Dell Venue 8 Pro review, a compact tablet with Windows and the new “atom”

Dell Venue 8 Pro review, a compact tablet with Windows and the new “atom”


    It seems, Microsoft began its expansion into the tablet market at the wrong end. After all, where it all began?

    With huge anthropoid coffins with screens certainly not less than 10 inches, and more – and at 11.6. And even more. And these cabinets weighed respectively.

    Of course, in this era of ultra few people might like. Them especially and did not buy, the more that prices were – as for a full laptop. Eight-inch “tablet” with Windows – is another matter.

    For example, Dell Venue 8 Pro size is not much different from the Apple iPad mini and only a little larger than the Google Nexus 7.

    Short, it is the same “pocket” tablet, as well as all the other models with screens 7 – 8 inches. And the price is not scary: a Wi-Fi-version with moderately generous storage capacity of 32 GB tablet Dell will cost £200.

    Dell Venue 8 Pro compared to Apple iPad mini and Google Nexus 7

    But to work in Windows Classic in such a small display uncomfortable? Indeed, inconvenient icon on the desktop to get more or less easy – although it should be done carefully, as a rule, the interface “normal Windows” suggests not as single-touch and double – then you must get into the icon twice. But on the tiny buttons like “cross” easier to miss than vice versa.

    But the thing is that the work on large plates with the classic Windows interface too uncomfortable. This interface is simply not built for touch-control, and those trying to adapt that have taken in the development of Microsoft Windows 8 look, frankly, unconvincing. Too many deficiencies, too much and did not touched remained the same as it was – designed to control the mouse and keyboard.

    So if someone cherishes the hope to get hold of an 8-inch tablet for work in Photoshop or in the “office” with a familiar comfort, then, sorry, we have to disappoint you – is unlikely to succeed.

    You will not be able to handle only one touch screen, will have to connect the mouse and keyboard. And do not forget to come up with something to fix the tablet at a convenient angle, because working with lying flat screen – something else fun.

    And when you stock up on a cover-stand, keyboard and external mouse – because there is no touchpad, and using the touch screen cursor not drive – suddenly it turns out that with all this tablet uniform mass and volume is very close to some 11 – inch ultrabook. Only on the tablet also finely all the hell out of my eyes break – time to spit.

    In general, use the Dell Venue 8 Pro as a “pocket” replacement notebook or desktop PC – the pleasure of something else, frankly, for the amateur fun. Perceive this device should not “tablet for work,” but simply as “a regular tablet.”

    About the same as those mentioned above Google Nexus 7 or iPad mini Retina. However, it should be borne in mind that in this role it has certain disadvantages.

    Minus first: Microsoft suffered in “Metro” is not everything you need, even banal of settings. So from time to time you still have to deal with a classic window interface. To be honest, it would have to do much more often than we would like.

    Minus Two: obviously megacorporations in Seattle while working on Windows 8 insufficiently closely followed developments of competitors (perhaps even deliberately did not attend – to avoid outright borrowing). So what are some things that people take for granted tablets, in Windows-based tablets available.

    Just as an example: Dell Venue 8 Pro can not be connected to a computer via USB-cable for file sharing. By the way, an external hard drive to it, too, can not be connected – not enough food. So files – either through a network or a flash card.

    Minus Three: in “Metro” is still an order of magnitude fewer applications than operating systems Android and iOS. Although things are looking up – at least the most popular applications of social networks already exist. However, it still is a little tablet programs, so I have to use the old, developed for previous versions of Windows.

    And this is connected with minus four: without a mouse or, in extreme cases, many of the usual touch panel operations are transformed into a living hell. Let’s say, theoretically on the tablet can play little old toys. Not Quake, of course, but in the strategy – easily. In practice, many actions are tied to right-click (which works with a gesture of “Explorer”, but does not work in the old full-screen apps) and pointing the cursor without clicking the mouse. And without these simple things, even in the Heroes of Might Magic does not play properly – although iron itself allows.

    So what, so that’s all dark and very, very bleak? Actually, no. In Windows 8, there is one ingredient that really made the conscience and makes a very strong impression of the overall system. It’s funny, but it does – yes, the same Internet Explorer. He has two versions – a desktop and “metro”. Both work very, very quickly, in both “out of the box” there is support for Flash. And they are both from the standpoint of sites are “of desktop” browsers, which greatly helps in some situations.

