Dell has been making tablets even before they were “cool”. Even though many of their offerings have failed to hit it big in the market, things may take a turn for the better with the introduction of the Dell Venue 8 Series 7000, which also happens to be the thinnest Android tablet in the world.
Announced last year at the Intel Developer Forum, the Venue 8 Series 7000 is just 6mm thick, making it thinner than both the iPad Mini 3 and the iPad Air 2. The device has a clean look with a USB port and a Micro SD slot, along with the power and volume keys. It comes with Intel’s RealSense technology which gives it more pizzazz when compared to many of its competitors.
RealSense is a technology developed by Intel which uses two 720p sensors along with an 8MP camera on the back panel to give photos more depth and clarity. But hey, let’s get to that a bit later, shall we?
The tablet is priced at $399 for the 16GB version. Unfortunately, there are no other memory options currently available. The price is comparable to that of the 16GB iPad Mini 3 and has similar performance and features. Its closest Android competition is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and the NVidia Shield tablet. The Dell’s styling and unique features should allow it to hold its own in the highly competitive segment.
The Dell runs of Android KitKat 4.4 and is expected to be upgraded to Lollipop 5.0 soon. There isn’t a lot of bloatware on it; however there are preloaded apps which are designed to help you better use the tablet’s capabilities.
The Venue 8 Series 7000 looks like it could be really good tablet. The design is modern and sleek (even the speaker in the lower portion of the front bezel looks good) and comes with all the usual features – and the addition of RealSense does make me very interested. It’s competitively priced, but the lack of a 32GB option is a bit disappointing.
The Venue 8 is powered by a quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 SoC which is clocked at 2.3GHz along with 2GB DDR3L RAM and a PowerVR G6430 GPU. Even though the tablet is outperformed by some of its more powerful competitors like the NVidia Shield and the Google Nexus 9, it still delivers decent performance and is both responsive and smooth.
Even though the tablet generally runs without any problems, it does lag a bit when downloading apps from the Play Store or when changing the screen orientation. However, it is not enough to be a deal-breaker.
- Bluetooth 4.0
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
- Accelerometer, Compass, Proximity Sensor
- 3G/LTE variants
- Memory expandable up to 512GB
The 8.4 inch OLED display has 361 pixels-per-inch and has a resolution of 2560×1600. While not hitting Retina display levels, the screen is very clear and produces a vibrant array of colors. HD content looks clear and sharp, and watching movies is a wonderful experience.
Finally, the good stuff!
Let’s face it; taking photos using a tablet camera is not a great experience. With the Venue 8 7000, Dell is looking to turn things around and make photography a breeze.
Sure, the RealSense stereophonic camera system might seem like a gimmick. But it does work well! The three cameras (the main 8MP shooter and two 720p sensor) work together when taking a picture to provide a sense of depth. This allows you to do some nifty little things using the preloaded software, which includes changing the focal point AFTER the image has been taken.
Depth perception, however, is limited to 10 meters. But, if you take a photo inside the limit, the extra information stored by the sensors allows you to measure the dimensions of the object. For example, you can measure the dimensions of your couch, just by taking a photo of it. Nifty!
Even though RealSense is a great technology and can the useful, the camera, on the whole, is not without its flaws. Photo quality is not great and becomes worse if the light is low or uneven. But, it’s not surprising since many tablet cameras have such problems.
Dell claims that the Venue 8 Series 7000 will run for about 10 hours before running out of charge. On a full charge, it could survive a couple of days of light to heavy use.
- Thin and light with great looks.
- Bright, vibrant screen.
- Depth-sensing camera is a niche, but useful, feature.
- Excellent battery life.
- Image quality is not that great.
- Heats up after prolonged use.
- Photo-editing software is not very easy to use.
Most modern tablets have crystal-clear screens, high-end components and have a sleek design – and the Dell Venue 8 Series 7000 does not disappoint. It looks great, is currently the Thinnest Tablet in the World, and is reasonably priced. In RealSense, it also has a nifty (and often useful) feature than none of its competitors can boast of either. Unless you are looking for an out-and-out performer, this tablet can be a great buy.