Dell Venue 8 Pro – Unboxing and first impression of the 8-inch Windows tablet
Dell's first 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet hits the market
With Windows 8.1 unleashed by Microsoft a couple of weeks ago, it’s about time we started seeing some new hardware. One of the big new areas for Microsoft is in the 8-inch tablet range, where Apple and Android have been fighting it out for some time now.
Sure, Microsoft had the Acer W3 but with its craptacular display, they needed some more finesse from their other OEMs.
Enter Dell with their recently announced Venue 8 Pro tablet. Running full Windows 8.1 with an Atom processor, we have to wonder if the device has what it takes. Head past the break to see our unboxing video and first impressions!
Dell Venue 8 Pro - $299/$350
- Windows 8.1 (32-bit)
- 8” IPS HD touch display (1280x800)
- Intel Atom Quad-Core processor (Z3740D); 2MB cache, up to 1.8 GHz
- 2 GB of RAM
- 32 GB of internal storage (64 GB optional); microSD expansion
- 802.11n Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.0
- Office Home and Student 2013 Tablet Edition
- Integrated Intel HD graphics
- 5 MP rear camera; 1.2 MP front facing camera
- 18WHr battery (Rated for 10 hours)
- Thickness – 0.35” (9mm)
- Weight: 0.87 lbs (395g)
On paper, the specs are respectable and in real life, they seem to hold up. Windows 8.1, built for smaller devices and optimized for Atom processors, handles just fine in our initial tests. The Quad-Core Atom processor should give an edge in performance over the Acer W3 and other early Windows 8 tablets, which only had a Dual-Core.
The feel of the device is solid. It’s not too heavy, relatively thin and easy to handle in one hand. Interestingly, 8-inch tablets and Windows 8.1 lends itself to using it in portrait mode rather than landscape.
The real story here though is regards to the display, which is quite fantastic. As others have pointed out, you’ll want to disable the auto-brightness in Settings, otherwise it will seem too dim. Once manual control is empowered, the display is a real charmer. Great viewing angles, bright and suitable color rendition. It’s night and day between it and the W3.
The rear camera gets filed under “okay” as it will get the job done. It's muddy, not too sharp and the colors are bland. Same with the front facing camera. The Surface 2 is much better here, but we’re not expecting too much for such a small device anyway.
The one speaker seems to crank with little distortion. While not stereo, it should suffice for most uses on the Venue 8.
Oddly placed Windows key
The one complaint we have is that there is no front facing Windows key. Instead, there is one at the top of the device, similar to a power button. It’s awkward to use and you’ll find yourself using the Charms Windows key more often to navigate back to the Start menu. We’re not sure why Dell could not have put either a physical or capacitive key on the front bezel. It’s strange, but not a deal killer.
The device comes with an optional digitizer pen (not Wacom), though ours hasn’t showed up just yet to evaluate.
An excellent IPS display
For $299, we’re quite impressed with the Dell Venue 8 Pro. It’s priced right, feels great in the hand and the display is top notch. Will Lenovo best Dell? It’s hard to say but so far, we like what we see here.
The Dell Venue 8 Pro is now available direct from Dell (opens in new tab) for$299. A 64 GB version is also available for $50 more.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.
2. Nokia 2520 is about 11", not 8".
3. Both iOS and Android have high PPI small tablet. Windows deserves less, just like we have so many 1366*768 laptops. It's a shame that PC OEMs started copying Apple to make high-res laptops. Let's avoid the same mistake in tablet market. /sarcasm/
This. It was very awkward on my surface rt, and now my pro 2, for portrait. I mean I usually use landscape, but portrait stinks on 16:9.
It got three out of five from me (size, price and full Windows 8.1), missing on keyboard and (performance), well I need to see it run programs I use to see how it performs.
10/25/2013 11:45:09PM briz: "Does this tablet at the $299 price point include the stylus pen?"
10/25/2013 11:45:20PM briz: "how much extra is it if not included?"
10/25/2013 11:45:34PM briz: "what about the cost of the keyboard?"
10/25/2013 11:45:50PM briz: "Does this tablet support GPS?"
10/25/2013 11:46:17PM Agent (Venice N): "That's a lot.. :)"
10/25/2013 11:46:43PM briz: "yes I'm sorry"
10/25/2013 11:47:38PM Agent (Venice N): "For the first question, actually we do not have a this tablet with a mobile broadband feature yet, this can only be connected to a wifi network, but most likely for the ones that will be released, it should work with any wireless carrier"
10/25/2013 11:49:29PM Agent (Venice N): "$299.99 does not include a stylus pen yet but you can add one for an additional $34.99"
10/25/2013 11:50:06PM Agent (Venice N): "Keyboard is $59.99 :)"
10/25/2013 11:51:28PM Agent (Venice N): "The case is $39.99 but you can get the package with the case + stylus for $369.99"
10/25/2013 11:52:00PM Agent (Venice N): "If you really want the mobile broad option, we would need to wait for the other models to be released.. :)"
10/25/2013 11:52:28PM briz: "ok and what about the GPS support?"
10/25/2013 11:52:42PM briz: "or NFC?"
10/25/2013 11:55:31PM Agent (Venice N): "It supports GPS, still checking for NFC"
10/25/2013 11:57:00PM Agent (Venice N): "$369.99 is a package with the cover and pen, and you're correct, an additional $50 for the 64GB version"
10/25/2013 11:57:35PM Agent (Venice N): "also, it has an NFC feature as well.. :)"
10/26/2013 12:02:31AM briz: "can you tell me the exact total? and last can you tell me if any other colors are available like red?"
10/26/2013 12:17:22AM Agent (Venice N): "here is the prichave here.. Subtotal # $472.18
Taxtotal # $29.95
Shippingcharges # $0.00
TotalPrice # $502.13"
10/26/2013 12:24:37AM briz: "I'm sorry, but I have another question"
10/26/2013 12:24:50AM briz: "how does the keyboard have power?"
10/26/2013 12:31:17AM Agent (Venice N): "this is connected via bluetooth and is powered by a AAA battery"
10/26/2013 12:33:55AM briz: "ok last question. Around when will the broadband feature come around and could it be that it never becomes available?"
10/26/2013 12:34:26AM Agent (Venice N): "I'm afraid we do not have any updates on when that would be released"
10/26/2013 12:34:59AM briz: "but one will come be released?"
10/26/2013 12:35:21AM Agent (Venice N): "Yes because that feature was announced on the press release