Dell’s most recent venture sees a new breed of tablet hit the market- the portable desktop. The US Company have joined forces with Microsoft to offer a device suitable for both work and play with its latest micro-tab, the Venue 8 Pro.
The Dell Venue 8 PRO is a compact 8.1 inch tablet that runs on full windows 8.1- Not the RT edition we saw on the older Windows Tablets. The full version is ideal for those wanting a mirror of their W8 desktop across portable platforms.
The tablet itself comes powered by an Atom (1.8GHZ) Z3740D processor and 2GB of RAM. Maybe not the highest specs for a desktop PC but for a tablet, it’s certainly enough to run everything you need with ease.
As for storage, the device can hold 32GB on internal flash memory with the all-important option of an external card reader. It’s worth noting the full version of office and additional software will take up a big chunk of the internal storage, so consider an SD card for your additional media.
Software -Windows 8 and Microsoft Office Free
What sets the Dell apart as portable workstation is the fully loaded Windows 8 Operating System, and inbuilt full edition of Microsoft Office. This free install of Office Home and Student is fantastic for those who use Word/Excel/PowerPoint/OneNote but don’t want to buy an additional subscription. The whole windows package is Ideal for working seamlessly from your Windows Desktop to Tablet. As Windows 8 is multi-platform your settings and files will all be saved and sync’d to the same account. Meaning you can pick up on any unfinished work and carry on right where you left off.
The 8inch IPS HD Display is a respectable 1280 x 800 pixels. Although not really in the same league as the NEXUS or the iPad retina display, the Venue will hold its own, especially over the smaller screen size and when used with desktop applications.
Dual-band WiFi will allow fast and reliable connections to hotspots and home networks. Bluetooth connectivity means it’s easy to link the tablet with external components like a mouse, keyboard or speakers- Important extras if you’re using the tablet as a portable office.
Wireless display technology through Miracast is also helpful for broadcasting presentations to compatible TV’s and projectors.
The Venue Pro comes with one Micro USB connector, so a USB adapter may come in use if you have more than one device to hardwire it to.
There is no mini HDMI connection so any video transfer needs to be done via WiFi or USB.
Like the majority of 8 inch tab in this generation, the Dell has two cameras. A front facing Webcam (1.2mp) suitable for Skype and selfies, then a larger 5MP camera mounted on the rear.
With dimensions of 8.35” by 5.11 Inches the Venue is a little chunkier than other 8 inch tablets, but keeping its weight to under 13 ounces means the size difference doesn’t really hinder it in terms of comfort.
The Venue 8 has a pretty simple design, matt black cover with a grippy back panel to stop it slipping out of your hands. The rubber pad on the back is broken up by feint spirals for added grip, an embedded Dell logo and the rear camera. The aesthetics may not win any prizes but the Venue is certainly as comfy to hold as any other device.
Dell, rather specifically, claim the Venue 8 Pro’s battery is up to 9.9 hours but we have read a raft of mixed reviews on the battery life. Many seem to believe it will last substantially longer than the manufacturer’s estimate which is great for users.
The Dell Venue will not win any prizes for looks and glamour but as a solid device and versatile tablet it exceeds. Having a full office suite and Windows 8 is such an advantage for those using it as a portable office.
The processor is quick and efficient, allowing you to work well with office applications as well as standard tablet tasks. The expandable memory is also super-handy.
As for value, It’s great. For £239, the Dell undercuts many of its rivals whilst still retaining most of the features you would expect to see on a £300+ tablet. Not to mention the inclusion of Office that is worth £60 alone.