Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - The hardware: Photo, video and audio - IT tutorials, reviews and articles
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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
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
Like most smartphones nowadays, the Dell Venue 8 Pro offers two cameras: a front 1.2 megapixel camera for your videoconferencing needs, and a rear 5 megapixel camera.
Like stated on the user's manual, the rear camera comes with an autofocus, which is actually rather fast.
The Photo application of Windows 8.1 is quite responsive and provides a preview of the photo you just took, as soon as you tap on the shutter. I should also mention that the preview function renders quite fast on screen, and seems above average in my opinion, especially in low light conditions: moving the device in a very dark room does not always lead to such smooth results on numerous cameras.
Both camera sensors support HD 720p video capture (1280x720 pixel resolution).
Daylight photo comparative tests
To measure the photo quality of the two Venue 8 Pro cameras, I asked Mr. "Screen cleaner plush duck" from Pearl, to participate in the photo shooting.
I shoot my old pal with the two tablet cameras first, and did the same operation once again with my smartphone, a Sony Xperia Pro, mid-range smartphone released in 2011, which came with a 8-megapixel rear camera, on which I disabled the flash.
Dell Venue 8 Pro
Sony Xperia Pro
On these photo series, you'll find that the Venue 8 Pro's rear camera produces more noise than the Sony Xperia Pro, which was, granted, better than the average competition at its time, but already nearly 3 years old.
Colors also look more natural on photos from this phone, than on those from the Dell tablet, which deliver shots looking rather "bland" and "washed".
When comparing the front cameras of the two devices, however, the Dell Venue 8 Pro offer much better results than the Sony Xperia Pro. While most smartphone front cameras are usually below average, Dell made some efforts to avoid this by choosing an above-average front camera, which should deliver reasonable results when used for HD videoconferencing, rather than shooting photos.
Low light photo comparative tests
There's no flash on any of the two cameras of the Venue 8 Pro. As a result, taking photos in low light, dark rooms will often be difficult.
Here are, this time, some photos taken during the evening, in a room powered with an artificial light source, with the rear cameras from each test device.
Dell Venue 8 Pro
Sony Xperia Pro
In low light conditions, the Dell Venue 8 Pro seems to be out of luck; to reduce noise, the tablet applies some visible processing on all the shots, which thus look slightly blurry. In the same situation, the Sony Xperia Pro renders a much better result, with better-defined photos, and a much better noise management.
If we had the choice, there's no doubt we would have preferred to get the photos without this automated blurry filtering, and eventually apply such a filter from some photo-editing software afterwards.
But with good lighting conditions, both cameras from the Dell Venue 8 Pro should perform correctly for most basic needs.
The sound output from this tablet comes from a small mono speaker located on the bottom side of the tablet (when looking in Portrait mode). This one sounds surprisingly loud for its tiny size, and if you'll obviously not fill a large room with its sound, it should be more than handy to watch videos, without any distortion, even at high levels. A very good surprise here!
The only problem being, in my opinion, the fact that this speaker is the only one provided on the tablet. When used in Landscape mode, you'll clearly notice than the sound comes from a single side of the tablet, which can be rather disturbing for your listening comfort. This fact does not really apply when the tablet is used in Portrait mode.
To make it clear, a second speaker of the same quality on the upper side of the tablet would have been perfect to get a good sound stereo image.
Hopefully, the headphones output from this tablet does not lead to any criticism. The rendering of the sound is very clean, without any noisy interferences. Tested with two Sennheiser HD-25-1-II and BeyerDynamic DT700 headphones, the tablet provides enough electrical supply to power them correctly and get a good listening volume level.
Of course, being a tablet with an integrated audio chipset, its capabilities will sound rather limited if you plan to use this tablet for audio production purposes (with a DAW), requiring ASIO drivers, or working with VST(i) plug-ins and other elements requiring a dedicated soundcard with minimum latency.
If you need so, your only available option will be to get a USB soundcard, and, most important, a model which can be powered with its own electrical supply, the Dell Venue 8 Pro being likely to fail at powering such devices.
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