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Dell Venue 8 Pro review

Can 8-inch tablets bring more consumers to the Windows 8 fold?

Our Verdict

If you need a Windows machine for working, this is a good bet – but consider whether you need Windows at all.

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1280 x 800
  • Processor Core : Quad-core (4 Core)
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel

View full specification

For

  • Bright screen; tough exterior; expandable storage; reasonable battery life

Against

  • Sluggish performance; not much storage space; poor speakers; middling screen resolution
Ratings in depth
Design 4.5
Features 4.5
Performance 3.5
Usability 4
Value 4

Business tablets never feel quite right when using iOS, Windows RT or Android, but Windows 8.1 is a much better fit – the full-fat version of Microsoft's OS can run desktop software, and these machines often come with more powerful specifications than their business counterparts.

The Venue 8 Pro is the latest in a growing band of smaller tablets that run Microsoft's latest OS, and it looks like Dell's machine will be a contender.

For starters, it's crammed with business-friendly features: support for Dell's Active Stylus makes work and navigation easier, there's expandable storage, dual-band Wi-Fi, one of Intel's latest processors and a wide variety of accessories and service options.

The physical design is suitably subtle, too. The Venue 8 Pro is clad in soft-touch plastic with a low-key pattern of concentric circles on the rear, and its screen is surrounded by a familiar glossy black bezel. It doesn't stand out as much as its rivals, but we've not got any issues with the Venue 8's exterior: this is a sturdy, well-made bit of kit that'll easily withstand a few knocks.

The price, crucially, also looks right. Venue 8 Pro tablets start at £249, and a more expensive model costs £329 – here, storage is doubled to 64GB and a mobile broadband SIM is included, although it's locked to O2 and you'll need to pay for your own data.

Both configurations can be customised with numerous warranty options alongside theft and damage protection, all of which will help businesses. Dell also produces a wireless keyboard, folio and rugged cases and a stylus, although the latter is temporarily unavailable.

The Venue 8 Pro combines a compelling feature set with a tempting price, but this market is becoming increasingly crowded. Acer has already debuted a Windows 8.1-inch tablet with an 8-inch screen, and the Iconia W4 can be bought for around £250 – not far off the cheapest Venue 8 Pro. We've also been hands-on with the Lenovo ThinkPad 8, which was debuted at CES and includes a Full HD screen as well as a reassuring ThinkPad design.

Elsewhere, Dell has to contend with hybrid systems like the Asus Transformer T100, which has a detachable screen alongside a physical keyboard, and Microsoft's own Surface Pro 2 – a high-quality 10-inch device that comes with a familiar fabric-covered keyboard.

Tablet

And, outside of the Windows ecosystem, the Venue faces stiff competition from two of the best small tablets on the market. Apple's iPad mini has the best selection of apps around and now comes with a high-resolution Retina screen, and the Nexus 7 has similarly impressive hardware – and it starts at less than £200, depending on storage capacity.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNet-tablet PC
Flash Memory Capacity32 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD Graphics
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Product FamilyVenue 8 Pro
Operating System Architecture32-bit
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformWindows
Operating System LanguageEnglish
Processor ModelZ3740D
ColourBlack
Operating SystemWindows 8.1, Windows 8.1 (English)
Brand NameDell
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed1.33 GHz
Processor TypeAtom
Screen Size20.3 cm (8")
Number of Cells2-cell
Screen Resolution1280 x 800
Standard Memory2 GB
Weight (Approximate)394.6 g
Cache2 MB
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Memory Card ReaderYes
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyIn-plane Switching (IPS) Technology
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Height8.9 mm
Width215.9 mm
Depth130 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3L SDRAM
ManufacturerDell, Inc
Product NameVenue 8 Pro Net-tablet PC
Product LineVenue 8 Pro
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part Number665998662
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.dell.co.uk
Marketing InformationBig-picture productivity in a compact tablet.

Crystal-clear touch screen: Witness impeccable detail on the 8" HD 800p display and navigate with a tap, slide, swipe or pinch on the multi-touch screen. Share HD thrills with wide viewing angles that allow multiple viewers to see HD content in stunning detail, simultaneously.

Front and rear cameras: Take great photos and shoot video with the 1.2 MP front-facing lens or video chat with the 5 MP rear-facing camera.
Package Contents
  • Venue 8 Pro Net-tablet PC
  • Standard Battery
  • AC Adapter