Dell Streak Device: Easy to Fix but Battery Lacking: iFixit

The Dell Streak is a rather accommodating half-phone, half-tablet, said repair site iFixit, following a teardown. But while applauding how easy the battery is to replace, it also found it rather small.

Repair site iFixit set to work disemboweling a Dell Streak, a device it described as a "not-so-little half-tablet, half-phone" that "seriously piqued" its interest. Among its findings are an appreciation for how simple the Streak is to access-and so repair.

Perhaps not coincidentally, then, with the teardown of the Streak, iFixit also announced the introduction of a new rating system based on "the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of servicing" a device. The highest score is a 10, meaning the manufacturer did everything possible to enable simple repairs, while a 1, wrote iFixit, might go to the equivalent of a "car with the hood welded shut."

How did the Streak fare under this inaugural rating system?

"We are quite pleased with the Streak, awarding it an 8 out of 10," iFixit wrote in an Aug. 18 press statement. "Dell designed the device so that a mechanical engineering degree was not required for a successful disassembly. We were able to reverse engineer the assembly process within minutes."

Among iFixit's reported highlights of the teardown is that the front panel of the Streak is "solidly constructed," which the company expects will it enable it to withstand drops from waist height.

The battery is covered with a sheet of steel, not plastic, to decrease its overall thickness. And speaking of the battery, it's a 3.7V 1,530mAh. "The fact that Dell didn't publish the battery life hints at the fact that it isn't too great," reports iFixit. "What do you expect from a 5-inch display?"

Replacing said battery, however, takes less than a minute's time. Other positives include the Streak's cables using standard connectors and that opening the device requires "prying the bezels and removing five screws." More of a bummer is that "the rear panel feels cheap and deforms easily for a $600 device," wrote iFixit. Full-out "bad" was the decision to bond the Streak's LCD to the Gorilla Glass, which, were one to break just the glass, would up the cost of repair.

Also notable, iFixit found that the Streak's cameras-a 5-megapixel rear-facing and a VGA-quality front-facing camera-closely resemble those of the Apple iPhone 4. The Streak also includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, as well as an RF transceiver and power management chip from Qualcomm, and an integrated power management integrated circuit from Texas Instruments.

Since the Dell Streak's Aug. 12 debut, less has been said about its capabilities or how well it runs-unlike the Apple iPad, the Streak is also a proper phone and includes Google's Android operating system-than about its unusual size, whichin turn has called into question its higher-than-smartphone-but-lower-than-a-tablet price tag. With an AT&T two-year service contract, the Streak sells for $300, but free of monthly carrier payments it retails for $550.

Moving forward, however, analysts expect that the price will likely drop, and Dell has suggested that the Streak will hardly be its only play at the space.

In May, Dell spokesperson Tavis Butler told the BBC, "This is the first in a family of devices."