A Review of the Dell Venue 8 Pro Tablet
I’ve been impressed by the Dell Venue 8 Pro in my use of it these past few months. I recorded my initial impressions here.
This post completes my two-part review of the device by way of a three-question Q and A session. (Leading up to this review I’ve benefited from conversations with R. Mansfield, who knows the Dell Venue 8 Pro–hereafter, DV8P–well.)
How Does the Dell Venue 8 Pro Compare to an iPad?
See… I knew you were going to ask that question! Here are five points of comparison.
First, the iPad still does not allow the user to view and use more than one app on the screen at a time. Why this continues to be the case is unclear to me, but the DV8P lets you have two apps open at once. So you can read an article from your Facebook feed without leaving Facebook. Or you can go to a Web link that pops up in a Kindle book you’re reading, while not having to leave and then navigate back to the Kindle app. Advantage: DV8P.
Second, the DV8P is more compact than a full-sized iPad, but close in dimensions to the iPad Mini. The DV8P is longer and skinnier, by a little bit. Its 8-inch screen size (measured diagonally) just edges out the iPad Mini’s 7.9 inches. To hold it feels about the same as the iPad Mini, though. Advantage: Both.
Third, the Dell Venue Pro is both tablet and personal computer. You can use it as both. You can run full-on Windows programs from the Desktop side, which Apple’s iOS on iPad does not permit.
I love being able to access full-bodied programs on this little tablet. Much as I appreciate Accordance’s iOS mobile app, for example, being able to use the full desktop version–but not having to be at a desktop or laptop–is awesome. Advantage: DV8P.
Fourth, the gesture-based interface of the iPad gives the user more options. Or is more intuitive. Or something. I know “intuitive” is a fuzzy word in software and hardware reviews. Of course, I’m way more used to an iPad than the Dell Venue Pro, but the former is easier to just pick up and tap and swipe your way around. Advantage: iPad Mini.
Finally, battery life on the 8 Pro leaves something to be desired, especially in comparison with the iPad Mini. Battery life when the device is in use is fine, but it does not hold charge very well when it idles/sleeps. If I put the tablet to sleep with full battery life, don’t use it at all for a couple days, then come back to it, it’s completely out of charge. I’ve never had this issue with the iPad mini. (And I’m not the only DV8P user to notice this, either.) Advantage: iPad Mini.
Does it Replace a Computer?
Because you have the computing capabilities of a desktop computer in your hands, one could think about the Dell Venue 8 Pro as a possible replacement for a computer.
With the loaner review unit Dell sent me, they also included a stylus (with a responsive point) and a keyboard. Each of these are essential companions when using Windows and navigating full-bodied programs like Word or Accordance or whatever else. (Not the least reason for which is that the touch points on Windows apps are too small for even tiny fingers.)
Being able to use–on a portable tablet–programs/apps that you could until now have to get to a desktop or laptop to use… is really sweet. If you don’t want to be limited by Android’s environment or iOS apps, the tablet-as-computer could make sense.
However, a limitation is in the memory size. The Dell Venue 8 Pro comes in 32GB or 64GB models, but even the latter is too small to make this your one-and-only computer (think: lots of images and movies stored). The Dell Venue 11 Pro model, however, has a hard drive up to 256 GB, which is definitely workable for making the DVP your only computing device.
Speaking of, here are the specs of the machine (compared to the 11) from Dell:
Does Abram K-J of Words on the Word
Recommend this Device?
I would be too tied to the Apple app ecosystem to be able to move all my work over to the DV8Pro, much as I like the device. I’d have no way to run OmniFocus, for example. Or Nisus Writer Pro. I could easily still access Evernote, and other such apps.
But if you’re already rocking in the Windows free world, with no Mac or iOS-only apps to consider, this small but powerful device is worth looking into. (I can’t say from experience how it compares to the Microsoft Surface.) It’s reasonably priced, too. And while I experienced more learning curve with the Dell Venue 8 Pro than I did when I first picked up an iPad, after a while it becomes intuitive, and convenient to have more computing power than one would expect in a tablet.