So many superlatives at a time. The Dell Venue 8 7000 is not only the thinnest tablet in the world, but it’s also the first to carry a Real Sense 3D camera from Intel. And because that’s not enough, it probably has the smallest bezel in any tablet in the world. Not to mention, it’s also among the thinnest tablets in the world. Is it worth your cash, though?We have tested the tablet extensively and are ready to tell you all about.
Dell Venue 8 7000 sepcs
- Android 4.4 KitKat (Android 5.0 update promised)
- 8.4-inch OLED display with 2560x1600p resolution
- 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 processor
- 2 GB of RAM
- 16 GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD)
- 8 MP rear-facing camera
- 2 MP front-facing camera
- Intel Real Sense depth camera, 2x720p
- 5900 mAh battery
- 216 x 124 x 6 mm
- 306 grams
Design and build quality
You will be blown away when you first take the Dell Venue 8 7000 out of its box. The tablet is slim and light, but still feels very solid. The aluminum case is awesome, and shows a stability I haven’t seen in a tablet before. nothing cracks or wobbles – the Dell Venue 8 7000 is as stable as a block of aluminum. The back is made of precisely this material, and has a slightly gray shimmer.
In addition to improved build quality, the anodized aluminum has the advantage of making fingerprints practically invisible. On the contrary, the lower piece of glass behind shows is quite the fingerprint magnet. And this happens to be an area the user holds much of the time.
Now let’s talk about the display, which takes over the front when turned on. The front pretty much looks like one huge piece of glass. The design impresses me even after two weeks; holding this tablet in hand is just fun! The nicest thing is that the tablet only weighs 306 grams, which makes the tablet very comfortable to hold for extended periods of time. The glass front is accompanied by a matte plastic strip that houses the front camera and powerful stereo speakers. This positioning is not optimal, but I will get to that later.
I have to admit: the design of the Dell Venue 8 7000 is grandiose and impressive, but it has very clear disadvantages. Also more on that later.
I almost fell over when I turned the display on for the first time. These thin bezels are really unbelievable. Even after more than two weeks of use, turning this device on continues to be an excellent experience.
This tablet comes with a high-resolution OLED panel with a 2560x1600p resolution, roughly the same definition as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4. This means the tablet has a pixel density that competes against the best of the best. Text is amazingly crisp, and even images/videos look amazing in this thing.The color saturation is a bit too strong (something typical of OLED panels), which means those who require accurate color reproduction will be disappointed. Unfortunately, you can not adjust the color saturation, but some of us do like the vibrant colors OLED screens offer. Also, OLED screens typically have excellent viewing angles, so more people can view photos or a video together. Not to mention, those deep blacks are to die for.
We do have to give props to Dell for putting such a bright screen in here. Although I would still not recommend long readings in direct sunlight, the tablet’s brightness is enough to allow you to read an email or two, while navigating your way with Google Maps. It will work great in the shade, though, even for those longer texts.
However, I do have some complaints about the display. The fact that the brightness sensor is located in the lower-left corner means you will be covering it with your hand often. That is exactly where you hold the tablet, in general. As a result, the automatic brightness control will reduce the back light unnecessarily. Annoying.
Another disadvantage of the thin bezels: a mere 4.6 mm separate the display from the edge of the case. This makes it uncomfortable to hold the tablet sometimes, as there is no place for your fingers to grip unless you put them over the screen. That wouldn’t be so bad if the software would recognize accidental touch actions, but this feature is missing in the Dell Venue 8 7000.You get used to it after a few minutes, but it would still be nice to have thumb rejection added.
Although Dell does not offer double-tap to wake, the device does have a feature that turns on the screen when you pick it up. The feature works reliably. The power button must, however, still be pressed to turn it off.
Hardware and performance
Our specific tablet model is the Dell Venue 8 7840, which has a 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 processor and is supported by 2 GB of RAM. In pure hardware performance, we are about on par with the Sony Xperia Tablet Z3 Compact and its Snapdragon 801 SoC. The thing here is that the Dell Venue 8 7000 must push much more pixels.
While games like Modern Combat 5, Real Racing 3 and Dead Trigger 2 run very smooth and display rich detail, performance is still not outstanding. Slight stuttering in the launcher can be seen frequently and scrolling is not very fluid in apps like the Google Play Store. It is not a deal-breaker; however, the price is at €379, placing the tablet in a high-end market where stuttering during casual use is not acceptable. I really hope this is only because of the outdated Android 4.4.4 KitKat version on the Dell Venue 8 7840. An Android 5.0 update is said to be coming, and we hope these issues are fixed then.
The Dell Venue 8 7000 comes with 16 GB of internal storage, but as we all know, users don’t get all that space for themselves. The software seems to be pretty heavy, leaving only 9.12GB available. The memory can be easily expanded with microSD cards, which currently can go up to 200 GB. You do also get 20 GB of Dropbox storage – always welcome.
The toblet obviously supports Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi 802.11ac and even optional LTE, but it does lack NFC. Otherwise, it’s a pretty well-connected device.
