"The Dell Venue 8 is an affordable Android tablet that offers solid build and performance."
Dell hasn’t had the most successful time with smartphones and tablets. That’s not for want of trying though. The Dell Streak 5, a precursor to the modern-day phablet, was a smartphone ahead of its time. It was followed by the Streak 7, which also met an untimely demise. Although Dell appeared to have quit the mobile market for a while, the company is back in the game its new line of Android tablets. With a focus on affordability, the Dell Venue range will cater to users who want a functional tablet, without having to shell out the big bucks. The Dell Venue tablets are available in 7 and 8-inch sizes, and we had the latter for review.
As far as tablets go, 8-inches a good size. It offers enough screen real-estate without feeling like an oversized smartphone. That said, if you prefer a more compact form factor, the Venue 7 is a good option, with almost identical specs.
In terms of design, the Venue tablets are unremarkable at best. Dell hasn’t paid much attention to looks, but thankfully hasn’t skimped on quality. The back panel is made of a polycarbonate plastic that’s smooth to the touch, with the only embellishment being a shiny Dell logo embedded in the middle. The 5-meg rear snapper sits on top, but protrudes slightly, which makes it likely to get scratched. The front of the tablet as boring as they come – a thick black bezel bordering the screen, with a 2MP front camera at top centre.
The Venue 8 isn’t the sleekest tablet out there, and feels very bulky compared to the wafer-like Nexus 7 2013. It weighs 292g and measures 9.8mm in girth, but feels reassuringly solid in our hands, unlike many other Android tablets.
Reflective but responsive display
The Venue 8's display gets the minimum HD resolution at 1,280 x 800 pixels, which is standard on most budget tablets. Outdoors and in sunlight, the screen doesn't do so well, but it’s fine to use indoors. However, the screen has a glossy sheen on top, which makes it highly reflective. The Venue 8 was able to handle 720p and 1080p videos well, but is let down by its speaker which can distort sound at higher volumes. Plus, we found that our hands tended to muffle the speaker when holding the tablet in landscape mode, so we’d recommend using headphones. The good news is that the touch sensitivity is smooth and fluid, so you won’t find yourself jabbing at an unresponsive screen.
The Venue 8 doesn’t have any hardware keys, and features on-screen virtual controls instead. The only downside to this is that it takes away some of that 8-inch screen space when using certain apps. The buttons disappear when watching videos and gaming, and videos resize to make up for the extra space.
PocketCloud is a remote-desktop software, which allows you to access your PC or Mac from a mobile device. PocketCloud Explore works slightly differently, letting you access all the files and folders on your computer. Both the apps are useful additions to have on a tablet, are easy to set up and work smoothly.
These are attractive prices coming from a trusted international brand with a reputation for customer support. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0, Acer Iconia A1-811 and Lenovo IdeaTab Yoga 8 offer similar specifications and prices, so in the end it's a matter of personal choice. But if your purse strings are tight, the Venue 7 at Rs 10,999 is a great deal too.