Dell Venue 8 Pro is a great device with great hardware but lacks the right kind of OS. Windows 8 has not received a very good response on even the PC front what to talk about the tablets and smartphones. So on the very start we would like to tell you that go for this device only if you like Windows 8 or if you have fallen for it’s good looks otherwise look somewhere else. Dell Venue Pro feels premium in hands and comes with pre-installed Windows 8 which can be updated to Windows 8.1 quite easily.
Although Nexus 7 and Apple iPad’s still rule the tablet world but this tablet will appeal to tech enthusiasts and Windows 8 lovers. Dell Venue Pro 8 weighs 395 grams a tad heavier than iPad Mini (331 grams). The difference in weight is not that much but you may get to feel it if you hold it for a longer duration. Venue Pro’s back has a pattern which gives it a very good grip and reduces the chances of accidental slips. Now let us review this device and decide if this holds any water in front of Nexus 7 and iPad.
Dell Venue 8 pro is a pretty big device and it’s display measures a good 8 inches diagonally and add to that somewhat thick bezels all around it. It feels relatively lighter in hand given it’s huge 8 inch display at 395 grams and gives a good grip due to a pattern found at the back side as has been explained earlier in this post. The most surprising element of design we found is a Windows or Home Button found at the top of this device. In all the Apple, Android and even windows tablets we usually find one at the bottom of the screen. So getting accustomed to a home button at the top may take some time and may even feel awkward at times. Volume rocker and power buttons have been placed on the right side of the device as has been the norm. Overall the device’s built gave us a premium, compact and light feel in hand.
This is the most important part especially for a tablet as it is mostly used for watching movies and playing games. A crisp and clear display with good resolution is required to qualify as a good tablet and we can comfortably say that Venue Pro’s display has decent resolution of 1280X800 pixels coupled with a wide 180 degree viewing angles. Both of these features will make your movie and gaming experience really pleasurable! The only problem we found is that it’s screen is quite reflective and we can’t use it while it is facing the light source such as a bulb CFL etc.
Windows 8 is a big turn off for large number of prospective buyers which comes pre-loaded in this device. As you know Windows 8 has two modes, first is classic desktop mode (with start menu, taskbar etc) and the other comes with modern tile based user interface or UI. The desktop mode can’t be used until we install a keyboard and mouse along with this device and it is really messy to work with most of the windows app in this mode on tablet. We used and found the tile based modern mode to be more effective and easier to use. In fact Windows 8 was initially designed keeping in mind the touchscreen devices like tablets, smartphones and hybrid PC’s. So it is not surprising to know that tile based UI works flawlessly in this device.
Another issue we found is that we need to press a virtual button each time to activate the virtual keyboard, which is not the case in other OS’s like Android and iOS. However Windows 8 allows you to open two apps at the same time. So if you are an avid Facebook user and wants to watch a Youtube video at the same time, then all you need to do is swipe across the screen and other app appears out of nowhere magically!
We didn’t notice any major issues while browsing web, playing games, opening apps other then minor lags sometimes. But these minor lags didn’t led the device to any crash or screen freeze as we usually see in Android powered devices.
Dell Venue 8 Pro retails for INR. 26,499 or US $450 which is not that cheap either. iPad mini with retina display and much better specs is priced at INR 29,000 which is not a big price differential. However, Dell Venue 8 Pro comes with 32 GB of memory while iPad mini has 16 GB of on board memory. On a similar note Google Nexus 7 which boasts of 3G connectivity is available for even less at INR. 25,000.