The tablet segment is becoming too big for anyone to ignore, even the larger players in the PC game. So when Dell finally launched Android tablets aimed at regular consumers, we had to check it out. The new Dell Venue 8 is among the first 8-inch tablets to hit the Indian market.
Quick Tech Specs: 8-inch IPS Display with HD (WXGA 1280 x 800 pixels) | 2GHz Intel Atom Z2580 processor | 2GB RAM | 32GB storage + microSD slot (up to 128GB) | 5MP rear camera + 2MP front camera | 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.0 + GPS | 4100mAh battery | Android 4.2.2
Design: If you remember the Dell Streak, then it won’t take you long to realise where this design story is coming from. In fact, the Dell Venue has the same look and feel as the Streak, which was the precursor of the phablet segment that is all the rage at the moment. The back panel feels solid in a carbon finish with a chrome Dell logo. But the tablet is also quite thin at 9.5mm and weighs just 350 grams. So you can use it comfortably and carry it where you go. The way the volume and power buttons are crafted shows the difference in build quality when compared to some of the cheap tablets available in the market.
Screen: The HD screen is good, though we felt that it reflects the background in certain angles. But it is bright enough to work well outdoors too. The HD screen is really complemented by the amazing audio quality, which is among the best we have found in any tablet. So this makes the Venue 8 a good device to watch movies and videos as well as play games with.
Performance: The tablet performs reasonably well and there would be nothing to complain about. But having used some high-specced devices like the Xolo Tegra Play Note in the recent weeks the Venue feels like a horse that has been fettered. But that is only when you try and push the device to its limits, something most of us seldom do. The benchmark scores are good and places this tablet in the upper middle class of Android devices. Multi-tasking is smooth and so is gaming. We also did not experience any heating up even while playing games for long durations.
Memory: No issues on this front, as the 32GB of built-in memory and rare 128GB support in the microSD slot are among the best you can get.
Connectivity: Dell will soon start selling a version of the Dell Venue 8 with 3G and we suggest that could be a better option for those who need to use this one on the move. For others, this connectivity options in the present version are good enough for regular use.
Software: The Android is as plain vanilla as it can be and we love that. There is just one additional software and that is the Pocket Cloud, which is a good value add.
Camera: The 5MP camera is very deceptive. That is because the image showing on the screen when you are composing a shot does not appear very promising. But the final results are better. This could be an issue if you are using a camera-oriented app like a virtual scanner. I wouldn’t buy this device for its camera. The front camera is good enough for you to make good Skype calls.
Battery: The Dell Venue 8 can give six hours of solid works and about five hours of video playback at full volume. That is decent.
Verdict: Buy the Dell Venue 8 if you are looking for a durable Android tablet that will come with the kind of support you can expect while buying a PC. The Venue 8 is reasonably priced at 17,499 and is definitely a good buy at that price. We would , however, wait a month or so for the 3G version of the tablet to hit the market.