Dell Venue Pro - First Impressions

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.

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • you saying the AMOLED on it is better then the S-AMOLED ont he focus??as for the power button ... Meh . ive turned my phone off 3 times in the past 7months. hahaall in all it does look nice , not a fan of the keybored ether but w/e ;)
  • Nope. I said they are real close in comparison. I'll do some video play back and gaming on the Venue Pro later today to see if that close comparison goes beyond the start screen.
  • oh you have the magical elusive .212 firmware, huh? lucky dogs. the rest of us are still waiting for it to come out. in the meantime, we can't use the wifi.
  • Hey, I ordered one of these too. Should be here today. How do I transfer all my stuff from my Quantum over to the DVP?
  • bunch of post int he forum but here it is1. Downlaod Zune to your PC . to sync vids and music2. when you enter you e-mail ( all your contacts saved in your e-mail will re-upload3. Manually re-download ALL your apps :( ( ref to zine to see witch one you payd for and what not )4. try to save contacs to SIm easyer too import from their.
  • You shouldn't need to re-download all of your apps, mine just magically come back. Not all of them, but most (especially games).
  • Thanks. I did see those methods and was just hoping there was a one shot easy transfer of everything like some other phone OS's (Blackberry).
  • Love my VP but the WiFi issue is maddening. Looking forward to firmware update. The power button does seem a bit difficult but you get used to it. My bigger problem with that part of the phone is how the slanted design at the top of the phone does not allow for the headphon jack to seat flush.I totally agree with what you say about the keyboard giving the phone a top-heavy feeling when in use but I got around that by bracing the phone with my index fingers as I type.This is my first smartphone. I believe I made a good choice but looking forward to seeing your full review.
  • Is the headphone jack still a tight fit? The main reason I'm getting this new phone is because my Quantum jack loosened and now music only plays out of one ear unless I hold it in and twist it just right. Also comes out all the time causing the music to stop.
  • Yes, it fits perfectly. But if the rubber casing that your headphones are attached to are a little large it can make it difficult for the headphones to seat properly.
  • I have the Mango beta on this phone and it's incredible I've never had the Wi-Fi issue alot of people say they've had matterfact the only issue i had at one point was the keyboard issue that would restart the phone when open or close but I believe that was fixed with a firmware...Other than that its been great!
  • Mango here as well. I had the MicroSD card issues that others have had which were fixed by swapping with identical brand/spec card. It has been flawless since. WiFi has been rock steady and I'm loving the Mango beta. Can hardly wait for the official build.My only remaining issue is the ability to connect to a hidden wireless SSID.Regarding the KB. Show me a slider phone that isn't a little bit awkward until you use it for a few days. The keys on this one feel good to me; nicely spaced, responsive and I don't have to stare at them as I type.
  • Very good first impression review George. I really dig that down to earth, technically honest type of review. Just enough tech to examine the device but not so much as to detract from the experience. Again, very nice 1000 foot aerial view of the Dell Venue Pro and I look forward to the review on the ground. Thanks.
  • Got my unlocked unit yesterday and love it. The only issue is that, even with the updated firmware, I cannot connect to a N-only network. I have a Linksys router and a Buffalo I am using as an AP for my N-only network. Unless I put the Buffalo into NG-mixed, the DVP gives that "cannot reach wifi network" error. I tried the same thing with the Linksys, switching it fom B/G Only to N-Only, same result.The unit also came half-charged, so I have had to run the battery completely down and recharge it to get a proper picture of battery life.It sure does run Mango nice though.I am considering swapping out the microSD for a 32GB. I know that'll void the warranty though. Anyone care to try to talk me into or out of doing that?
  • dvp doesn't have wireless-n. just b and g. i have no idea why they chose this route, but i think it was a bad decision, especially with the wireless sync option.
  • WOW. I didn't even notice that in the specs. That is kinda shocking.
  • What are your thoughts on getting this now vs. waiting for the new improved Mango phones coming out? The price is awfully tempting.
  • Unless something comes with a Front facing Camera I don't see anything better than this is an amazing phone I really love it...and best of all no Branding and Not too many people have it I always get asked "Danm what phone is tha?" if i were u i would wait to see if they announce something soon but again if it doesnt have a ffc then u might as well get this phone is truly great.
  • Thanks for the first impressions. It's a little sad to hear that the keyboard isn't so hot - that is the reason I'd go for this phone. I've also heard other people say its a little awkward, I didn't get that impression when I played with it in the store but that was only for a few minutes. I saw on some road map leak from you guys ( that Dell has another WP7 device coming - perhaps a slimmed down version of this phone?
  • Had it since December and I would advise to go with your first impression, the keyboard is fantastic. I guess George is just not used to it, it really is easy to type on.
  • There have been soooooo many quality issues with the Dell Venue Pro. Gorgeous phone but I wouldn't spend money on it, especially with updated hardware a month or two away.
  • I've had mine for about 5 months now. At first the WiFi/SD card conflict was pretty occasional but it got increasingly worse/more frequent. Now I leave WiFi off except occasionally on to download apps/games that require WiFi/PC connection.I got it for the keyboard, coming from a blackberry, but I love the software keys. It really is the beautiful screen that makes it such a joy to use.
  • On November 8th i bought a Dell Venue Pro. Even made a few reviews of it online. One of the main issues i had with it, was that ear speaker was very muddy/weak in comparison to the hd7 that I returned the DVP for. I felt like i had to press the phone into my ear. That didn't feel good since the ear speaker has a bezel that is rather sharp.
  • I ordered this the first day Dell ran the unlocked phone deal on Ebay. It was the WP7 I originally wanted, however ATT didn't have it at the time so I went with the Focus. The DVP is a beautiful piece of hardware. Solid construction, vertical keyboard and no branding on the front of the phone make this phone standout. Mine came with the .212 firmware and has worked very well during the short time that I have had it...good call quality, no wifi issues. In comparison to my Focus, I'd agree with George that the screen color is pretty close but not as good. The OS seems a bit smoother and quicker on the DVP and the speaker is better as well. That said, the DVP the camera and zune experience (with headset) are much better with the Focus. I can't get a decent picture w/ the DVP and I can barely hear anything when using the headset for music playback. These are both well documented on the forums. For me, the Focus is a better phone from a functionality standpoint. However, if you don't take a lot pictures or anticipate listening to music through the headset jack the DVP (w/ .212 firmware) is a real nice phone.
  • come on admins can you do a better job of keeping the spammers away? I am a mod on another site and this is really a blight on this otherwise great site.
  • are you guys really JUST doing your dell venue pro review now?
  • Dell/AT&T would not loan us a device for review and we weren't going to drop $500 for one.Dell's the only company to not give out review loaners, so blame them.Now that they're cheaper, we've used our own money to buy them for personal use, so instead of just keeping it to ourselves, we figured we'd share.
  • for those of you who use it on AT&T. What data plan are you using? I am using my Desire Z from Bell with the non-smartphone data plan, and i want to know if i switch to DVP, will At&t force the smartphone plan on me? Will i be able to keep my non-smartphone data plan with the unlocked DVP?
  • I just ogt mine from Dell which is unlocked. Previously i have Samsung Focus which is an excellent phone but switching from a BlackBerry I needed a keyboard.Everything is well so far except the pictures taken (like walking or things in little motion) are blurt or out of focus. Like if you take a picture of the traffic on a signal the pictures are out of focus.Video is perfect no problem with that. Static pictures are fine, This is very strange. I dont have this issue with my Focus.Second its draining battery very heavy on wifi. I know wiif drains battery but this is too fast.Is there any one else having same issues.