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Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - Conclusion, pros and cons - 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
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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The Dell Venue 8 Pro is part of a new generation of tablets, inaugurated by the Acer Iconia W3-810: the sub-10" Windows 8 tablet generation.

A new tablet generation which, for the first time, can provide a really usable Windows PC experience in your pocket, with totally fanless and unrestricted features experience, with an operating system made for both tablets and computers, not only one of them.

A tablet with an operating system which can't reach (yet) the very high battery life of the competing systems, but which offers the largest software library available, if you consider its "Windows computer" capabilities.

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - Conclusion, pros and cons

Because, if the Windows Store software library is still young - and lacking many applications you can find on the Apple Store or Google Play Store for Android - you should never forget that your tablet is running a full Windows 8.1 here, and not Windows RT - hence, the very same Windows you can have on any other PC.

Which allows you to install, along with the applications from the Windows Store, millions of applications made for Windows - the very same ones you can already install on other computers, either being games or specific business applications - but, also, any other USB device, even the most exotic one, provided it comes with its own power source and recent Windows drivers.

And if you consider, moreover, that there's some software like BlueStacks, which allows you to run Android software on a Windows PC, Windows 8.1 tablets like the Dell Venue 8 Pro don't really miss something compared to the competition.

Moreover, the Dell Venue 8 Pro has been made and designed like any other tablet: robust, nicely built and energy-efficient, able to follow you everywhere you'll go thanks to its small size - an ideal choice sitting between a compact 7" and an easier-to-use 10", its ability to wake up from sleep in less than a second and remain in connected standby during several days, to fulfill all your business needs while on-the-go, or any entertainment purposes while laying on your sofa.

Pros and cons

Pros

Cons

Dell Venue 8 Pro-specific points...

  • Excellent build quality
  • Very reasonable weight and size
  • Very good battery life (for a PC)...
  • Very bright and contrasted screen
  • Accurate touchscreen layer...
  • Surprisingly powerful speaker...
  • Active stylus/digitizer-enabled (hovering, palm detection...)
  • Standard ports (USB, jack, microSD)...
  • OTG (On-The-Go) USB port to connect any device...
  • HSPA+ connectivity (optional)
  • Many accessories available...
  • Nicely priced...
  • Weirdly-placed Windows button
  • Simplistic front design?
  • ...but less than Android/iOS tablets
  • Average photo/video cameras
  • ...except on the edges
  • ...but unfortunately mono!
  • ...but the Dell stylus needs improvement (buggy, fragile...)
  • ...but no micro-HDMI output (adapters required)
  • ...except while charging, and the cable isn't provided
  • Some annoying bugs (Wi-Fi)
  • ...but highly priced (official ones)
  • ...except for some options (64 GB)

Common with all Windows tablets...

  • A full-featured Windows PC fitting in your pocket...
  • With the same environment you already know (Desktop)...
  • Able to run any Windows software...
  • Powerful wireless display (Miracast) capabilities...
  • ...with the same maintenance requirements (anti-virus, drivers...)
  • ...with some elements being sometimes hard to select/tap
  • ...but the Windows Store lacks some apps from iOS/Android
  • ...provided you have the good adapter and drivers

This tablet represents the end of a several-year struggle, from Microsoft and manufacturers, towards the Windows experience on a touchscreen tablet.

An affordable product – starting at €269 or $299 for the 32 GB version, it will be a great contender in your wish-list if you're looking for a sub-10" tablet, without being afraid of being stuck on a system which only allows you to run applications from its own store (iOS, Android, Windows RT), on which you'll moreover be able to connect all your devices.

Of course, Dell could have done better on some points; notable hit-and-miss features include the lack of a micro-HDMI output, the inability to recharge the tablet while connecting a device on the USB port, the perfectible stylus technology, and some issues related to sleep or Wi-Fi connectivity.

In the meantime, let's hope that these issues will be corrected with a future revision of the tablet, or a future product from the competition.

Competing products which are also worth looking, but not perfect as well. Choosing the right one is up to you now!

The final note...

On a personal side, I'm very happy with this tablet, my first own one. A tablet I've been waiting for a long time, and it shows: the Dell Venue 8 Pro avoids all the compromises and limitations I had to face when using Android or iOS tablets at work.

The Dell Venue 8 Pro is a great companion device to go with my heavyweight laptop, with a limited financial impact.

A companion which already follows me everywhere, and will continue to do so as long as it'll prove to be reliable!

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