Dell Streak 10 Pro tablet makes global debut in China, we go hands-on (update: video!)

There's a Chinese saying that will suit most of our Western readers here: "quenching thirst by gazing at plums." Oh yes, we're talking about Dell's Streak 10 Pro alright. Just as promised, said US company has skipped its home country to debut its first 10.1-inch Honeycomb tablet in China (ka-ching!), and we happened to be at the Beijing press event for some intimate hands-on time. To be honest, you won't be needing many imaginary plums for this Android's rather mundane specs: it's equipped with the oh-so-familiar 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 T20 chip, 1GB DDR2 RAM, 1,280 x 800 LCD (with Corning's Gorilla Glass), 5 megapixel camera and 2 megapixel camera back and front, and regular-size SDHC expansion. That said, Chinese buyers can grab this 16GB WiFi tablet plus 2GB of cloud storage for just ¥2,999 ($465) a pop -- a slightly more attractive price compared to its competitors. Check out our impressions after the break.

Update: Hands-on video added after the break.

Update 2: We've also done a comparison hands-on with our very own Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. You're welcome.

At first glance, the average Joe may not easily spot the Streak 10 Pro from a sea of 10-inch Android tablets, especially when they all share similar bezel widths. Flip to the back, though, and you'll recognize the lovely brushed aluminum design that's also featured on some of the latest Dell Latitude laptops. At 13mm thick and 727 grams heavy, this Streak is certainly no match to the likes of Galaxy Tab 10.1 and iPad 2 when it comes to portability, but hey, you get what you pay for. The same can be said about the display -- compared to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 we had with us, Dell's offering was slightly less vibrant, less fine, and had a narrower viewing angle, though none of these points are real deal-breakers.

In addition to the 40-pin dock connector at the bottom side of the tablet, Dell has thrown in a micro-USB port on the right for data transfer, while the former takes care of charging up the 24.1WH battery (that powers up to 12 hours of "typical work" usage) and dock expansion. Speaking of which, we were told that the tablet will soon receive compatible docking accessories, including a desktop dock and a multi-purpose dongle (with HDMI-out, micro-USB, and an extra 40-pin connector).

In terms of general build quality, the Streak 10 Pro doesn't disappoint. The combination of the thickness and the rubbery top trim provided a comfortable grip, and we certainly couldn't flex the device. As for the software, we had a fast-responding Honeycomb 3.1 system, though only time will tell whether this performance will sustain. While we're here, it's worth pointing out that the only UI customization Dell's implemented is Dell Divide, a work-centric homescreen alternative that can be toggled by double-tapping the home button. In this zone you're given a whole load of widgets and shortcuts for enterprise apps (namely contacts, email services, calendar, etc.), along with native support for ActiveSync services. Can't say we see how consumers would benefit from this feature, but perhaps this can be useful for system admins who need to set up corporate devices.

Going back to the regular interface, you get a total of five homescreens where you can also add in Dell's Stage widgets (pictures, weather, social networking sites, etc.). Sadly, due to limitations within China, you won't find Android Market nor Google Maps on the Chinese Streak 10 Pro, though these are replaced by local services, which is a necessary move for the tablet to penetrate the market. Besides, it's only a matter of time before someone figures out a way to bypass said limitation.

It will sure be interesting to see how well Dell's tablet will do in China, where the significantly more expensive iPad 2 is already available, and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 has yet to make its way there at some point next month. Given Dell's strong presence in the country, we have a feeling that it'll manage to convince many of its enterprise customers anyway, but the rest is up to Honeycomb.