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Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - Hardware design: physical buttons - IT tutorials, reviews and articles


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
Software ergonomics: Introduction
Software ergonomics: Windows Modern UI (codenamed "Metro")
Software ergonomics: Windows Classical Desktop
Hardware design: physical buttons

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The Dell Venue 8 Pro comes with 4 physical buttons on its sides:

  • 1 Windows button on the top-right hand corner of the tablet (above the front camera)
  • 1 Power On/Off button on the right, upper side of the tablet (just below the USB connector)
  • 1 dual Volume + / Volume – under the Power On/Off button

The Power On/Off button

This button works just like any other you'd find on a PC, and allows to power on the tablet, enter in or wake it up from sleep mode, and power it off completely in case it'd be stuck, by pressing the button during a longer time.

Just like on a classical PC, you can adjust the behavior of all actions associated with this button, from the BIOS or Windows power settings.

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - Hardware design: physical buttons

The Volume - / Volume + button

This dual button allows you to raise up or lower the output volume from the integrated speaker or jack output.

Just like a PC, or any other Android, Windows or iOS tablet, these buttons can be reassigned to do other tasks by some applications.

A frequently used shortcut would be, for example, Windows + Volume Down, which triggers the screenshot function.

The Windows button, and its unpopular location

Unlike most other tablets, Dell made the decision to relocate the Windows button (giving access to the identical-named menu) on a tablet side, and not on the front side, under the screen, where you'd usually expect it.

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - Hardware design: physical buttons

This choice, rather disturbing at first, wins points when it comes to avoid accidental triggers when holding the tablet through the sides; the (logical) side-effect being that it'll be more difficult to find and trigger it instinctively, even more if you're already used to another tablet.

More than its side position, which I find rather good to avoid unwanted triggers, I'd rather criticize its location near the headphones jack; it'll be even more difficult to reach when headphones will be plugged in. Moreover, it leads to confusion with the other physical buttons group located nearby (the Power On/Off button, not to mention it), even more when you're still learning how to use this tablet, although all buttons aren't located on the same side.

I'd have preferred to find this button on any other three remaining sides, which don't carry any other connector and sensor willing to interfere with it.

That said, this sounds like a minor drawback to me, and should not lead you to buy another tablet just for this reason.

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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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