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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
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...

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The Venue 8 Pro screen comes with an IPS panel, which offers much better vision angles than a TN screen, which (unfortunately) remains the most widespread technology on most laptop computers.

This fact is even more important on a mobile device such as this tablet, as it's meant to be held in several positions with a single hand, furthermore under various light conditions such as daylight, like the photo below:

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - The hardware: display/screen, ambient light sensor, gyroscope...

This screen is, moreover, one of the brightest of the competition, with a brightness level between 352 and 377 lux (depending of the reviews), a value you'll have to compare against the competition: 204 lux for the Asus Transformer T100, 222 lux and 343 lux for Acer's Iconia W3-810 and W4-820, and 331 lux for the Toshiba Encore WT8. Only the Lenovo Miix 2 8" sports a better score, rated at 534 lux.

The contrast level being rated at 1467:1.

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - The hardware: display/screen, ambient light sensor, gyroscope...

To unleash the full potential of this screen, you'll however want to disable the automatic ambient light sensor from the Windows settings, to set it manually instead:

  • Open the Charms Bar by swiping your finger from the right side of the screen, then select Settings > Change PC Settings > PC and devices > Power and sleep > disable "Adjust my screen brightness automatically"
  • Be warned that setting your screen brightness at a high level will lead to shorter battery life.

With its 1280x800 pixel, 8-inch panel, giving a 16:10 ratio, this screen remains reasonably good for reading in most situations, without looking too much pixelated, unless you're watching it with a magnifying glass.

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - The hardware: display/screen, ambient light sensor, gyroscope...

Its 10-finger, capacitive touch panel allows you to trigger many different shortcuts with your hands, and responsiveness of this touch screen is more than satisfying.

It's not an excessively glossy screen either. It can even become matte with a specific screen protection, without losing any quality from the touch panel. Very good point here.

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - The hardware: display/screen, ambient light sensor, gyroscope...

This screen provides active stylus support layer, but not for all models: being manufactured by Synaptics, this touch screen will not work with a Wacom stylus, the most popular among all.

Which actually narrows your choice options on the Dell official stylus, exclusively (which suffered from severe bugs during the first months of availability, before March 2014), unless you choose to use a capacitive stylus, which performs worst.

Screen rotation/orientation will be adjusted automatically, depending of the angle you're holding the tablet with. You'll also notice that the screen orientation process is slower than iOS and Android, but, without being able to check this on other Windows 8 devices, I couldn't tell whether this phenomenon is common to all Windows tablets, or whether it only happens on the Dell Venue 8 Pro.

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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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