Review by Sunetra Chakravati,10/29/2015 11:29:21 AM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Great battery life | Fab screen | premium looks
Design is not ergonomic | Camera very iffy | Internal memory only 16GB
It is an absolutley stunningly thin device with a goreous screen to boot. With a thickness of a mere 6mm, it gives the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 at 5.6mm a run for its svelte money and is by what seems like miles is slimmer than the iPad Air by 1.5mm.
The machined aluminium body is undulating and envelopes the edges to meet the display at the front. The matt effect slate grey device feels really premium and obviously takes no prints. Beautifully constructed, I dare you not to go 'wow' when you unbox it.
Dell have gone for almost no bezels on three sides with a chunky end with the speaker grille underneath which is almost 3/4 of an inch and also has the massive lens of the first camera (there are three!). The bezel coupled with the speaker bit makes it very easy to hold it even though you will be either leaving a print on the lens or covering the speaker.
When you hold the tablet in portrait mode, the power button is on the top left with the volume toggle just beneath it. On the lower right side is the SD card tray which will take a card upto 512GB.
Light enough for holding in one hand at 305gms, the Venue 8 is surprisingly easy to stretch your palm across the back of, if you dont want to keep covering the lens.
A resounding yes to that question. Intel's RealSense camera tech means you will be left cratching your head on how you are covering it with your fingers...
Apart from the tiny lens in the middle of the broad black glass strip at the bottom of the tablet, the slim black line about a quater of the way up its back hides two additional cameras on its two corners.
The main snapper is an 8-MP one with the two assistant cameras at 720p. When you focus you are able to see two more views of what you want to take pictures of and after the picture has been clicked, it is in the Dell post-processing suite that the magic happens so you are able to refocus on specific ofjects in the image. The results are middling to rubbish.
I expected something along the lines of the HTC One M8's dual camera or something like ZTE Axon Elite's dual cameras but was left frustrated and baffled by it. The quality of images on the 'Depth Shot' mode reminded me of the pictures I used to take on my first camera phone, a Sony Ericsson. And that wasnt the only problem. It is almost impossible to hold the tablet in a way that doesnt cover one of the three cameras when trying to take a picture using the said mode.
However, if you eschew using these unrealistic and frankly rubbish bells and whistles and just use the individual shot mode then you shoudl be okay. But here is the real reason why it isnt the end of the world that the camera on this tablet isnt absolutely sparkling. Cameras are for smartphones and phablets, not tablets. Tablets should ideally not have any rear cameras just front facing ones for video calls and Skyping. And the front facing camera on this tablet at 2-MP works just fine.
The stunning display will almost take your breath away. It is a 8.4-inch AMOLED display giving you an incredible resolution of 2560x1600 with a 359ppi. As soon as you fire up the tablet, it becomes obvious that this is no ordinary display.
Dell Live Wallpapers give a parralax effect which further enhances and the lifts up the sharpness of the screen with its almost 3D capabilities. I recently reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 and that has one godawesome screen and this one is comparable to that. Contrasts are perfect, blacks are rich and velvety, apart from the whites having a slight yellow tinge, the screen is perfect for watching downloaded content off BBC iPlayer or even streaming off Netflix.
Furthermore, the speaker at the bottom of the tablet is robust and perfect for relaying crisp sound from pot-boilers you choose to watch in bed.
Another major consideration while playing media is battery life. The Dell Venue 8 does very very well in this respect. Dell promise upto 9.5 hours of battery life and during my tests, it went much further. Standby time is about 18 days, so the tablet says and it barely lost 10 percent of juice during an hour of playing Youtube content over Wifi with 100 percent brightness.
The tablet was unveiled at an Intel Developer forum and so obviously is powered by Intel's Atom Z3580 with 2GB RAM and PowerVR G6430 graphics. Performance was fine and just a tiny bit of stutter while rotating the tablet and switching between apps.
The Dell Venue still has Android 5.1 onboard and comes replete with some preinstalled apps including Dell's galary app, Dropbox, Maxxaudio, the speaker app, McAfee Security and Skitch. I tried to remove them but all I could do was disable them, of the 16Gb available, you get about 9GB for use but the expandable memory via microSD means you can have an additional 512GB on there too.
Dell's android tablet is one of the best I have seen in the market till date. The screen and display is fabulous, the device can be comfortably held one-handed and sound is crisp. The camera is seriously iffy but I doubt many people use their tablets as their principal cameras, and the ones taken on the Venue 8 should suffice for social media sharing. Yes, the lens could have been sited better and am not a massive fan of the lop-sided design but on the whole it is a neat little device which I will be very happy to consume media off during my commute.
It isn't the cheapest, but it definitely is one of the slimmest and for form factor alone, it deserves rich praise. I, personally, cannot wait for Dell's next tablet now.
Price: From £349
Operating System: Android 5.0.2
Size: 6 x 124.4 x 215.8mm
Display: 8.4 inch OLED Display with FHD
Resolution: 2560x1600 resolution with 10-pt capacitive touch
Processor: Intel® Atom™ Processor Z3580 (2M Cache, up to 2.3 GHz)
RAM: 2GB LP DDR3
Camera: Dual lens 83MP, 2MP
Memory via SD: Upto 512GB
Misc: Micro-B USB2.0; Headphone and microphone combo jack; Media Card Reader; Bluetooth 4.0