Review: Dell Streak 7 gel skin

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If you're looking for a silicone case for your Dell Streak 7, then I really hope you like purple because it seems to be the only color the $20 official gel skin comes in. It's the only one I've ever seen on T-Mobile's website and in stores, anyway.

I don't know why something more universally appealing like black, gray, or clear isn't available instead, but since purple is all that T-Mobile has, purple is what I had to get and what you'll have to look at it in this review.

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The case is packaged in hard plastic and a cardboard hanger that describes it as a "soft gel skin" with "no slip grip." A cut-out on the back lets customers who aren't turned off by the color feel the skin, which is soft and subtly textured. It has a fine-grain leather feel; it's not the super smooth rubber suit-like silicone that you want to pet or rub against your cheek.

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The material is of moderate thickness and has a slight give to it when stretched. It's stiff enough to be able to stand up straight when held in certain positions, yet flexible enough to make inserting/removing the Streak 7 a fast and simple process. And as you'll see in some of the pictures, lint, dust, and other debris will cling to it until purposefully wiped off.

The device slips into the skin with ease and is fully operable inside it. It fits perfectly and covers the tablet evenly on the front, which is something that I like and that none of the OtterBox cases do for the Streak 5.

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The power and volume buttons at the top are protected beneath slightly raised areas of the silicone, while the ports, cameras, speaker, sensors, and LED light are accessible/viewable through round-edged cutouts.

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The non-existent TV tuner antenna has a cutout too, which is a sloppy oversight on T-Mobile or Dell's part (not sure who to blame here). Third-party case manufacturers sometimes make mistakes like this, as they're often working with dummy products, but it's pretty inexcusable for whoever's in charge of designing and approving an official accessory. Shame on somebody.

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The Streak 7 already has a textured back that I would describe as "no slip," but the gel skin certainly gives your hands something grippier to hold on to. It also recesses the screen and rear camera so that the device can be set down without either one ever coming into direct contact with a hard or rough surface.

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While I admit that I thought the gel skin was rather hideous when I first saw it in its package, it looks better once it's "installed" and has almost grown on me during the past few weeks that I've been forcing myself to use it.

I prefer the Streak 7 (and all of my gadgets) to remain caseless when in use, but I liked being able to set it down anywhere without having to think about scratches. I didn't like having to wipe off whatever was stuck to the skin when I picked it up, though, and that unnecessary cutout for the TV tuner slot bugged me whenever I looked at it.

The official gel skin for the Dell Streak 7 is available in purple at T-Mobile for $19.99.

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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