The Venue Pro has a bit more heft than some of the other WP7 devices launching today, but it's not overly bulky. It just feels solid, durable. Likewise the portrait slider keyboard: good spacing on keys, a sliding mechanism that seemed capable of enduring an extended SMS barrage. The 4.1-inch multitouch AMOLED screen is bright, crisp, and responsive. I can't wait to see how pics from the 5MP camera look on it. One quibble: the phone's already so long that the added hight from sliding out the keyboard vertically makes it look and feel a little gawky and off-balance. But it otherwise seems, so far, like a warhorse.
It's a promising start for Microsoft, and a pretty clear indicator that their strict guidelines for hardware partners is paying off. It's also a fresh start for Dell, who between the Venue Pro and the rumored Thunder Android phone are going to quickly make Aero a distant memory.