With Dell offering the Venue Pro for $299.99 out of contract, it was a Windows Phone deal too hard to pass on. So, we ordered one (actually two). Over the next few days we'll put it through the ringer and give you our thoughts on Dell's Windows Phone but as far as first impressions goes, the Venue Pro isn't too shabby.

The Venue Pro has two standout features; the 4.1" AMOLED screen and bottom slide-out keyboard. The screen looks really good. It's bright, full of contrast and has a bit of a pop to it. Compared to the Super AMOLED screen of the Samsung Focus and SVGA screen of the HTC HD7S, the Venue Pro holds its own.

The fit and feel of the phone is comfortable in the hand. The jury is still out on the power button though. It's tiny and sits back on the top of the phone. Not the easiest to access and might have been better off on the side of the phone. The Venue Pro has a solid feel about it but does feel a little awkward when you extend the keyboard. Maybe a little top heavy. Speaking of which, the keyboard reminds me of the front facing keyboards we saw on Windows Mobile phones such as the Samsung Jack. It'll do but after handling the Venue Pro for a short time, I'm beginning to wonder if Dell would have been better off by scrapping the keyboard and opting for a thinner phone.

As far as software is concerned, the Venue Pro is running the current version of Windows Phone 7 with copy/paste and Firmware version 2.12.  For the record, the OS version is 7.0.7392.0 and the firmware version is 2250.1800.7392.212.

I've been spoiled by the thinner Windows Phones so the thicker Venue Pro will take some getting used to but all in all, the Venue Pro makes a nice first impression.  We'll charge the Venue Pro up, slap in the SIM card, take it out for a test drive to see how well that impression lasts. 

We will get a full review and a few additional posts up on the site in the coming days. If there's anything in particular you would like us to look at, feel free to ask in the comments or use the contact page.