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Dell Venue 11 Pro review

A Full HD Windows 8.1 tablet that's a blend for business brilliance

Our Verdict

The Dell squares up to the Surface Pro with great versatility, better accessories and a stunning screen, and it's just as good value when bought with its best peripherals. The Surface Pro might be a bit faster, but the Venue has enough power to get the job done – if you need a tablet for work, you won't be disappointed with this.

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1920 x 1080
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8 Megapixel

View full specification

For

  • Hard-wearing design
  • interior access
  • excellent screen
  • high-quality keyboard accessory
  • reasonable processor

Against

  • Single battery performance mediocre
  • Surface Pro has a better CPU
  • cheaper keyboard is poor
  • heavy, bulky design
  • poor speakers
Ratings in depth

Design 4 5
Features 5 5
Performance
Usability 4 5
Value 4 5




Tablets for work are almost as popular as tablets for play, so it's no surprise to see Dell at the forefront of this growing market. Its new Venue 11 Pro 1730 is a flagship corporate machine, and it's got one of the most versatile designs we've seen from any slate.

We've tested the most expensive Venue 11 Pro, which sports a Core i5-4210Y processor. It's Haswell, which means Intel's newest 22nm architecture, but it's an ultra low-power part – its 1.5GHz stock speed, 1.9GHz Turbo peak and dual-core design aren't exactly inspiring. The Surface Pro 2, which is the Dell's closest rival, deploys a Core i5 chip that's usually found in laptops.

Our sample also comes with 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD and 2x2 MIMO dual-band 802.11n wireless, but other Venue 11 Pro tablets include slower processors and smaller batteries.

A £629 (about $849, AU$1132) version makes do with a Core i3 processor, and the cheaper £469 (about $780, AU$844) model drops down to a Bay Trail-based Atom CPU with less memory, a smaller SSD, weaker integrated graphics and a 32-bit OS – but, oddly, it's the only Venue 11 Pro with mobile broadband. The base model costs £449 (about $747, AU$808) and has this lesser specification without that extra networking option, so you're stuck with Wi-Fi.

For starters, this is the only tablet we've seen with a removable rear panel. That means the Venue 11 Pro is instantly more manageable than any other tablet and many laptops and Ultrabooks, too. Behind the panel is a removable battery, and it's also possible to get at the SSD and wireless chip – a feature we've never seen on a tablet.

Venue 11 pro
The removable panels mean there is more scope of upgrading your tablet

The rear is made from soft-touch plastic that looks good and feels comfortable, and the rest of the Venue is hewn from magnesium alloy, which means excellent build quality. This is a rare tablet with a full-sized USB 3 port, and it's also got micro-HDMI and microSD slots.

Dell also sells several accessories designed to complement this machine. The most exciting is the Tablet Keyboard, which has a laptop-style typing unit and a second battery that's almost as big as the Venue's main power pack. The cheaper Slim Keyboard mimics Microsoft's Surface Pro 2, which has a similar design with a fabric covering and smaller plastic keys.

Venue 11 pro with keyboard
The Tablet Keyboard comes with it's own battery which is perfect for working on the go.

A desktop dock adds three USB 3 ports, several display outputs and a Gigabit Ethernet socket, and there's also a Stylus – but that's not yet available in the UK.

The downside of the Dell's versatile design and broad range of accessories is that this is never a slim or light machine no matter how it's configured. When it's used as a tablet this model weighs 772g and is 13mm from front to back, which is heavier than the Nokia Lumia 2520, with only the 910g Surface Pro 2 proving bulkier.

The situation doesn't improve when those accessories are added. The Slim Keyboard only adds a couple of hundred grams and a few millimetres, but the larger Tablet Keyboard brings the total weight and thickness to 1.57kg and 22mm – as much as a bulky Ultrabook.

Tech Specs

Product TypeUltrabook/Tablet
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD Graphics
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time10 Hour
Solid State Drive Capacity256 GB
HDMIYes
Product FamilyVenue 11 Pro
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformWindows
Processor Modeli5-4300Y
ColourBlack
Operating SystemWindows 8.1 Pro
Brand NameDell
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed1.60 GHz
Processor TypeCore i5
Screen Size27.4 cm (10.8")
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Standard Memory8 GB
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Memory Card ReaderYes
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyIn-plane Switching (IPS) Technology
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Memory StandardDDR3-1600/PC3-12800
Width297.7 mm
Depth176.8 mm
Screen ModeFull HD
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
ManufacturerDell, Inc
Product NameVenue 11 Pro Ultrabook/Tablet
Product LineVenue 11 Pro
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number462-3519
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.dell.co.uk
Marketing InformationVersatile productivity

Switch easily between desktop, laptop and tablet modes for a more flexible and versatile tablet experience. The Venue 11 Pro delivers the portability of a tablet, power of an Ultrabook™ and experience of a desktop.

Access. Share. Connect.

Engineered to impress: The high-resolution 10.8" Full HD (1080p) display allows you to be productive anytime and anywhere. Delivering wide viewing angles the Venue 11 Pro is perfect for multi-tasking, creating stunning presentations or watching your favorite High Definition movie.
Package Contents
  • Venue 11 Pro Ultrabook/Tablet
  • Standard Battery
  • AC Adapter