The Dell Venue 8 7000 has powerful stereo speakers on the front. Sure, you don’t get the full stereo effect, because the speakers are not far enough apart. Furthermore, if you hold the device in landscape mode all the sound will come from one side. The point here is that the sound is not perfect, but it’s pretty good. Mids and highs are clear with the base being relatively significant. This is quite amazing for a device that is only 6 mm thick. The volume is very good, able to fill a room without getting distortion.
Now, I am not a big fan of equalizers, but MaxxAudio does a great job in the Dell Venue 8 7000. I recommend that you activate it. Both the volume and the perceived volume increase significantly, and listening to music is much more fun. There are four main modes for movies, games, music and conversations.
Since I run a lot of conversations via Skype, the microphone is very important, and those who I live chatted with told me the sound was great. There is also a 3.5 mm headphone jack for all your personal audio needs, though. The headphone quality is decent and you can also use MaxxAudio with it.
The Dell Venue 8 7000 has a total of 4 cameras! However, “only” three are on the back.. What do you need three cameras for? Real Sense is the name of the technology Intel has designed and built for this tablet. Those two smaller 720p cameras measure the depth information, while the third 8MP camera takes the final photo. You can’t see the photo in 3D (and that’s a good thing), but using Real Sense technology can make editing images pretty awesome. Does it work well? Sure, it does… but first things first.
You have to wait about 2 seconds for the camera app to start, after which you are presented with a pretty confusing UI. First Impression? For starters, the lack of bezels makes it a bit hard to take a photo. You can touch the sides more gently, but that just makes me feel like I will drop the tablet any second. Let’s move past that. This UI is confusing! You get three viewfinders, which include two small views of the Real Sense cameras. What is this even for?! Also, if you cover any of the cameras you get a warning, which I guess could be more helpful. Aside from these couple complaints, the camera interface is nicely cleared up. Oh, and you can not focus in this mode, but you can do so later.
- Background black and white? Foreground colors? No big deal. You can do this with filters and adjustments for brightness, contrast, saturation, etc. only on the areas of your choice.
- Length? Measure distances and determine areas. Unfortunately, it’s only in American units. Really, Dell? No metric system?!
- Dat bokeh! You can move the focus and make certain elements sharp, while bluring others.
Except for the distance measurement, this is nothing new. These features were already on the HTC One M8 . Regardless, it would be quite fun if it worked well. My issue is that the camera often leaves the things I want to focus… out of focus. The coolest part is probably size measurements, but it can be completely off sometimes. In fact, when I first saw a demo of this they showed me a sample with a Subway sandwich, which read 12 inches. We all know Subway lies about their foot-long sandwiches, which are actually 11 inches. .
The image quality of the main camera is average. Colors look natural, but images lack a bit of sharpness and dynamic range. Either way, the camera is still usable. What is quite disappointing is the front-facing shooter. Selfies are nearly unusable and dark (even in well lit rooms).
The Dell Venue 8 7000 runs Android 4.4.4 KitKat. It’s a bit outdated, but an update to Android 5.0 lollipop should be available soon. Luckily, the UI is still pretty much just as good. The launcher, the notification screen and the quick settings are stock Android, and that is a good thing. They have added a few apps, though, which include the camera, gallery. Dell Cast and Dell Live Wallpaper apps. Also, McAffee antivirus software and Dropbox have been included.
With Android you can, of course, take advantage of the Google Play Store an everything it has to offer. There’s really not much more to say about the software. It does what a tablet should do, and we are glad Dell went with this decision. Vanilla Android is fun, clean, fast and simple.
It’s impressive that Dell was able to squeeze a 5900 mAh battery in this 6 mm body. We are dealing with a true long-distance runner here. About 12 hours of video playback are easily achievable, which is sufficient for a long-haul flight from Amsterdam to Taipei. Those who only use the tablet for reading, surfing and listening to music for a bit will get multiple days of battery life. Impressive!
The Sony Xperia Tablet Z3 Compact holds a little longer, but also has a smaller screen and a slightly thicker body. You have no idea how great the Dell Venue 8 7000 is; it just runs and runs. You can easily take it on an extended weekend trip without a charger. And even if you do have to charge, it can get to 100% in just about 3 hours (with the included charger).
The Dell Venue 8 7840 is €379, so it is about €40 over the iPad mini 2 with 32GB memory. Although one should not ignore the fact that the Venue 8 has expandable memory, it’s hard to compete against a monster like Apple. Furthermore, Android competitors such as the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact and Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 are priced significantly lower, but don’t offer the same design and features.
The Dell Venue 8 7000 is a great Android tablet that impresses us with its modern design (even though it does have its weaknesses). The Real Sense camera is more of a gimmick. I mean – who even uses a tablet camera?
Those who buy the Dell Venue 8 7000 won’t purchase it for its camera or thinness, really. The real incentive is that it is pretty much the best Android tablet around: it has a perfectly solid build quality, a super sharp display and a long battery life. It’s the winner in the Android market, and there is no doubt about it.
This review was translated by Edgar Cervantes. The original review was published in German over at MobileGeeks.de.