money. The difference between 4.1” and 4.3” is likewise not that big and the screen quality is just so much better on the Venue Pro. Did anyone else get their Venue Pro today? If so, tell us what you think of it so far in the comments. I will review the Otterbox case for the Venue Pro soon so stay tuned.
[Update] Since writing this post, I’ve suffered a freeze or two while using the phone. This is far from a deal breaker unless it continues to happen. I will keep you guys updated if the problem persists. I think this is by far the worse of bugs, yet I would not retract my decision in ranking this far above to the HD7.