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Dell Venue Pro 11 review

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  • Recommended by TR

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Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11
  • Dell Venue Pro 11

Summary

Our Score:

9

Pros

  • Great build quality
  • Versatile design
  • Decent processor
  • Good range of accessories
  • Dual battery option

Cons

  • Surface Pro is faster
  • Screen not as bright as rivals
  • Heavy and thick
  • Slow SSD write speed

Key Features

  • 8in, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS touchscreen
  • 772g
  • 13mm thick
  • 1.5GHz Intel Core i5 processor
  • 4GB memory
  • 128GB SSD
  • Removable battery
  • Windows 8.1 64-bit
  • 1yr collect and return warranty
  • Manufacturer: Dell
  • Review Price: £699.00

What is the Dell Venue 11 Pro?

The Dell Venue 11 Pro is aimed at businesses, and that means it is a far more versatile tablet than most of its competitors. It has a removable battery, a host of accessories and numerous configuration options, plus it’s available at a number of prices.

As usual for its business hardware, Dell has also furnished the Venue 11 Pro with plenty of warranty and service options. Several strong competitors, most notably Microsoft’s home-grown Surface Pro 2, reckon they’re best for business, but can the Venue 11 Pro convince us otherwise? It makes a very good case.

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Dell Venue 11 Pro

Dell Venue 11 Pro: Design & Build Quality

The Venue 11 Pro is designed to place functionality above style. The back panel is made of soft-touch material that’s very grippy and doesn’t smudge and attract fingerprints like glossy plastic. The soft-touch panel fits into a frame of magnesium alloy, which is impressively strong – there’s no give in its edges, and only a little flex in the back panel and glossy bezel.

Dell has paired great build quality with huge versatility. This is one of few tablets with a full-size USB 3.0 port, and it’s also got a micro HDMI connector and microSD card slot, although you need a pin to ease it open. It’s also the only slate we’ve seen with a removable rear, which means swappable batteries – a boon if you need a couple of power packs for long trips away from the mains. It’s also possible to get at the SSD and wireless chip, which is more access than we’re used to seeing on Ultrabooks, let alone tablets.

READ MORE: Tablet Reviews

Dell Venue 11 Pro

The Dell’s build quality and versatility mean it’s a bulky machine. It tips the scales at 772g, which is more than 200g heavier than the Asus Transformer Book T100, and the Dell’s 13mm thickness is a little wider than the Asus, too. The Surface Pro 2 is a similar thickness, but it hits a heavyweight 910g on the scales. For reference the iPad Air weighs a mere 469g.

The Venue’s chunky design and 10.8-inch screen mean it’s too large to use with one hand for prolonged periods, but it works well with two. In landscape mode our left and right digits fell nicely onto the volume rocker and power button, and in portrait mode our left hand was well-placed to hit the Windows button in the middle of the bezel.

A big part of the Venue’s versatility comes from its accessories. The most enticing is the Tablet Keyboard, which adds a full-size keyboard, trackpad and second battery. This unit has its own micro-USB connection for charging, and its mechanism works well: the tablet clicks firmly into place, and it can be released by prodding a button above the keyboard. Bear in mind, though, that it has no additional ports.

GUIDE: Tablet Buyer's Guide

Dell Venue 11 Pro

Dell also sells a slim tablet keyboard that mimics Microsoft’s own Touch Cover. Its interior is made from the same soft-touch material as the tablet’s rear while the exterior is covered in grey fabric. This doesn’t include a second battery.

Dell Venue 11 Pro

The accessories bring the Dell into line with the Asus and Surface Pro: the former uses a similar hinged mechanism and a proper keyboard, while the latter has its fabric-covered Touch Cover and its plastic Type Cover.

The Tablet Keyboard turns the Dell into an Ultrabook-style laptop, but the end result is heavier than rivals. The full-size keyboard adds 800g to the Dell’s weight and 9mm to its thickness, for total figures of 1.57kg and 22mm; the Asus Transformer weighs 1.1kg and is 24mm thick when its two portions are clasped together. The Surface Pro’s Type Cover brings the Microsoft tablet’s vital statistics to 1.16kg and 18mm.

Dell Venue 11 Pro: Screen & Sound Quality

Early Venues were afflicted by firmware issues that caused dim screens, but that’s been fixed: the Dell’s 1,920 x 1,080 IPS screen topped out at 389 nits. That’s a great result that delivers more than enough punch, but it can’t quite match the Retina-searing Surface Pro 2, which hit a brightness peak of 422 nits. The contrast ratio of 992:1 is close to the Surface, and it means this display produces a broad range of colours, from inky blacks to powerful light shades.

Dell Venue 11 Pro

The Dell’s good brightness is matched with excellence elsewhere. The colour temperature of 6,650K is barely removed from the 6,500K ideal, and the average Delta E of 2.8 is similarly close to the mark – both of those figures mean that colours are very accurate indeed.

