Dell Venue 8 Pro: the Best Windows 8 iPad Mini Competition?

by Radu Tyrsina
Radu Tyrsina
Radu Tyrsina
CEO & Founder
Radu Tyrsina has been a Windows fan ever since he got his first PC, a Pentium III (a monster at that time). For most of the kids of... read more
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Dell’s Windows 8.1 Venue 8 Pro Windows 8.1 tablet is one of the most interesting tablets to consider for buying and we go through the most interesting review to make a conclusion.
dell venue 8 pro reviews
We’ve just finished comparing the Dell Venue 8 Pro with the Lenovo Miix 2 in a battle of cheap, reliable and small-ish Windows 8.1 tablets. Now, it’s time to see what the reviewers are saying about the Dell Venue 8 Pro in order to make a compilation of judgments, if I can say so, from the people who tested the tablet.

What you need to know is that there is confusion between this tablet and the Dell Venue 8 smartphone, so be careful. If you want, you can also have a look at the Dell Venue 8 Pro user manual, as well. A reminder of the specs that Dell Venue 8 Pro comes with can also be found in our vs piece with the Lenovo Miix 2, so we won’t go over that again in detail, so here are the main features:

Dell Venue 8 Pro Specifications

  • 8 inch 1280×800 HD IPS display w Active Digitizer (more on this later)
  • Intel Bay Trail Z3740D 1.33Ghz Quad core CPU with Intel HD graphics
  • 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • 32 or 64GB eMMC storage
  • Office Home and Student 2013
  • Dimensions: 216.2 mm (8.51”) x 130 mm (5.11”) x 9 mm (0.35”); 405g (0.89lb)
  • Ports: Micro USB 2.0, microSD, headphone jack
  • 1.2MP front and 5MP rear cameras

Dell Venue 8 Pro Reviews Roundup

The reviews for the Dell Venue 8 Pro are lengthy and if you’re interested in buying the product, I’m sure you’ve browsed a few of them already. But what I will be focusing here is the conclusion and the wrap-up lines that usually matter when giving your final opinion about a certain product. Here are the ones I found to be the most conclusive.

David Pierce with The Verge found the following strong and weak points

  • Good Stuff – Great price for a Windows tablet, Good battery life, Solid performance
  • Bad Stuff – Broken auto brightness, No Micro HDMI to make use of desktop apps, Bad Windows key placement

Dell’s Venue 8 Pro is the best Windows competition for the iPad mini, but it’s still far from matching Apple’s tablet. The out of box experience of the display dimming is unforgivable in a modern device, and Dell’s odd decision to place a Windows key at the top of the tablet is equally puzzling. The lack of Windows 8 apps holds this type of device back somewhat, but the potential is promising. Microsoft has laid some solid foundations with Windows 8.1, and will let you read, surf, listen to music, and watch movies. That’s really what these types of tablets are about: consumption.

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Paul Thurott from Winsupersite:

I really hoped to offer something definitive about this well-made device, to be able to issue some kind of a general recommendation that could stand up to deeper scrutiny. But the Dell Venue 8 Pro is a victim of the Windows Store interface and a few strange design decisions, and while some will take no issue with either, many will. And you need to be aware of the limitations. I like this device quite a bit. It pretty much proves that a Windows mini-tablet can work, and work well. Can I recommend it? Not without caveats, and without a discussion of those ecosystem issues.

But yes, this is a high-quality machine, and it has me wondering now about its bigger brother, the Dell Venue 11 Pro, which comes in a low-end version that features innards similar to the Venue 8 Pro. I also has me wondering about competing Windows 8-based mini-tablets like the Lenovo Miix 2 and Toshiba Encore. Perhaps it’s time to look at one of those next.

Ef Jay with UmpcPortal:

In summary, the Dell feels more like a regular, full powered PC than a tablet built for casual usage. Tasks execute quickly, with the exception of things like installing programs or unzipping files since that is still dependent on relatively slow eMMC storage but once programs are installed working with them and navigating round the OS feels responsive and fast in such a way that you do not feel you are using a budget system.

Only a side by side comparison with a more powerful PC will expose the Dell’s limitations but in isolation it could easily work as a main system for work processing, web browsing and even some light PC gaming. Compared to Atom devices of old including those that launched with Windows 8, the Dell Venue 8 Pro and other Bay Trail tablets are a much better and satisfying experience and finally realize the dream of having a full PC in your hand without compromising on performance, portability or battery life.

Preston Gralla from ComputerWorld

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced, well-performing Windows 8.1 tablet, the Dell Venue 8 Pro is the one to get. Given its size, it’s suitable only as a tablet and won’t do double-duty as an ultrabook, as the far more expensive Surface Pro 2 with keyboard can. If an 8-inch screen isn’t big enough for you, you might want to consider the $500 Dell Venue 11 Pro, which comes with a 1920-x-1080-pixel 10.8-in. screen, can handle up to 8GB of memory and up to 256GB of storage, has a 2-megapixel front-facing and an 8-megapixel back-facing camera, and includes a full USB 3.0 port as well as a Mini HDMI port. The Venue 8 Pro may not be quite perfect — but let’s face it, $300 won’t buy you perfection. However, it will buy you a quite good Windows 8.1 tablet, and that’s great news for Windows lovers.

Read Also: New Windows 8.1 Toshiba Ultrabook has an Amazing Battery Life of 22 Hours

Now, after reading these reviews, no doubt I am going to include it on my short list of Windows 8 tablets for this holiday. What about you?