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Dell Venue Pro 8 review

Michael Sawh



Our Score


User Score


  • Comfortable and attractive design
  • Great battery life
  • Sharp, bright display


  • Awkward Windows Home button placement
  • Requires additional OTA cable for USB support
  • Keyboard not included

Review Price £250.00

Key Features: Quad-core Intel Atom Bay Trail CPU; 32GB storage; 8-inch 1,280 x 800 IPS screen; 9mm thick; ‘Active’ stylus; 4,830mAh battery; Bluetooth 4.0; Dual band Wi-Fi

Manufacturer: Dell

What is the Dell Venue Pro 8?

The Dell Venue Pro is an 8-inch, Windows 8.1 tablet that like the Toshiba Encore, the Acer W4 and the Lenovo MiiX2, gives you a full version of Microsoft's latest operating system so you can reap the benefits of having a PC without the extra bulk.

After our numerous grievances with the Encore, we were hoping that Dell's offering could restore some optimism that Windows in an iPad mini 2 Retina or Nexus 7 2-sized body can actually work. Fortunately, we have a more glowing report about the Venue Pro 8. It's by far the most impressive 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet we've seen so far.

SEE ALSO: Best Windows 8 Tablets

Watch our Dell Venue Pro 8 review video

MORE: Best Windows 8 laptops, tablets and hybrids

Dell Venue Pro 8: Design

Sat next to Apple's 7.9-inch tablet or the Nexus 7, the Venue Pro 8 doesn't exactly break the design mould for a small tablet. But when you compare it to other 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablets, it's by far the best-looking and nicest to hold in the hand.

The front looks like your run of the mill Android tablet with a black bezel that narrows down the sides of the 8-inch display. When you flip it over, the soft plastic back with raised concentric circles gives it a Nexus 7-feel and provides greater friction than the flat smooth surfaces on the Encore and the W4 tablets. It does have a habit of trapping fluff, but we think this gives the Venue Pro 8 something a bit different compared to other portable Windows tablets.

At just 9mm thick, it’s not as chunky as the Encore either and other rival 8-inch Windows 8.1 slates. It weighs just 395g, making it heavier than the iPad mini 2 Retina Wi-Fi (331g), but it’s more than comfortable to use one-handed and gives it a profile well suited to using in two hands.

Everything from the chrome buttons to the unibody design is well constructed and fills us with enough confidence that it's able to withstand the rigours of daily use. For £250, we are happy with what Dell has served up here.

SEE ALSO: Best Android Tablets

Looking around the tablet you’ll find the 5-megapixel main camera on the back and front-facing camera in the top right on the bezel. Down the right edge of the you’ll find the MicroSD card slot concealed by a latch. If you opt for the 3G/Wi-Fi version, the micro SIM slot will also be hidden away here. Further up is the chrome-style volume rocker and on/off button.

The microUSB charging port also doubles as a USB host and means you can connect other peripherals, although you'll need to invest in OTG cable. There’s no HDMI so hooking it up to a TV has to be done wirelessly over Miracast and will of course mean you need a compatible TV.

On the top edge is the headphone/mic port and bizarrely the Windows Home button. Most other tablets include this at the bottom of tablet and whether this is Dell’s way of trying to be different or genuinely believing that it’s better positioned, our numerous times spent hitting it thinking it was the on/off button suggests it was a bad move.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Best Tablets

Dell Venue Pro 8: Screen and Sound Quality

The Dell Venue Pro 8 features an 8-inch 1,280 x 800 pixel IPS touchscreen display with a widescreen aspect ratio that effectively matches Toshiba Encore and the original Nexus 7. In comparison to the Nexus 7 2 and the Kindle Fire HDX 7 though, the cheaper Android tablets offer more pixels and more impressive resolution.

That’s not to say that the screen is terrible. For everyday tasks like watching video and reading web pages it’s perfectly acceptable. You don't get the full HD treatment. although the screen is nice and sharp and colours are slightly more punchy than the Encore.

