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Tuesday, April 12, 2011
 Dell Venue Pro memory self-upgrade    [L]

So nothing had really changed since my last article on the Dell Venue Pro - it still crashed and froze multiple times a day. I had hoped that the latest Windows Phone 7 OS update (NoDo) would perhaps make it more stable, but it actually made my phone even more crash-prone.

Dell (via @LionelAtDell) has been promising a firmware update "soon" that would address some issues, but I have long since lost all faith in their ability to deliver fixes in a timely manner. They've been promising fixes of some sort since after LAUNCH (Dec 2010) and they haven't delivered a single thing.

So it came time to take matters into my own hands.

It quickly became apparent that the micro sd card included with the 16gb model was the source of (or at least the major contributor of) the Venue Pro crashes. I knew it wasn't the OS, since I had previous had an HTC HD7 which operated flawlessly. I quickly noticed the issue on the Dell Venue Pro after transferring a couple GB of music, and thereafter while anything disk I/O related was happening.

It was also telling that those who had bought the 8GB model reported far less incidences of crashing and instability. So it looks like everybody who spent the extra $50 for the upgrade got nothing but troubles for their money.

I had even gone so far as to swap out my first phone for a replacement created a couple months later, and the same issues persisted. My last hope for an easy resolution was for the NoDo update, which Dell originally claimed would contain the necessary fixes, but those fixes failed to materialize.

I had had enough of waiting on Dell and their horrible customer service department, their inanities and impotent promises. What they should have done was A) verify their supplied 16gb cards were bad (easy) and B) offer to send a working replacement to affected users (again, easy). Instead they have offered no analysis, no mea culpa, no details, and no results.

I ran across an article by Matthew Miller of zdnet who had replaced his stock 16gb card with a 32gb card to good effect. I had also seen several forum posts where other users had similar success, so I figured it was time to try it myself.

I ordered a 32gb sandisk. Reviewers had reported getting both class 2 and class 4 cards, but it doesn't really matter in this case. To the contrary, WP7 devices have been known to have compatibility issues with the higher-class cards (above C6), due to the fact that higher-class cards may have higher throughput but often have lower random r/w speeds, which are more important.

At this point, I figured forget the warranty. Dell hasn't shown any capability to get me a working device so why do I need the warranty? So I followed the directions to replace the card, and sure enough it worked.

Immediately following the first bootup, over the next 3 hours, I
A) configured the phone and OS settings
B) set up all my accounts (2 Live, 1 exchange, 1 gmail, 1 facebook)
C) installed over 60 apps & games via WiFi
D) synced with my PC, copying 11 GB worth of pictures, videos, and music

And I had absolutely zero crashes and hangups. With the old card I never would have been able to do all that and not crash in 3 days, much less 3 hours. So the upgrade was pretty much an unmitigated success. I'm definitely pleased with the results, but moreso that I have a stable phone rather than increased storage.

Also, benchmark apps now report a healthy storage I/O speed of 3+ MB/s, whereas most people with the stock 16gb card reported a speed of less than 0.3 MB/s. My theory is the stock 16gb cards have a bunch of bad sectors, leading to corrupted data and slow r/w speeds.

So, the moral of this story is: Forget Dell (in the vein of Cee-Lo)

Their customer support is useless, their promises empty. I will never buy another product from them where I expect I may need their support. Thankfully, where they failed miserably the user community has stepped up admirably. I hope this post has been informative and helps out everybody else who's in the same situation.

Same here, man. In fact..that was my plan from day one after reading the zdnet article. I ordered an 8gb model and the sandisk card the same day. When the phone arrived a day or so before the card i just played around on it some and it was having lockup issues (4-5 per night on home wifi). Put the card in and haven't had an issue since. It's been an amazing device post-swap.

By Anonymous @greghillensbeck, at 5/31/2011 06:57:00 AM      

nice. just ordered a dell venue pro has really it was between that and the hd7 w/ t-mobile. if they haven't replaced those bad memory cards in the one i am getting, i will be doing the same.

By Blogger dizzy, at 7/18/2011 02:28:00 PM      

^^^ speak up ^^^