Dell Venue 8 Pro review

Venue 8 ProStepping out of the iOS/Android world again, I’m impressed with all that Dell has to offer. The Venue 8 Pro provides yet another option for people looking for an 8 inch tablet. I’ve used the iPad Mini and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and have reviewed Lenovo’s Idea Tab as well so this tablet is a welcome change.

It’s hard to say that this tablet is better or worse than an Apple or Samsung product because it’s just different. I’ll admit I haven’t used Windows since XP and there is enough new things to learn with Windows 8 as the Venue 8 Pro’s OS. The 8 inch tablet space is an interesting one too because every major player has one these days with Samsung offering up its Galaxy line in so many forms. Bigger than a smartphone but smaller than full size iPad or a laptop, 8 inch tablet’s can bridge the gap between smartphones and laptops and the Venue 8 Pro does this very well.

Hardware

On the hardware side the Venue 8 Pro offers the following:

  • Intel® Atom™ processor Z3740D with 32GB storage (2MB Cache, up to 1.8GHz Quad-Core)
  • Windows 8.1 (32Bit) English
  • Microsoft® Office Home and Student 2013 Included
  • 8.0 inch IPS Display with HD (WXGA 1280 x 800) resolution with 10-pt capacitive touch
  • 2GB Single Channel DDR3L-RS 1600MHz
  • 32GB eMMC
  • Intel® HD Graphics
  • Dell Wireless 1538 Dual-Band 2×2 802.11n WiFi + Bluetooth® Smart

I love the separate keyboard that ships with the Venue 8 Pro. You can type via the touchscreen but I prefer this little keyboard because it’s small and compact and runs using Bluetooth 4.0.  This will also allow for connection to a compatible mouse, external keyboard or other accessories or sync up some compatible Bluetooth speakers for great sound without the wires.

Dual-band WiFi is also a nice feature of the Venue 8 Pro. It allows you to set up fast, reliable connections to WiFi hotspots around town, on campus or at home. I am not sure if this tablet is cellular network capable like its Samsung and Apple cousins but that is worth investigating.

User Experience

As I mentioned above, Windows 8 is a totally new beast for me. I found myself looking for the Start Menu and the desktop more than anything to get my bearings. From Windows 95 to XP and Server editions of NT and 2000 between, Windows was my go to OS. Switching to Mac wasn’t an easy one at first but going back has been tougher. I tried to get as much use out of this tablet as I could from surfing the web, downloading apps, using Office but I was so lost at some points I could only laugh.

For savvy business professional who still uses Windows and always has you will love this tablet. Compact and easy to carry around and great to take traveling, the Venue 8 Pro will go 9.9 hours before it needs charging. That’s three hours more video watch time on a single charge versus other popular small screen tablets including the  Nexus 77, ARM based 8” Samsung Galaxy Tab 35, Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.

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