Viewing angles are good thanks to the IPS display technology, though it suffers like most other tablets with some reflection in bright outdoors. Our only real issue is that the auto brightness out of the box is set very low, so we would suggest jumping into the settings and disabling the auto-brightness otherwise you are going to find it a very unsatisfying experience.

In terms of screen responsiveness, the Venue Pro 8’s display supports 10-point multitouch and shows little signs of struggle registering swipes, selecting apps or pinching and zooming your way through a web page where the font is a little on the small side. The tablet does also support its own digitiser stylus that Dell is calling the 'Active' pen. Unfortunately, once again, this needs to be purchased separately and we didn’t have one to try doodling with.

The speaker on the bottom of the edge of the tablet is certainly nice and loud, just don’t expect booming, rich audio to fill your ears. The louder it gets the more noticeable the distortion becomes. It’s more than suitable for watching films and gaming but it's underwhelming for blasting out Spotify playlists.

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November 5, 2013, 3:33 pm

A great review on the http://winsupersite.com/. I want one of these, they can already be purchased on ebay for about £260 including tax etc, but will wait for UK release.

The reviews on here seem to be more and more anti Microsoft and pro apple. Not sure I trust the reviews here much now. All reviews can be summed up as Apple good, Microsoft=bad.


November 5, 2013, 4:20 pm

Hmm, so we gave Windows 8.1 8/10 and recommended it:


And we (infact I did) gave the Surface Pro 2 8/10 and recommended it:


Care to revise your opinion?


November 7, 2013, 2:39 pm

As a Surface Pro owner I thought I should give this a try as a lighter, longer lasting alternative.

For what it is, it works quite well. The Bay Trail processor seems to work without lag and the screen, for being relatively low resolution looks nice. The problem is that Microsoft destroyed font smoothing in Windows 8 (who knows why?) and fonts in IE look jaggy. For instance, the Samsung Note 8 has the same screen resolution yet fonts look far smoother. Blame that one on the engineers at MS who think font smoothing doesn't matter.

Is $299 a great deal? $299 + case + pen + keyboard + tax gets you into the $500+ range. Consider the fact you can get a used Surface Pro 1 with keyboard and case for around $550 to $600 now and it doesn't seem like such a great deal anymore.
Haven't tried the pen yet but word is it is pretty awful, even as awful N-trig pens go.

Actually for students, the pen was the thing which really sold this, but if the pen is as awful as they say, major problem there.


November 11, 2013, 3:33 pm

I don't see the jaggies. The screen is absolutely beautiful.


December 10, 2013, 3:04 pm

I just bought one, and love it. Can you imagine if Apple did this? Made their iPad an open source Apple OSX device like this little beauty? Instead of being stuck in mobile everything and APP hell.


January 29, 2014, 12:21 pm

I think you should remove the "Active Stylus" from the specs list, as i'd had one on order when I bought the Venue 8 Pro in December, and have since been told it's now out of production and that i am unable to get one in any circumstance...


January 29, 2014, 1:00 pm

i was gonna buy this one, until lenovo announced the thinkpad 8 (8" obviously).... hd, great battery life too, 3g - slighty a bit more expensive but am buying one...


January 29, 2014, 9:12 pm

Had a look at one of these but could not find one with the 4G option so no purchase yet. Got the Nexus 7 for Christmas and am not convinced, so may be going on EBay. However now really looking at the Lenovo ThinkPad 8, can't wait to see a review. Hint HINT TR.



January 30, 2014, 9:02 am

Firstly - software 7/10? You can install any Windows application ever made. It has the ability to install anything you have ever installed on any Windows device. And you give it 7 out of 10? I get the app store still isn't great, but why would you even use it?
A full version of Windows running on a device 9mm thick with such good battery life.
This thing is amazing. I understand the comparisons to iPads etc, but this is a PC in the form-factor of a tablet. If it had HDMI out it would be perfect for so many things.
It's quite exciting that we've reached this point if you ask me.