    The “metro” version has an additional advantage: a redesigned interface. This version first, quite adequately works with touch screen. And secondly, it is optimized for use in tablets: all controls are shifted to the bottom of the screen where they are comfortable to stretch your fingers.

    Thus, the lion’s share of the tablet purely problems solved using the browser – in this sense flatbed incarnation of Windows 8 looks like a bit of Chrome OS. Only “Windows” still an order of magnitude more “off-line” – that is, it you do not risk being left with nothing in the event that access to the Network suddenly disappeared.

    The second point has to do with pleasant entertainment content playback. For Windows, there are a huge number of players and codecs, so you can be sure that absolutely any video in some way be able to play. And in general – will be able to open any existing file in nature (with Android and iOS is not quite so).


    Perhaps it would be more difficult to treat with sympathy to a small plate “on Windows,” if it was not done so soundly as 8 Dell Venue Pro.

    Manufacturer clearly had an extremely tough budget plan development – at a price of $299 he willy-nilly forced to economize, because it is necessary to pay for Windows, quite expensive processor and not the smallest amount of storage.

    Dell Venue 8 Pro: front side

    However, the designers managed to make this economy is so imperceptible eyes and fingers that nothing less than breathtaking.

    For example, a practically no metal construction – not just the outer panel, but also all the supporting elements are made of plastic.

    However, thanks to a couple of little tricks on body rigidity Venue 8 Pro is not inferior to the majority of “tablets” with all-aluminum body or magnesium frame – and not much heavier than them.

    With regard to the visual component, and then she’s fine: the relief of concentric rings led to the back of the housing is much less boring to look at than most tablets.

    At the same time, and it turned out amazing “tenacious”: in combination with soft touch coating properly chosen embossed texture eliminates accidental slipping of the tablet even wet palms.

    Dell Venue 8 Pro: rear side

    The plate was rather chubby: shell thickness in the main part is about 9 mm, a slight bulge camera adds another half a millimeter. No records, no antirecord – quite normal thickness for modern “pills”.

    Keep hands comfortable, does not offend the eyes – what more could you want?

    Dell Venue 8 Pro: left side

    The tablet is available in three versions: Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G.

    Cellular modem in the Dell Venue 8 Pro is implemented as a plug-in unit (format M.2, judging by the very modest size) – and in versions Wi-Fi slot for it on the motherboard is not wired.

    Slot for a SIM card and the corresponding antenna in this configuration also missing – add their own 3G-modem after purchase does not work.

    Dell Venue 8 Pro: right side

    In all existing Windows-plates in the center of the front panel has a button “Windows”.

    For whatever reasons, Dell decided to abandon this standard solution. On the front surface of the tablet is nothing but the display.

    Dell Venue 8 Pro: there is no Windows button on the front panel

    A Windows button is where the majority of the tablet is the power button/lock. Power button is a tablet Dell also there, but elsewhere – on the right side, just above the volume buttons.

    Is slightly confusing – to get used to this system requires some time. The greater experience with other tablets you have – the longer have to be retrained.

    Dell Venue 8 Pro: Windows button is placed on the upper side

    Specifications of Dell Venue 8 Pro:

    Dell Venue 8 Pro (5830)
    Display 8 inch, 1280×800, IPS
    Touchscreen Capacitive, up to 10 simultaneous touches
    Support for pen
    Processor Intel Atom Z3740D:
    4 cores Intel Silvermont (x86-64), frequency 1,83 GHz;
    22nm HKMG Tri-Gate
    Graphics controller
    Intel HD Graphics (4 modules, the frequency of 688 MHz)
    ROM 2 GB DDR3L-RS-1333
    RAM 32 GB + MicroSD
    Connectors 1 х Micro-USB 2.0*
    1 x headset 3,5 mm
    1 x MicroSD
    Cellular Optional (in the tested sample modem was not built-in)
    Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, 2,4/5 GHz, MIMO 2×2
    Bluetooth 4.0
    NFC No
    IR No
    Navigation No
    Sensors Light sensor, accelerometer / gyroscope
    Main camera
    5 MP (2560×1920), autofocus, no flash
    Front camera
    1,2 MP (1280×960), no autofocus, no flash
    Power Non-removable battery, two flat batteries
    Capacity 17.9 Wh (4830 mAh, 3.7 V)
    Dimensions 216×130 mm
    Case Thickness: 9 mm (9.6 mm in view of the camera)
    Weight 389 g
    Water and dust protection
    OS Microsoft Windows 8.1 (32-bit)
    Recomended price
    £200 [easyazon_cta add_to_cart=”default” align=”none” asin=”B00I2SGNS0″ cloaking=”default” height=”28″ key=”small-orange” localization=”default” locale=”UK” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”gadgethelp-21″ width=”137″]iPad mini Retina[/easyazon_cta]

