Today I had the chance to finally get some “ME” time with several Windows 8.1 tablets, namely the Asus T100, Dell Venue 8 Pro, Dell Venue 11 Pro and the HP Omni 10. As much as I want a 10 inch tablet I simply can’t fathom getting one and I really really fought with my self over the Venue 11 pro but in the end I picked up the Dell Venue 8 Pro based on the cost as well as how much punch was packed into that cost. It’s that good, more so considering what you get with it compared to the Surface 2 Pro cost-wise.
The Dell Venue 8 Pro for those not familiar with the unit is a 8 inch Windows 8.1 based tablet which is a step above Microsoft’s tablet OS, Windows RT which is nice but is fairly limited if you use applications that aren’t in Microsoft’ store as RT applications are not x86 compatible and much be compiled for ARM based processors which Windows RT tablets use. The unit comes with a 8 inch IPS LED screen (1280 x 800), an Intel Atom Z3740D (Baytrail) processor, 2GB of DDR3 on-b0ard memory, 32GB or 64GB of storage, a Micro-SD slot that allows up to 128GB for storage, Intel HD GPU, 1.2 MP front / 5MP back camera and a Micro USB slot. Lastly it also supports wireless 802.11 a/g/n, Bluetooh 4.0 and Miracast with substitutes for the lack of an HDMI output. It also comes in black or red, with the red versions shipping after the end of 2013.
I had a nice conversation with several of the Microsoft store employees about the Surface 2 and the Venue and they’ve had nothing but good things to say about the Venue line. In the end I picked up the Venue 8 Pro since they were out of the Venue 11 Pro. Also got them to give it to me for $249.99 since Office Depot is selling them for that price until 12/28.
I have to say that I’m really impressed with the tablet, more so with Windows 8.1 and that’s coming from someone who’s used nothing but Android tablets since they were available. The screen is very crisp and bright even though the resolution is lower than a Nexus 7 (which I carry with me everywhere) and the tablet is very responsive thanks to the Intel Baytrail processor.
Still not used to a Windows based tablet as I keep using Android gestures such as the home key and I do miss having dual speakers like the Nexus 7 but other than that the Venue 8 Pro is a solid tablet. I still have concerns about the Windows (Mobile) ecosystem such as apps and accessories, I’d love to see a docking keyboard similar to what ZAGG (ZAGGKeys) offers for the iPad mini to come out. I think Dell has one coming out but other than a picture a brief description it’s not very clear as to how it’s going to function. Another winner is native flash support. Sure people are saying flash is dead and both Apple / Google no longer support flash on their tablets but until all websites on the internet get rid of flash in favor of HTML5, I’ll say that flash still has sometime to go. Let alone several websites i’ve created that requires flash, so this was a welcomed addition when looking at the tablet against my beloved Nexus 7 (2nd generation).
Still I dislike the fact that it doesn’t have a HDMI port nor does it have a USB port, but you can get around that with an Micro USB OTG to USB adapter.
For $249.99 you can’t beat this and it’s full Windows! I plan on doing a review of the unit after the Christmas break.
*Tablet purchased was the 32GB version of the Dell Venue 8 Pro, does not include a case or stylus. Currently Microsoft is offering $25 dollars in Microsoft Windows store credit with purchase of a Windows 8 tablet.*