The Venue’s sRGB gamut coverage of 94.5% means that this screen can handle image-based work: it means that almost every shade in the sRGB gamut can be displayed perfectly, with only pinks, deeper reds and lighter purples falling short – and, even then, it’s not by much. The Venue’s Adobe gamut coverage is poorer, but this system isn’t designed for that kind of demanding work.

Dell clearly doesn’t reckon the Venue 11 Pro will be used much as a media machine: it’s got two speakers that produce high-volume audio, but quality is sorely lacking. The high-end is occupied by tinny high-hats, but the Venue’s range is dominated by a mid-range that lacks nuance and quality. Bass is almost completely absent.

robchan

October 2, 2013, 10:32 pm

What's the weight in total with keyboard?

aaa

October 3, 2013, 5:01 pm

won't get i7. the i5 will be the highest available for this model

Shakru

October 8, 2013, 9:59 am

the fingerprint can anybody have it or only the corporat ?

Guest

November 4, 2013, 2:58 am

Yes

Guest

November 4, 2013, 3:00 am

Intel® Core™ i5 4210Y processor (3MB Cache, 1.5 GHz Dual -Core)
Intel® Core™ i5 4300Y processor (3MB Cache, 1.6 GHz Dual -Core)
Other UNTRUSTED thing :
"Dell Venue Pro 11 is not a thing of beauty"

IT IS A PIECE OF BEAUTY

Frank Bales

November 8, 2013, 10:36 pm

What about the stylus? Already heard there are problems with it, but what problems?

Liz Smeltz

February 5, 2014, 9:30 pm

Waited 2 months to get my tablet. Tablet seems to be okay. The detachable keyboard will not function-there is a serious defect. I spent more than 6 hours in two sessions with two different keyboards and Dell was never able to get the keyboard to function. I spoke to a supervisor and they acknowledge they have a design defect. Keyboards did not work at all once they were docked. I do not have time to be their product tester. This is a known problem and they still shipped. The keyboard has a tiny tiny light on left side to indicate it is in charge mode. Charging has to be done with the charger from the computer and the connection is beside the docking locks at the rear of the keyboard-very difficult to connect. Will not charge via the tablet if you have the tablet charging. POOR DESIGN ALL THE WAY AROUND. Both keyboards are being sent back. Will not bother with them.
Technical support is very nice but this keyboard SHOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN RELEASED. Shame on Dell Engineering and Manufacturing.

godafoss

March 17, 2014, 10:04 pm

I'd give it a 5/10 for value, and a 7/10 overall. Hard to see how it managed a 9/10 when it's far from perfect.

Paul Grove

June 6, 2014, 11:15 am

There are 3 versions of the dell venue 11 pro, and I think some reviews overlook the cheaper atom based version of the tablet. I got my tablet (with the mobile internet option) at an auction (not online), I wasn't expecting to buy it, but having used it for a a few weeks here is my review of the tablet.

The Good:

Running a 32bit version of windows 8, the tablet is capable of running any application that you could normally run on a desktop PC.

The latest atom processor isn't a power house, however I have been more than impressed with its performance. The tablet boots up exceptionally quickly, in under 30 seconds. and the user interface is as smooth as butter, web browsing is a breeze, and scrolling is smooth on even the most complex of websites.

Performance wise, I have no benchmarks to give you, but as an example, I've installed steam, and have installed and played a few games, including Portal 2, plugged in an xbox 360 controller (into the full size usb port) and it played perfectly well at a decent framerate, albeit with some of the graphical options turned down, it was very impressive. Also Civ5 works well too!

Not specific to this tablet, Steam's new in-house streaming works very well also, allowing me to play my steam games at full graphics, streamed from my desktop onto the tablet while around the house. I'm seriously considering buying the dock to use the tablet as a games console connected to the TV.

I've also installed XBMC and MythTV, and being able to watch TV over a network share throughout the house is a joy.

I am a software developer, and while my intended purpose for the tablet is more entertainment rather than productivity, I've installed my usual array of software tools, (cygwin, scp/ftp clients, git, vim, etc), all of which start up and run just as well as they do on my powerhouse desktop. However with a weak processor and only 2GB of ram, its not like I'm going to be spinning up any Virtual Machines or anything.

The screen is beautifull, better than a lot of other tablets I've seen, although as mentioned in many reviews, disable the auto brightness - it just gets it wrong all the time.

And also its worth mentioning that the cheap atom model has no fans or moving parts and is completely silent, the more expensive i5 has exhaust fans.

