Advertisement
Advertisement

Dell Venue 8 Pro review

Richard Easton
4 Aug 2014
Dell Venue Pro 8
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
249

An attractive slim design and good performance from this Windows tablet

Advertisement

Specifications

Processor: quad-core 1.3GHz Intel Atom Z3740D, Screen size: 8in, Screen resolution: 1,280x800, Rear camera: 5 megapixels, Storage: 32GB, Wireless data: No, Size: 216x130x9mm, Weight: 395g, Operating system: Windows 8.1

The Dell Venue 8 Pro is surprisingly attractive for a tablet that could feel as at home in the boardroom as it could on the sofa. Its design means it could easily be mistaken for the Google Nexus 7, until you realise it’s running Windows 8.1. This means you have access to all the applications available for a normal Windows desktop PC or laptop, making the Venue 8 Pro seriously versatile. 

You might find that not all desktop applications will comfortably make the transition to a smaller 8in screen, however. The display has a 1,280x800 resolution, which is lower than the standard 1,366x768 on most laptops. 

Dell Venue 8 Pro straight

Navigating the Windows 8 Desktop can be a bit tricky on a screen this size, but you can always adjust Windows' scaling to make them larger. We found 125% was a happy compromise between size and screen space, and led to fewer misplaced taps. From a launching programs point of view, you're better off using the Windows 8 Start interface's tiles, however. 

The screen showed impressive contrast of 1,302:1 in our tests, but we weren't happy with the image quality. The screen has a significant amount of visible grain, and the screen suffers from a green colour cast. It's certainly not as pleasant to use as the Lenovo Miix 2 8.

The tablet is equipped with a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera that will be handy for Skype. A quick swipe-down gesture from the Windows 8 lock screen brings you straight to the camera, which is useful. We found the camera performed surprisingly well given good lighting conditions. On a bright summer’s day it captured plenty of detail from the shadows to the highlights, and exhibited sharp images in our outdoor test shots. However, in low-light conditions the camera struggled, providing soft images with a lot of grain. There’s no built-in flash to help, either. 

When holding the tablet in landscape mode you’ll find the power and volume rocker on the top, flanked by a Micro USB charging port and a microSD card reader. Dell has moved the Windows button to the left-hand edge of the tablet, which is different from most other Windows tablets with their capacitive buttons below the screen. 

The tablet is heavy for a sub-10in tablet, at 395g, but the soft-touch plastic on the back with its circular ridged patterning, makes it easy to hold. Our review system was supplied with the optional folio case (£22, www.dell.co.uk) and there’s also an optional wireless keyboard available (£42, www.dell.co.uk). These both help in making the Venue 8 Pro a viable option for working on the move. 

The folio case we tested has non-slip rubber feet, meaning you can prop the tablet up at any angle, which makes it easy to find a viewing position to suit you. It also does a decent job of protecting the front and back of the tablet, but the case doesn’t make the tablet go to sleep automatically when you close it. The combination of this case and the Venue Pro 8 screen's wide viewing angles make it easy to view the screen without having images spoilt by colour shift. 

The Venue 8 Pro is powered by a quad-core 1.3GHz Intel Atom Z3740D processor that can boost up to 1.8GHz when under more intensive load. The tablet also has 2GB of RAM and a 32GB SSD. This equates to 23.2GB of actual usable storage after formatting and much of this is already used for Windows 8.1, leaving you with only around 10GB of storage. Thankfully there’s a microSD slot that supports up to 64GB to expand the storage space further.

Windows 8.1 felt responsive on the Venue 8 Pro, both in the Desktop and the Start interface. Browsing the web was also quick, with pages rendering swiftly. The tablet completed the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark in 410.2ms with the default Internet Explorer browser, which is one of the fastest scores we’ve seen from a tablet. As we expected, web browsing was exceptionally smooth. In our regular PC benchmarks, testing image editing, video transcoding and multitasking, the Venue 8 Pro only managed an overall score of 14, so you shouldn’t expect much performance from more intensive desktop applications. 

The tablet did well in our 3DMark graphics tests, too, managing 11,882 in 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited and 8,807 in Ice Storm Extreme. While the number of tablet-oriented gaming apps on the Windows Store doesn’t quite rival iOS or Android, a few big names have been ported, such as FIFA 14 and Asphalt 8, and the Venue Pro 8 was able to play these smoothly.

The Dell Venue 8 is a good-looking tablet which feels very well made, and has the advantage of the full version of Windows 8.1, so you have access to thousands of Windows applications. However, we're not happy with its screen; if you're after a Windows 8.1 tablet, the Lenovo Miix 2 8 tablet has a better panel and is significantly cheaper. 

Hardware
Processorquad-core 1.3GHz Intel Atom Z3740D
RAM2GB
Screen size8in
Screen resolution1,280x800
Screen typeIPS
Front camera1.2 megapixels
Rear camera5 megapixels
FlashNo
GPSYes
CompassYes
Storage32GB
Memory card slot (supplied)MicroSD
Wi-Fi802.11n
Bluetooth4
NFCNo
Wireless dataNo
Size216x130x9mm
Weight395g
Features
Operating systemWindows 8.1
Battery size4830mAh
Buying information
Warrantyone-year collect & return
Price from£249
Supplierwww.dell.co.uk
Detailswww.dell.co.uk
Part codeVenue 8 Pro

Read more

Reviews