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
Installing a SSD (Solid-State Drive) in an IBM ThinkPad X31 (or any older computer providing only IDE ports) (05-19-2013)
Definition of software programming and development (12-04-2000)
The freeware concepts (12-04-2000)
The joy of emulation (12-04-2000)
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
The Dell Venue 8 Pro comes with a Synaptics stylus-enabled touchscreen technology.
This technology enabled to use an "active" stylus with this tablet, which you can purchase separately from Dell.
Stylus technologies: active vs. capacitive
An "active" stylus (or "digitizer"), compared to a standard stylus known as "capacitive", sports some embedded electronics, so the tablet can detect it properly and react accordingly.
The capacitive stylus
A capacitive stylus does not integrate any electronics, and, thus, is nothing more than a bare "pencil" with a specific tip, simulating your finger's electrical conduction process, so they can work with touchscreens also known as "capacitive" (like all those from smartphones and tablets released these last years).
With this kind of stylus, you'll thus not be able to execute other actions than those you'd usually trigger with your finger, except for added precision (the stylus' tip being thinner than your fingers, it can help you selecting very small elements from screen, like those from the Windows 8 Classic Desktop, on the small Venue 8 Pro 8" screen).
The active stylus ("digitizer")
Unlike a capacitive stylus, an "active" stylus, thanks to its embedded electronics, helps you triggering much more actions and behaviors (many of them being impossible to achieve with your finger alone):
- simulate the mouse hovering on an element(touchscreen's hovering detection);
- detect different pressure levels: when drawing or handwriting, higher will be the pressure on the screen, thicker will be the drawn line, just like a real pencil on a real paper;
- enable the tablet to detect your palm's position on the screen (e.g. when drawing) and prevent it from accidentally triggering on-screen elements (windows, buttons) with this palm;
- an active stylus can also feature physical buttons, allowing you to trigger some additional actions (like simulating an eraser on drawing software to clear previously drawn lines).
Dell active stylus features
The active stylus designed by Dell for the Venue 8 Pro comes with 256-level pressure detection, dual customizable button, palm detection/rejection and screen hovering, and requires an AAAA battery (LR-61) to work.
The Synaptics technology used on the Dell tablet being different from those used by competing manufacturers (such as Wacom), you'll NOT be able to use other stylus than the one provided by Dell for the Venue 8 Pro. Another manufacturer/technology choice would have been interesting to benefit from better features: more pressure levels, better precision, battery-free design...
Stylus aesthetics and design
The Dell stylus sports an appealing, discrete design, closer to a real pen, and doesn't look like an electronic gadget. It's feeling nice in hands, not too thin or too thick, and the battery's weight is barely noticeable.
However, its lightweight plastic body makes it rather fragile (you'll have to be careful and avoid tramping or sitting on it...) and slippery (a grip would have been perfect).