Review Price to be confirmed
Dell Venue Pro 8 Preview
What is the Dell Venue Pro 8?The Dell Venue 8 Pro is an 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet that wants to convince people that a Windows tablet can be an alternative to an iPad mini. It’s just one of a few sub-10 inch tablets we’ve seen, along with the Acer W3 and the Toshiba Encore.
Dell Venue Pro 8 – Design and FeaturesThe Dell Venue Pro 8 is one of the most accessible Windows tablets we’ve seen yet. An 8-inch screen makes it smaller and much lighter than most, and Dell has made the most of this by giving the new Venue a slim plastic body.
It’s just 8.9mm thick and is light enough to use one-handed. The rear has a pattern on raised concentric circles to give its body greater friction than a flat, smooth surface. However, it doesn’t feel quite as expensive or high-end as an iPad mini.
However, in most other respects Dell Venue Pro 8 is quite a different device to an iPad mini. For example, it has a microSD memory card slot. This sits under an oversized plastic flap on one side that’ll also cover the SIM slot – mobile internet is an option here. It’s limited to 3G, though – there are no plans for a 4G version at present.
It also offers a microUSB slot that acts as a USB host, letting you plug in accessories such as keyboard and mice. You’re not restricted to touchscreen operation with a Dell Venue Pro 8.
The tablet also comes with an ‘Active’ pen, Dell’s name for a digitiser stylus – the same sort used by the Galaxy Note series. However, we didn’t get to test drive that particular feature of the Venue Pro 8, and there’s no compartment in the tablet to keep the thing in.
The Dell Venue Pro 8 features an 8-inch 1,280 x 800 pixel IPS touchscreen display with a widescreen aspect ratio.
Dell Venue Pro 8 – Screen
This is a pretty low resolution these days, and the (presumably cheaper) Google Nexus 7 2 has already arrived packing far more pixels into an even smaller 7-inch screen.
As we’ve noted before in reviews of super high-resolution laptops like the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus, Windows isn’t too hot at making the software look particularly good on screens other than those of a ‘normal’ size laptop.
The touchscreen view of Windows 8 appears natural enough but the Desktop view still looks as though it’s being broadcast onto an ‘alien’ display, one on which it doesn’t quite belong.
Windows 8.1 is meant to address scaling of Windows on differing screen sizes, though, which might not have been fully exploited in our demo.
Dell Venue Pro 8 - SpecsAs we expected of a small, light and highly portable Windows tablet, the Dell Venue Pro 8 isn’t super-powered. It uses an Intel Atom family processor, a quad-core chip from the Bay Trail series.
This is not in the same league as the Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processors, but the tablet does run the ‘full’ version of Windows 8.1 rather than the limited RT version. RT can only run certain apps, making it… a bit rubbish. One of the key worries about a lower-end Windows tablet is that apps can take an age to load. General navigation in the Venue Pro 8 seems nippy enough, but we didn’t get to try out zipping between apps in our time with the tablet.
We also don’t yet know the storage options that’ll be available in the UK, but the model we saw had 32GB of Flash storage.
Dell Venue Pro 8 – CameraThe Dell Venue Pro 8 has two cameras, a 5-megapixel camera on the rear and a basic video chat camera on the front.
Don’t go expecting much, though. We didn’t get to test their quality first-hand, but the lack of an LED flash and fairly low-resolution sensor aren’t good signs.
First ImpressionsThe Dell Venue Pro 8 is a notable product primarily because of its timing. It’s one of the first smaller-size Windows tablets, and offers better build and screen quality than the rival Acer W3. Does that mean it’ll sell like hot cakes? We doubt it, but it’s an everything experiment for Dell nevertheless.
Next, read our round-up of the top WIndows 8.1 features
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