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DELL VENUE 8 PRO FULL REVIEW

A full 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet with active stylus for less than 14 ounces

By Maxime Abbey - First published on 04-13-2014 on Arachnosoft

Introduction and buyer's background
Technical specifications
Build quality, design, dimensions

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Unboxing and first thoughts

This tablet ships in a dual carton box, the external one protecting the inside from shocks during shipping.

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - Build quality, design, dimensions

The inside box contains:

  • the Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet
  • a micro-USB 2.0 cable
  • a 2-ampere AC adapter to charge though the USB port
  • a quick start guide
  • a disclaimer document regarding micro-SIM usage
  • the tab is wrapped up within a transparent plastic, protecting the screen and body shell from scratches during initial conditioning.
  • this plastic layer doesn't prevent using the tablet, either being with your fingers or stylus.

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - Build quality, design, dimensions

If you can live with the Dell logo and website URL on it, you can perfectly use the tablet with this protection at first, while waiting for a screen protector or cover, for example.

The tab can be powered on immediately after being unboxed, but its battery not being fully charged when leaving the factory, you must plug the AC adapter just after receiving it, to preserve battery's health.

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - Build quality, design, dimensions

The USB port needed to charge being covered by the plastic layer mentioned above, you'll have to remove it to connect the cable, or, if you choose to keep it temporarily, make a very gentle cut around the connector to access it.

Build quality, design

Once the plastic layer has been removed, you're ending with a very elegant tablet, with a nice build quality, even more if you consider its $299 price tag: everything seems well-built, the back isn't "crackling" or bending when you push on it, just like the screen.

The entirely-black, logo-free front side, leads to a very serious-looking and discrete product. So discrete, that you'll often find yourself holding the tablet in the wrong orientation, such as with the camera on the bottom while holding it in Portrait mode! Hopefully, this has absolutely no effect on the tablet's operation, as the display rotates automatically depending of the orientation you're using, except in Photo mode, of course.

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - Build quality, design, dimensions

The back is being covered with textured material, with very subtle circle shapes.

I own the black version of this tab; there's another red color available on other markets, which seems to carry the same shapes according to photos you can find on the Internet.

This cover material carries some good points; it's fingerprint-resistant, unlike many glossy black piano products from these last years, which are very prone to dust, fingerprints and scratches! Owners of the Asus Transformer T100 should agree on that point...

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - Build quality, design, dimensions

This material seems, moreover, quite scratch and shock-resistant, even if, obviously, it's likely to show some scratches and usage defects over time, if you're not particularly careful while handling it, or if you don't protect it with a smart cover.

The rubber-like, circle-shaped cover really help with holding the tablet, avoiding it being slippery in your hands.

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - Build quality, design, dimensions

This body shell, with rounded corners, feels warm in the hands, an opposite sensation to what you could experiment with an aluminum iPad, with its sharp edges, cold and smooth touch material, which prevent, in my opinion, any slippery-free sensation.

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - Build quality, design, dimensions

Dimensions

The Venue 8 Pro is 21.59 cm tall, 12.95 cm large and 0.89 cm thick (8.5 x 5.1 x 0.35 inches).

This shape leads to a very nice product for all those looking to an intermediate product to fill the gap between their cellphone and laptop computer, without having to swap either one for a larger-screen smartphone (phablet) or smaller laptop (ultraportable, ultrabook, netbook...).

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - Build quality, design, dimensions

That said, you should not expect fitting this tablet into all pockets! Unless wearing rather large clothes, it's still significantly larger than a 7-inch tablet like the Google Nexus 7, which is already too big to fit some pockets.

You'll usually prefer carrying this tablet into a suitable bag, just as 10" or lower netbook cases.

Its 396 g/13.97 oz weight, even without breaking the record set by an iPad Mini, leads to a very portable device, easy to hold with one single hand without strain. The difference with a 10-inch tablet is very noticeable.

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Software ergonomics: Introduction
Software ergonomics: Windows Modern UI (codenamed "Metro")
Software ergonomics: Windows Classical Desktop
Hardware design: physical buttons
Hardware design: the connectors
The hardware: display/screen, ambient light sensor, gyroscope...
The hardware: performance/CPU/RAM, responsiveness
The hardware: internal and external storage
The hardware: graphics and gaming
The hardware: Photo, video and audio
The hardware: wireless networking
The hardware: battery life and cooling
Extended features - Wireless video display on external monitor (Miracast)
Extended features - The active digitizer/stylus: description and design
Extended features - The active digitizer/stylus: technical review
Conclusion, pros and cons

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