Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - Hardware design: the connectors - IT tutorials, reviews and articles
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Dell Venue 8 Pro full review (04-13-2014) - Page list
1. Introduction and buyer's background
2. Technical specifications
3. Build quality, design, dimensions
4. Software ergonomics: Introduction
5. Software ergonomics: Windows Modern UI (codenamed "Metro")
6. Software ergonomics: Windows Classical Desktop
7. Hardware design: physical buttons
8. Hardware design: the connectors
9. The hardware: display/screen, ambient light sensor, gyroscope...
10. The hardware: performance/CPU/RAM, responsiveness
11. The hardware: internal and external storage
12. The hardware: graphics and gaming
13. The hardware: Photo, video and audio
14. The hardware: wireless networking
15. The hardware: battery life and cooling
16. Extended features - Wireless video display on external monitor (Miracast)
17. Extended features - The active digitizer/stylus: description and design
18. Extended features - The active digitizer/stylus: technical review
19. Conclusion, pros and cons
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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
Build quality, design, dimensions
Software ergonomics: Introduction
Software ergonomics: Windows Modern UI (codenamed "Metro")
Software ergonomics: Windows Classical Desktop
Hardware design: physical buttons
Hardware design: the connectors
3 connectors are available on this tablet:
- 1 micro USB 2.0 port on the right, upper side of the tablet (when in Portrait mode) to recharge the battery or connect external devices using an OTG cable
- 1 micro SD(HC/XC) port to expand internal storage space, on the right side of the tablet, slightly lower, protected with a plastic cache
- 1 micro SIM port to access Internet without a Wi-Fi hotspot (optional), on the right side of the tablet, slightly lower, protected with a plastic cache
- 1 3.5 mm, combined stereo out/microphone in jack, on the top-right hand corner of the tablet
The USB port
The micro-USB 2.0 port seems well built at first, no weakness to exhibit towards build quality.
However, it'll have to be manipulated carefully, and you'll have to avoid filling it with heavy cables, because it's the only port of its kind and, moreover, the only way you have to recharge the tablet.
And here comes the first really annoyance of this tablet: lacking another USB port, separate power input or induction-charging technology, you'll not be able to use a USB device on this tablet while charging, unless relying on a combination of several cables and adapters.
It's even more frustrating if you consider that there was enough room on the other sides of the tablet to host several other connectors; that said, all other current 8 inch Bay Trail tablets suffer from this limitation, leading me to think that it may be a(n) (intended?) limitation of Intel's platform.
Other limitation worth mentioning: it seems that this tablet can't power a 2,5" HDD hosted in an external enclosure using this single USB port, the tablet being unable to fulfill the disk's power requirements with those from the enclosure, although it might work with a very low energy-consuming disk.
Of course, you'll not encounter this limitation with separately-powered and low-powered devices, such as USB flash drives.
I'll also mention the fact that Dell doesn't supply any OTG ("On The Go") cable out of the box, to connect a standard USB device on this port. You'll have to buy it separately.
The microSD port
Protected by a cache (shared with the micro-SIM port), this port can host a flash memory card in microSD, microSDHC or microSDXC formats to expand the internal memory's storage capacity. Dell indicates that this port supports up to 64 GB cards, but as long as the card remains compliant with the SDXC standard, higher capacities should work as well.
The card inserted into this port is automatically recognized as a separate drive under Windows, on which you'll then be able to install applications, but remember that a SD card is often much slower and prone to wear-and-tear, than the integrated eMMC flash memory used by the Venue 8 Pro.
You'll thus prefer to use this SD card port as a storage unit, to preserve the card's health.
The micro-SIM port
This port allows you to host a micro SIM card, same as the one you'd find on a smartphone, so that you can use your cellphone's data plan to access Internet in areas with no Wi-Fi coverage, just like you'd do with your smartphone.
This connector is optional, and it seems that Dell only offers it on the 64 GB models, not 32 GB. In France, the 64 GB HSPA+ option adds €90 to the initial price (€359 instead of €269). The price of the option may vary depending of your country.
Be warned that only micro SIM (3FF) format cards are supported by this HSPA+ connector. You'll not be able to fit a mini-SIM (2FF) card into this port without cutting it before, or nano-SIM (4FF) cards without adapter.
The jack connector
This connector allows you to use headphones or wired stereo speakers on your Dell Venue 8 Pro, when the integrated speaker's audio quality sounds too weak, or to save your neighbors' ears in public transports (and they'll thank you for that...)
It can also host, as an input connector, a microphone to record small stuff.
Being a combined jack for both input and output, you'll have to use an adapter, or a single-jack micro/headphones combo if you want to record and listen at the same time.
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