    Hardware and Performance

    Dell Venue 8 Pro – one of the first representatives of a new wave of Windows-tablets based on more up to date processor Intel Atom generation Bay Trail.

    If you want to learn more about this architecture, we recommend to read this review article, we will briefly go over its main advantages.

    A new architecture benefits from weight. We must start with the fact that the processors transferred to the new process, mass analogue which is no one except Intel, – 22 nm HKMG with three-dimensional transistors.

    Number of cores is increased from two to four. Frequencies are also up – in Turbo Boost mode Atom Z3000 series chips can be overclocked to 2.4 GHz, whereas the frequency of the fastest chip out of the lineup Z2000 – Atom Z2580 – was limited to 2 GHz.

    Despite the fact that Intel avoids mentioning this fact and tried to write about the infamous 2 GHz as “normal”, the nominal frequency, it was still just a turbo frequency – that is not guaranteed, achievable only under certain conditions.

    Furthermore, this time the first used Intel processor class own graphics tablet. Yes, instead of skinny PowerVR SGX544MP2 or SGX545 in the new Atom processors working Intel HD Graphics, exactly the same architecture as a “notebook” Core processors generation Ivy Bridge (HD 4000).

    However, the number of execution units is reduced from 16 to 4, and the frequencies are reduced in half. Still, by the standards of even the remaining tablets – rather generously.

    The memory controller can operate in either dual-channel memory LPDDR3, or, as in our case, with a single-channel memory exotic standard DDR3L-RS. Closing RS stands for Reduced Standby.

    That is the advantage of this type of memory developed by Micron, compared with the “usual” DDR3L is reduced consumption when idle.

    Manufacturer even in my wildest dreams did not allow myself to call it more economical than truly mobile LPDDR3, – and a commendable honesty, but mentions that DDR3L-RS costs significantly cheaper.

    Performance of the processor directly as a result of all contrivances Intel grew on average by about 30 percent. It is a lot – about the “horsepower” just missed the previous “Atom” for comfortable work in Windows 8.

    About browser: Internet Explorer works really fast, and when combined with the new generation of Intel Atom allows Venue 8 Pro to be one of the fastest tablets, bearing in mind the web surfing. Faster – models only Intel Core, but it’s already from the suitcases department.

    Graphics performance has grown much stronger. For this part of the previous generation of Intel Atom and the new – it’s just heaven and earth.

    However, while not very clear what the increased graphics performance can help a potential owner of Dell Venue 8 Pro. Because, on the one hand, to play not adapted for touch games on this device will be difficult. On the other hand, games with heavy graphics designed just for tablets on Windows 8, not so much.


    It so happened that the displays in mobile devices related to the world “big Windows”, usually worse than in devices of this world do not belong.

    Here as an example, laptops are still in most cases equipped with wretched TN-matrices, while even very cheap tablets and a smartphone is almost totally transferred to the IPS-screens, at least good, and often – so just great.

    So one of the major reasons for joy of potential buyer Dell Venue 8 Pro – a display. He’s here from the “tablet” of the universe, and not from the “notebook”. That is a quality and useful additions like a polarizing filter, soundly oleophobic coating – and without air gap.

    Resolution 1280×800 at 8 inches diagonal gives the density of points of order 190 ppi – not ideal high, but quite acceptable for a tablet: do not forget that on the screens of these devices in a normal life, we usually watch from a greater distance than the displays of smart phones. So if you want to see the raster can be, but in reality you will rarely notice it.

    Maximum brightness is 312 cd/m2 – not that much, but a lot. In combination with good anti-glare properties display a level of luminosity allows more or less well to distinguish information on it even in strong ambient light – although in the summer sun, probably this can be a problem.

    700:1 contrast ratio exceeds that very, very bad – the screens of most Android tablets and iOS 7.8 inches diagonal contrast similar (and have larger displays Windows-tablets are usually significantly below).

