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Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - The hardware: battery life and cooling - 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
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...
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

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The Dell Venue 8 Pro comes with a non-removable, 2-cell Lithium-ion battery which has a capacity of 18 675 mWh (4830 mAh).

This capacity may appear rather weak compared to those you can find on laptop PCs (between 3 and 9 cells), but it's actually above the average capacity of most similar-sized tablets.

For comparison purposes, the Nexus 7 has a 4325 mAh battery (3950 on a 2013 version), the non-Retina iPad Mini has 4490 mAh, and a Galaxy Tab 8.0 has 4450 mAh.

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - The hardware: battery life and cooling

Dell announces 9.9 hours of battery life for the Venue 8 Pro.

This value needs to be proven in real-life use. You can actually get close to it, and even reach it, if you take care to set an appropriate screen brightness level, close unused applications, and disable unneeded sensors.

An average battery life value would be approximately 7 hours and a half, using the tablet continuously.

Battery life tests

HD videos playback

  • engadget measured 7h19m battery life with 50% brightness, compared with the 2013 Nexus 7 (7h15m) and the 2012 iPad Air (13h45m!);
  • Cnet, TrustedReviews and SlashGear got similar results;
  • ipro.co.uk measured 10h34m of continuous video playback; 2013 Nexus 7 reached 12h, and 2012 iPad Air reached 12h40m, with brightness level at 75% and disabled wireless networks.

Continuous Wi-Fi usage

  • laptopmag measured 8h18m in continuous Wi-Fi usage, compared to 10h33m in the same conditions for the 1st-gen iPad Mini;
  • NotebookCheck measured a battery life of 6h13m in continuous Wi-Fi usage, compared to 6h41m for the 2013 Nexus 7 and 12h (!) for the 1st-gen iPad Mini.

Mixed use

  • UMPCPortal reached an 8-hour battery life in mixed use with brightness set at 35%.

These values are rather high for a Windows device using such a little battery, moreover sold within this price range, although most iOS or Android tablets usually get better scores.

However, we need to highlight Intel's nice work on the Bay Trail platform, which is the first one in their product history to offer reasonable tablet battery life, compared to the previous generations of Windows tablets who were quite weak on this point.

Discharge rate

Discharge rate, in light usage, is 40 mW per minute (4 mW every 6 seconds). At these rates, the 18 675 mWh count of the brand-new battery would be theoretically empty after 466 minutes and 52 seconds, or 7 hours and 46 minutes, which sounds close to results you can find on other Internet reviews.

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - The hardware: battery life and cooling

In connected standby, the Venue 8 Pro eats about 1% battery every 4 hours; according to my own tests and calculations, the sleep/standby battery life of the Venue 8 Pro should be nearly 6 days.

Results which may sound correct at first, but which are actually lower than Android tablets, and even more lower than Apple's iOS tablets, who promotes a blasting 30-day (720 hours) standby battery life for the iPad line.

Some user feedback mentioned that their tablet was discharging faster when the active Dell stylus was located near the tablet.

I didn't experience this on my side; I always put the stylus in a separate pocket from the tablet itself, although both are not that far from each other.

Charging techniques

Charging can only be done through the only tablet's USB port, which prevents you from using USB devices while you're charging the tablet.

You'll also have to notice that you can't charge the tablet by plugging it on a computer's USB port, no matter being USB 2.0 and 3.0.

All other 8-inch Bay Trail tablets actually suffer from this exact same limitation; as a result, it may be a limitation of Intel's platform itself.

You can however buy some additional (and complex) wired solution, consisting of several adapters and cables, if you need to recharge the tablet while using a USB device.

This cabling, not really portable, should be thus dedicated to home usage only.

Charging times

The recharge rate, with an always-on screen set with maximum brightness, using Dell's bundled AC adapter (2 A), is 33% in 2 hours, and, as such, you'll need 6 hours to completely charge it. An amount of time which can be heavily reduced simply by turning the screen off (sleep) and disabling wireless network adapters.

Cooling

The Dell Venue 8 Pro, like most tablets on the market, does not use any active (fan) cooling system, and only relies on passive cooling.

In real usage, the tablet seems to handle heating properly, as you can only observe a small warm spot in the upper-right hand corner (behind the front camera), after rather intensive use (games), and it never reaches any critical level.

Which remains excellent, even more when compared to an aluminum tablet like the iPad, which immediately redirects any heat to the outside of the tablet... reaching your hands more than easily!

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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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