The 8 inch Windows tablet has struggled since its inception. There are many reasons for it, mainly the fact that the tile design of Windows 8.1 didn’t really work very well as opposed to traditional Windows, and that pretty much got in the way. However, the lower sales do not take away the fact that many smaller tablets offer PC like features as well as capabilities in a small and portable package. The Dell Venue 8 Pro is one such tablet. The following shows some of the highlight specs of this device:
- Intel Atom x5-Z8500 CPU @144 GHz
- 2GB RAM
- 64GB ROM, with micro SD Card expansion
- 1280 x 800, full HD Screen
- Windows 10 Pro& Office Apps
- Up to 10 hours battery life
- 13 x 0.9 x 21.6 cm, 800 g
- USB C Port x 1 (for charging, access to USB or display)
In the box
- Dell Venue Pro 8 Tablet
- USB C Cable
- USB Mains Charger (ours came with a UK plug on it)
Our unit came pre-installed with Windows 10 Pro, and was already setup as a review unit. However, being Windows 10, the setup will be fairly basic, like almost all devices these days, where you start with adding your WiFi password, and adding a Microsoft ID if you have one, or skip it if you don’t.
Pre Loaded Software
It offers Office Apps (Word, Powerpoint, Excel, OneNote) straight out of the box, which is a good touch.
As far as extras go, there is a lot of Microsoft and MSN stuff, like Photos, Money, Solitaire (oh yeah!) as well as apps such as Sport and Weather. As far as crapware goes, the only one I have found is Candy Crush Soda Saga. You also have Groove Music and Twitter pre-installed, but I wouldn’t shake my harsh stick at them as much as I would at Candy Crush Soda. There is another software called 3D Builder which helps you scan objects in 3D or build your own 3D objects to be sent to 3D printers. Fun, but not really needed or useful if you don’t have access to one.
As far as Dell goes, they have added their usual suite of apps, and it is normally up to you whether you use them or not. Personally I have never really found them to be very useful. However, you have software such as Power Management, Customer Connect, Digital Delivery, Notification Centre, Product Registration and SupportAssist from them installed.
All of this leaves you with about 36GB free out of the 64GB Hard drive. As such, it would be rather silly to go for the 32GB version of this, as that would hardly let you do anything.
Look and Feel
The look is fairly basic. In fact, it is pretty much the classic Dell Tablet design that has propagated on to this one as well. However, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t look or feel great. At almost 400g, it feels good and solid in your hand, but also light enough to be used to read and carry around without much hassle. The back has textured rings on it, the Dell logo indented, as well as the 5MP Camera.
The front features a smaller camera, the 8inch full HD Screen and a relatively decent bezel. The left side has nothing on it, the bottom has speaker grills and the lone USB C port, while the right side offers the Windows Key, the volume keys, and the micro SD card slot. The top has the power button and the 3.5mm socket.
The media experience
Something this light and portable will often end up being used to watch films or TV shows while you’re on the move. At this, the tablet doesn’t disappoint. The full HD display and the speakers offer great performance.
The review unit came with portrait mode ‘locked’, and you can go to settings and change that.
The video playback is great, and smooth, and you can pretty much use any Windows app such as Netflix or Spotify, or just go to your browser to play any of these.
The speakers are powerful enough to easily watch movies loudly.
You also have support for wireless displays, but you need something that is compatible to make that happen.
While packaged as a tablet, this is essentially a PC. What that means is that you have a PC that comes with a tablet skin on. However, once you connect a keyboard to this, it goes into PC mode and in that case, it is no different to any other PC. The specs on this are fairly modest, and they offer you a great performance. Of the few tests we ran, such as usual work day, opening a lot of browser tabs, Word, Powerpoint and email open. There wasn’t any lag to report of. We tried a few games as well, and everything went well.
However, you can’t really expect this to do extreme video rendering or any of that. However, you’d be a bit silly to expect that.
It says 8 to 10 hours, and it delivers well.
Need for accessories
This is a tablet and that is pretty much the only thing that holds it back. Dell offer a keyboard and an active stylus with this. They didn’t come in our review unit, but as far as I can see, to really get good use out of this, you have to add those to your package. Combine this with those two items, and suddenly you have a portable machine that can pretty much cover 90% of your daily needs, with a great battery life and very little weight and volume.
The 8 inch tablet has been struggling for a while. The market is saturated with lots of Android devices which cost nothing, and the size of the screen doesn’t really offer much to Windows users. The Dell Venue 8 Pro is a great attempt at trying to buck the trend, however we feel like it may be an area that may be dying. The best way we feel is to package the accessories with this, which suddenly pushes this to a newer height.