February 4, 2014, 9:25 am

I love my Dell Venue Pro 8 tablet, however I do take issue with a couple of things. Firstly, I hate how small everything is on the desktop. I can barely even use the stylus because even the tip of it is almost too large. Secondly, it came with Microsoft office and when I activated it with the activation key no icon for it ever showed up. When I originally got it there was an icon on the start screen. But when I tried to activate it, it kept telling me it needed more space. I finally reset it back to factory settings and it activated just fine but now I have no icon on either the desktop OR on the start screen. I have no idea what to do about either one of these issues..... which is unfortunate because, like I said earlier, I really love my tablet. Anyone have any suggestions?

Vance Morgan

March 5, 2014, 3:27 am

This always boggles my mind. There are more apps available on full Windows than IOS, Mac, Android, and Linux COMBINED. Windows is a massive ecosystem. You can even install any android app on full Windows via BlueStacks. there just isn't even a comparison. Every device running FULL windows should by default get a 10/10 on available apps. Every device using another OS (including windows RT) should be judged based on how far off they are from THE pacesetter that is windows. The rest are still playing catchup.

Vance Morgan

March 5, 2014, 3:29 am

You can make everything bigger. The same way you have been able to on windows since at least Windows XP. I believe by default the device uses something like 150% size for text and such on the desktop, but you can bump it up to 200% if you like. It will increase the size of taskbars, buttons, etc. The setting for desktop is separate for the settings for Modern style apps, which is a good thing.


March 8, 2014, 3:37 pm

Absolutely fantastic machine. A full blown PC for £150!!

Yes that's right, get a friend to pick one (several) up in the USA. They're less than $250

Only lack of hdmi is major flaw, but if you're not presenting that's not a huge issue

I wonder if it would've attracted a 9/10 score at its proper price?

Buy one (and a wedge mouse). You wont regret it


March 19, 2014, 2:19 am

Serious design flaw with the micro usb charging port........Beware,

Dell supplied the wrong charging cable. The port is rectangular and the plug is trapezoidal so it can be plugged in either way, and if you plug it in wrong, you can bend or break the pin block. This is a serious design flaw and Dell needs to recall them all and replace the connector. I send my back to dell for not charging because of this issue. They didn't replace the connector, all they did just use a tool to bend the pin blocks back in place and send it back to me, Right now, when I put the supplied charging cable in, it still very wiggling and loose. Sometimes, it takes a couple tries to get it charge. It's a matter a time that I have to erase all the settings again and sent it back to Dell to fix for not charging. Dell screwed up the design and customers are paying for the mistake and troubles. This is 100% Dell's fault. They need to make right. I asked them for replacement and they said they won't exchange a new one even I only had this tablet about 100 days. They won't even replace the damaged connector. Stay away, their warranty are terrible. I used to have a lot of dell products and next time, I will look for some other brands instead. Dell's service is going down hill.

Xavier Happenstance

March 28, 2014, 12:36 pm

Here! Here!


May 8, 2014, 10:12 am

That port is a requirement of the USB Host feature (an AB type port i.e. the square one, is needed for USB OTG) not a design flaw. I have it on my Nokia N8 and it requires an noticeably greater force to insert it wrongly. Buyers need not beware, just don't shove things where they don't fit!


May 12, 2014, 9:45 am

In my dell pro 8 tablet the slot for inserting micro sim card is sealed ,what to do


June 21, 2014, 7:27 am

You can't fix morons.


July 12, 2014, 1:55 pm

How to switch on front camera in windows dell tablet?


August 20, 2014, 11:57 pm

I had same problem. It is very easy to break the pins with kids using it. Dell screwed the design and technical rep accepted it apologetically. He said 50% repairs are USB port. They corrected mine, but still the threat lingers. I have painted my cable white on the up side, so that it does not screw up again. Now another issue. Once tablet goes to sleep, it is almost impossible to wake it without restarting! The button never works. They say hold it for 2 seconds. I tried several ways. Dell designers know how to screw a great product like this one, and BTW this is not first time that they screwed up the design.

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