Can the revamped Venue 8 show that Dell has learnt from its previous tablet mistakes?
You’d be hard pressed to find any noticeable aesthetic differences between the new Dell Venue 8 and its predecessor, but then again, it would be diffi cult to differentiate this from nearly any other tablet on the market. The bleak black 8-inch exterior has been tried and tested by nearly every Android manufacturer, but it’s a safe bet which Dell knows potential users will like. Around the back there’s a nice matte fi nish that makes the tablet feel good, but it’s a little on the heavy side and fairly chunky as well.
Turning on the device reveals a crisp 1920×1200 display that is both beautiful to look at and also highly responsive. Although Dell hasn’t included a custom skin, it isn’t pure Android4.4.4, and there are several signs that the tablet is business orientated. There are a number of work-related apps pre-installed, but sadly none of them can be uninstalled, which wouldn’t be a problem if users got the 16GB of internal storage advertised. Instead there’s only 10GB readily available. There’s a microSD slot on the side of the device that works with cards up to 64GB, however. Another app Dell has decided to include is MaxxAudio; it’s surprisingly good at perfecting the sound emitting from the small speaker located at the bottom of the device, but a second speaker would have really helped it stand out. All of this sounds great, but you need a decent battery to keep it going.
The mammoth 4550mAh battery does exactly that and will last you a couple of days on medium use. Dell’s history in laptop manufacturing means users can once again enjoy the power of the Intel Atom chip, in this case the Z3480, alongside 1GB of RAM. Although you might think it would be slower, due to the fact it’s only a dual-core processor clocked at 2.1GHz, it’s lightning quick. No matter what task you undertake on the Venue 8, the processor easily powers through it and it trumps nearly every budget tablet we’ve previously tested.
The processing power also helps keep the default Camera app from experiencing any sort of lag, which we’ve become accustomed to with similarly priced tablets. Quality isn’t the best from the 5-megapixel rear-facing offering and there’s no fl ash included, but it isn’t so bad for occasional use. From what looks like a bland device on the outside, the Dell Venue 8 certainly surprises when turned on. A combination of the powerful Intel processor, a crisp display and a mammoth battery make it a solid, if not spectacular, choice for those on a strict budget .
As a conclusion In terms of performance and usability, the Dell Venue 8 is one of the best budget tablets around