    Color gamut significantly already the standard color space sRGB, but, oddly enough, is wider than the scope of the display iPad mini Retina. In practice, this means that the colors in photos and films in the case of Dell Venue Pro 8 will look somewhat duller than intended by their creators, but more intense than on the display “retinoic” iPad mini.

    Average white balance temperature even closer to the reference 6500 than in the case of “mini retina.” However, for the eyes of modern man accustomed to a greater extent to the cold internal illumination than the warm sun, it may even “too right” settings – on subjective feelings, display a little “yellow”.

    Already a display than Dell Venue 8 Pro exactly okay, so it is with gamma settings. Curves are slightly different from the standard, but it is so insignificant that it is unlikely to see succeed, even a trained eye.

    In general, within the genre of compact tablet is a very worthy display. He has some flaws, but they are not so important to be worth paying attention to them when purchasing.


    In any ointment if it is not necessary as the golden crane must be at least a small fly in the ointment. I mean, to achieve such an attractive price, as in the case of Dell Venue 8 Pro, the manufacturer still need to save for something.

    Often go under the knife CPU or display – but as you can see above, this in Dell did not save. Cost a little blood – camera. Not that it is not at all – cameras Venue 8 Pro even two: front and main.

    However, the quality of shooting back camera is not anything interesting – it is actually here for show. Suit except for technical survey, and only in good light – in the dark she takes really bad, and no flash.

    So it is better to forget about it all, and take on the smartphone – no matter how old or budget it may be, the possibility of a built-in camera it will almost certainly be much richer.


    With battery at Dell Venue Pro 8 all right. The body of the tablet is quite spacious, so that it fit the battery sufficiently capacious: nearly 18 Wh (4830 mAh, 3.7 V).

    In addition, the processor has a highly economical – and a Microsoft operating system thoroughly pulled on the part of energy conservation.

    Unfortunately, another tablet with 8-inch display to compare the results of the test battery life we have at hand was not. So we had to use the same Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2, which we took for comparison of performance. Diagonal screen size of the tablet significantly more – 10 inches, so that the display consumes more.

    Therefore, to understand the difference energy platforms should pay attention to the results obtained with minimum display brightness. And since the battery and the tablet Lenovo is much higher – 30 Wh against 18 at Dell, – then for purposes of clarity, in addition to the actual results of the tests we give approximate values ​​of energy consumption.

    Consumption tested tablets varies by about 0.5 watts, which should probably be attributed to the difference still display energy.

    In general, consumption of new processors Atom, judging by the results of tests Dell Venue 8 Pro, remained at about the same level as that of the old.

    However, we can say that the previous generation was too greedy. Rather, he lacked the power – so it was logical that Intel is corrected performance and energy left about the same.


    As for the hardware, the Dell really tried to make convenient and quality tablet – and designers turned out quite well made device level Nexus 7.

    Dell Venue 8 Pro is pleasant to hold in your hands, it works perfectly adequate – there is absolutely no fault to anything. Intel has also worked on glory: a new generation of Atom processors have become significantly faster and, apparently, more economical.

    So all is well with the iron, the issue solely in software. And in this matter company Microsoft, initially pressed on support for Office and other pieces in the same vein, laid itself acutely sharpened rake.

    Our advice is this: in any case, do not succumb to the propaganda and Microsoft to buy Dell Venue 8 Pro as a tablet for work, unless you – not multinational corporation that can afford to create a set of specialized applications, convenient and it works properly on your tablet.

    [easyazon_block add_to_cart=”default” align=”right” asin=”B00I2SJO72″ cloaking=”default” layout=”top” localization=”default” locale=”UK” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”gadgethelp-21″]iPad mini Retina[/easyazon_block]Too uncomfortable to interact with classical programs on a tiny little screen touch, and the choice of “metro applications” is still quite poor.

    But as usual “entertainment” – or, if you prefer, an “auxiliary” – this tablet device is quite viable.

    Thank you for the excellent browser – fast and convenient tablet interface, as well as the accumulated heritage of the many thousands of programs.

    You will always be able to open any file and perform any action that is at all possible to perform on a computer with Windows.

    Often it will be uncomfortable or even very uncomfortable because of the features make the interface (and therefore the tablet will not replace your laptop for each day), but it is possible in principle – and in some cases, such a possibility can be very useful.

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