Dell Venue Pro

The first and last Dell Windows Phone

Dell was one of the launch manufacturers for Windows Phone, back when it launched in 2010. The Venue 7 stood out compared to the other models thanks to its slide form factor which is reminiscent of the old Samsung slide phones of the era. A gentle push will reveal the phone’s keyboard, which looks similar to a standard PC keyboard in terms of layout.

Aside from that, it’s pretty much the same compared to other Windows Phone 7 handsets with its 5-megapixel camera, Qualcomm Snapdragon 1GHz processor with an Adreno 200 graphics core, and 16GB onboard storage. No micro-SD support so storage cannot be expanded.

This would be Dell’s last foray into the mobile market, Dell also had a few Android handsets like the Dell Streak and would produce a few tablet devices like the Dell Venue.

This handset originally ran the launch builds of Windows Phone 7 and was later upgraded to 7.8 which backported various Windows Phone 8 features.

Microsoft has slowly phased support for Windows Phone 7, with various services ceasing support. Bing no longer works, the app store has since been discontinued meaning you can no longer download and install applications for the device, limiting its capabilities as a smartphone. You’re pretty much limited to what comes with the device, which is very little in this case. The handset has pretty much become a basic feature phone with web browsing functionality but with Internet Explorer 9 the browsing is very limited with certain sites refusing to load due to how old the browser is and the lack of support for modern security protocols.

As someone who use Windows Phone from 2011 – 2017, it’s a sad state to see how this once fantastic but flawed mobile OS has been abandoned, kind of like seeing how deteriorated the Titanic wreck is.
Some things still work as of October 2022, like the search suggestions that appear when you type into the Internet Explorer search bar, and the Bing background wallpaper.

The games will certainly be missed as Microsoft actually put some effort into porting popular titles like Doodle Jump and Fruit Ninja, and also embraced new titles like Beards n Beaks and Wordament. All of these feature Xbox Live achievements and leaderboards which synced with your main Xbox profile.

There are very few applications that are preinstalled, which Windows OEMs could do so. Considering this is a Dell, I’m surprised there no McAfree security preinstalled. The only one I can see is a network operation settings app, that lets you set the correct internet and MMS configuration for your network provider.

Music & Video

The Zune software is used to transfer media from and to the phone and is required for this purpose. You cannot use MTP to transfer content as the phones file system is not exposed to the host in any form. Its a very similar approach to what Apple took with the iPhone, where iTunes was the only way to exchange media to the phone. (Although later ios released supported PTP for easier photo transfers)

The problem here is Zune is partially broken on later Windows 10 releases since the conversion function is nonfunctional. This was useful for when you had high quality MP3 files that you wanted to transfer to the phone Zune could transcode them to a lower quality, say 128Kbps, and copy them to the phone. The result is a smaller file size in a more efficient WMA format whilst maintaining some form of quality.

Using Windows 8, 7 or Vista is recommended if you wish to transcode your music through Zune.

This does make the phone a kickass music player, and back when if was functional Zune pass was revolutionary for the time as it allowed you to subscribe to stream music from their library, similar to Spotify or Deezer today.

Lastly the Zune software could also sync podcasts and applications/games downloaded from the Zune store. This functionality has since been removed and has not been replicated, making it impossibly to load apps from your PC onto the phone itself.

You at least get access to an FM radio, which lets you change the frequency by sliding your finger in the direction you want to scan. It can pick up station name indicators along with any supplementary information if broadcast by the station. You can also pin stations individually onto the start screen for quick access.

Conclusion

Well, it’s a shame to see that was once a smartphone has now been relegated to a feature phone, or even a dumb phone as compared to your typical Nokia or Sony Ericsson feature phone that has the ability to run third party Java programs, Windows Phone 7 now lacks this ability. Only merit it has is its Internet Explorer browser which is losing support by the day.

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