Phablets have taken a bit of shine out of the pint sized tablets (read: 7-inchers) but that doesn’t mean no takers for tablets. The 8-inch display suddenly seem to be the right size for a tablet, bigger than the phablets and still compact than the 10-inch displays. It covers a good middle ground. And that is what Dell Venue 8 offers at a price that might not burn a hole in your pocket.
The Dell Venue is a dark, black slab unassuming and bland atleast on the front like most of the Android blocks out there. The LCD display comes with a 1,920 x 1,200 pixels resolution and the the screen measures 8 inches diagonally that translates into a 16:10 aspect ratio, which is slightly unusual for tablets, most of which are 16:9 or 4:3 but I found it to be good. A thick bezels surrounds the Venue 8’s screen.
At our review desk, we have the Dell Venue (model 3840) and let me take you through the device and my take on the tablet.
The textured, narrow circular grooves on the back panel that spread out from the Dell logo, add grip and styling to an otherwise generic tablet design. It’s quiet refreshing and adds a dash of individuality.
On the same side on the other end, you find the slit that conceals the microSD and SIM slot. The slit is quiet a pain to open with bare fingers unless you have a good nail.
Along the bottom, lies the tablet’s stereo speaker positioned off-right.
The Venue 8’s 283ppi density display delivers bright and crisp visuals even when you press your nose to the screen. The colours appear pleasingly saturated, offers good contrasts and lively reproduction, in short, the Venue 8 doesn’t disappoint in the display front.
Under the hood of the Venue 8 lies one of Intel’s Merrifield Atom SoCs. The 1.33GHz Atom Z3470 CPU sports a tweaked version of Intel’s Bay Trail architecture, and features two processor cores capable of boosting from 1.33GHz to 2.13GHz. Alongside, a PowerVR G6400 GPU takes on graphics duties, and Dell has mated Intel’s hardware with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of eMMC storage. Out of the box, you get 10.58GB user available.
On the software side, the Venue 8 comes with Android 4.4 Kitkat OS. It’s a near-clean version of the Android feels comfortable and right at home with the Dell Venue 8, there is the familiar clock widget in the lock screen and the home screen has seven shortcut icons at the bottom. Swiping down from the top left takes you to the notification drawer where you also gets the built-in MaxxAudio quick settings. Swiping down from the right, opens the quick access settings panel.
There are three on-screen soft navigational keys on the bottom that lets you go back, return home and see all open apps.
Dell has included many pre-installed apps like Dell cast for to screen cast to a monitor or TV, MaxxAudio, Polaris office 5, Skitch, Evernote, Dropbox, PocketCloud ( an app allows you to connect your tablet to your Mac or PC)
On the performance scale, the Venue 8 behaves well while browsing and watching movies. It handled well the fullHD movies. When playing heavy games like GTA2 or Asphalt, though it had difficulty with the frame rates and a marginal lag was noticeable. Quiet a few times, the apps crashed, which doesn’t bade well of the performance. For the money, it delivers fairly well.
You can also set up various user profiles and also choose to have restricted profiles which gives access to choosen apps and content that has been assigned to the profile. This comes handy when you handover the tablet to a guest or you want just a few set of apps for your kids to access.
I would be the last person to take pictures or make calls with a tablet but with Venue 8 you can do both. Though the Venue 8 (Model 3840) is stated to be a LTE device but it doesn’t support the Indian 4G band. Though, you can use a 3G SIM and it supports voice calls. The call quality is decent enough.
The camera set up includes a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front camera. There is no flash nor auto focus. It delivers modest pictures. The images suffer from over-exposure and lacks a lively feel to it. For video calls and Skype, the camera is handy. Check out the sample pictures below.
On a final note, Dell Venue 8 (2014) makes for a good mid-range tablet that will serve up all your favorite videos in full HD. Additionally, you can also make video calls if you buy the voice-supported device. I would give the Venue 8, a decent marks for media consumption. It is not blazing fast or feature-rich but a value for money especially for media consumption.