Battery life is amazing. I dunno, I havn't timed it, it can run all day like a mobile phone, even with fairly heavy use (see playing portal 2) then if you get the keyboard it lasts even longer. The review above says they expect the slightly smaller battery in the cheaper model means that it will last even less - but they havnt taken into account that the atom processer draws a lot less power, and that there are no fans to run, I have no proof, but judging by the above review, I recon that the battery lasts longer in the cheaper model.

The the atom version is comparably good value, I got mine for £350 at auction, and I see on ebay that the device can be had for a similar price. Even direct from dell the atom processor version is only £439 far cheaper the Microsoft Surface 2, and far more usefull running windows 8 rather than the very limited windows RT. while slightly more expensive that the Asus T100, the dell has a better screen, and the build quality is apparently higher.

There are two types of keyboard for the Dell, other reviews say the mobile (bigger) keyboard is far nicer and has an extra battery, so that is the one I bought. It's nice to type on, and although it has no numpad (or even alt keys for the numpad). it does have everything else, including everything one might need to write code :)

The keyboard essentially turns the tablet into a laptop, great if you can't decided what type of device you actually want (like me), or if you need the flexibility.

Finally windows 8 actually works OK on a tablet, even if it doesn't seem to make sense on a regular desktop PC.

The Bad:

Dell's update software - out of the box - seemed broken, I wanted to update to the latest drivers using the included dell software, and it seemed to a) not show all the available updates, b) fail to install the optional updates that it did find.

I thought I had updated my tablet to the latest drivers, however it turned out that I was 3 or 4 versions behind.

Without the latest drivers the tablet was jittery and crashed a lot, the wifi was slow for no reason, and the tablet battery would discharge before the additional keyboard battery - making it useless.

I found however that if I went to the dell website and entered my service tag id there were many updates - most importantly the bios update to version A07 and the latest wireless driver and a few registry fixes that sort out connection issues with the keyboard, now I have no complaints, the device works perfectly.

After installing these updates manually, the dell update software seemed to sort itself out and I think it is detecting new updates correctly now and more importantly the device is performing really well.

Dell deserve a lot of flak for releasing a device with so many issues and they deserve even more flak for their driver update software not working correctly - I'm sure there are many people out there who do not realise that their devices are not up to date, and are putting up with an unreliable and buggy device.

I'm sure this has heavily hurt the reputation of Dell and this device.

However if you manually update then, in my case at least, I'm exceptionally happy.

Other negatives for the cheaper version at least, is the limited drive space, 64GB is not a lot, your left with closer to 40GB after taking into account the windows installation, and if you install large games and applications then you quickly run out.

While the tablet is cheap, it doesnt come with the keyboard or dock, and both are expensive, pushing up the price of the tablet. (ebay saved me a lot of money here).

Conclusion:

The tablet far exceeded my expectations, well, after fully updating the device anyway. I didn't believe the atom processor and integrated graphics would work so well.

The device - after updating is rock solid - Everything is working as it should do, and the device hasn't rebooted in over a week (my shell I opened last week is still open and running!).

Space is limited on my cheaper model but I've put a 64GB SD card into my tablet and this helps a lot, I've moved my games and larger applications onto the SD card, the games load slower - but it works. (if you do use a SD card, reformat it as NTFS, I had a lot of issues with exFAT).

My impulse buy at the auction really paid off for me, and after looking at the alternatives in detail, I think I have the right tablet. I don't feel like I need or even want the more powerful i5 version of the Venue 11 Pro (although I do slightly envy the larger SSD), and I don't miss android or iOS, preferring the ability to run regular windows applications, windows RT is a big fail.

This device is useful. I feared that if I got a tablet would end up in a drawer unused - so I didn't want to spend a huge amount on one. But I don't have this fear any more, me and my wife use the tablet every day, its a second portable TV and a comfortable device for web browsing, a travel laptop for when we go away, and even unexpectedly a portable gaming platform and a power game console for the TV (xbox 360 controllers highly recommended).

Highly recommended. 9/10. One of my best purchases.

Honopi1

June 27, 2014, 3:09 pm

Dell Venue 11 Pro. I purchased this tablet the other day, I am not impressed, poor build quality, cheaply made, screen response issues, even when the BIOS, Touchscreen updates have been applied, I sent this tablet back for a refund the same day and purchased an Acer iconia W700 I5 well what can I say so much better than the DVP 11, quick, responsive, solid build quality, plus you get keyboard/cover and micro hdmi to vga in the box. Avoid DVP 11.

2lucky2go

April 7, 2016, 4:58 pm

A piece of junk; no other words to describe it. Do not buy any tablets or laptops from DELL. Cheaply made. Stopped charging less than 6 months of ownership, sent back under warranty, fixed it, then not quite a year later, stopped charging all together. Nada. Read the horror stories on Dell's community website after I had purchased this piece of junk; not too many comments before purchase, and some owners described their thing of beauty with missing parts. Never purchase computers from DELL, equivalent to purchasing from WALMART.

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