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printed September 22, 2014
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Review: Dell Aero

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's Touch  

Seeing the Dell Aero is like seeing a gorgeous person walk by. Looks great from the back; super slim and sleek from the sides; and then you get to the front where you find . . . nothing special. Just an ugly AT&T tattoo on the chin. Unlike most other tablet phones that give you anywhere from one button up front (on the iPhone) to a whole row of buttons (on other Android phones), the Dell Aero has no controls on the face. If there was not so much empty, glossy black plastic around the screen, and no AT&T planet logo flying below, it would be a cool look. But instead its a let down.

The phone is incredibly light. Even with the 1000 mAh battery, an adequate if not impressive power size, the phone feels lighter than any other phone I have on hand, from my feature phones through my slim tablet smartphones. This is the phone to slip into your skinny jeans. The glossy plastic picks up fingerprints like a CSI team, but a quick wipe down removes all evidence.

Instead of putting the navigation buttons on the face, Dell has interspersed them around the sides, so pay attention because there will be a quiz later. On the left side there is a power / screen lock button. It’s nearly flush with the phone and difficult to find by feel. Beneath that is the Home / Back button. Press it once to go back a screen. Press and hold for a few seconds, a bit too long, and it scrolls back to the first home screen panel. The Home button is raised a bit, with a nub on top, making it a bit easier to find. That makes sense, the Home button should be easier to find than the Lock button.

On the right side, you’ll find a nice volume rocker up top. Just beneath is the “Option” button, what every other Android manufacturer calls the Menu button. It has a nub similar to the Home button, and these two are in the same spot on opposite sides of the phone. Near the bottom right is a good, two-stage camera button.

There’s a miniUSB port on the left side beneath a port cover. Most phones have moved onto microUSB these days, but a miniUSB cable still should not be hard to find. The phone does not include a standard headphone jack. That’s an unfortunate omission on an Android phone, though at least AT&T bundles a comfortable set of headphones with a mic, and these use the miniUSB port. There is also a headphone adapter so you can use your own standard set of earbuds.

The microSD slot is located under the battery cover. The cover can be difficult to pry away, but the microSD slot is not blocked by the battery, so you can swap your cards without turning off the phone.

 

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