When most PC manufacturers such as HCL and HP have forayed into the world of tablets, it is quite surprising then that Dell took such as long time. Every PC manufacturer worth its name is trying to break into other tech areas in order to cover for the declining PC industry and Dell is no different. Back in 2009, Dell did try its hand at tablets and smartphones. Venue Pro, Streak and XCD were some of its products that failed to make any waves in the market.
For the second time, Dell is trying its hand at Android and Windows based tablets, which is why it has launched the Venue 7 tablet. In the interim, it was busy manufacturing hybrids based on the Windows OS and all-packed-in-one desktops. Dell has launched two Android OS based Venue tablets and two Venue Pros based on the Windows OS.
The two versions of the Android tablets are very similar to one another, the only point of difference being their sizes. The Venue 7 is 7 inches in length whereas the Venue 8 is 8 inches. The latter is wider and thicker by 0.15mm as well.
The front panel of both the tablets are free from markings or brandings. The secondary camera has a small cut out on front which is the only point of distinction between the top and the bottom. The glass cover is has a perimeter using a rubber ring that protects the tablets when it is placed face down.
Rubberised soft touch plastic has been used to make the rear cover and the sides. The Dell emblem is embossed in the middle of the back cover while the primary camera has been placed above it and the Intel logo with other regulatory badges below it. The Venue 7’s primary camera blends in seamlessly with the back cover while the camera of the Venue 8 is slightly raised.
Volume rockers and the microUSB charging points of both the devices have been placed on the upper left side. The headset socket and the power button has been placed on top whereas the speak grille is on the bottom for both the devices. Large flaps have been used on the lower right side panel for concealing the microSD card slots and blank spaces that might be used as SIM card slots in later editions of the tablets that would support cellular connections.
The Venue tablets look elegant and understated. They feel sturdy although they do not belong to the league of premium products in the purview of materials or design. However, given the low price, the appearance and built is quite satisfactory.
The devices run on the latest Intel offering for portable electronic devices- the X86 processors. This marks a departure of Dell from conventional ARM processors used by other companies. The Venue 7 is powered by an Atom Z2560 that clocks a speed of 1.6GHz while the Venue 8 is powered by the Atom Z2580 which clocks a speed of 2GHz. However, what should be kept in mind is that the speeds quoted are the maximum ones that the devices could run on unless they are being hammered down to save battery.
Both the CPUs have hyper threading and physical cores that allows users to run four threads simultaneously. Also integrated into the device are SGC 544MP2 graphics card along with 1080p acceleration of videos. As claimed by Intel, these processors have been modified for Android devices for security, performance and power efficiency.
Both the tablets have been provided 16GB of in-built storage and 2GB RAM. The microSD card slots can support SDXC chips that are 128GB, which is quite noteworthy. Wi-Fi b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 have been provided which offer wireless connectivity. However, 3G data support is yet to be provided by Dell for these devices.
Despite both the screens having 1280X800 as resolution, the display quality provided by the two is very different. Venue 7 displays content in cooler colours while the Venue 8 has a reddish and warm tinge. A noticeable pixel grid pattern is there in the Venue 7 whereas it is not there in Venue 8. This pixel grid is most noticeable when the tablet is used in bright light, viewed at an angle or something needs to be read in a light background. The problem is present in Venue 8, although in a milder form. The smaller screen produces accurate colours and is sharper despite the pixel grid.
The tablets run on Android 4.2.2 although on switching on the tablets, users will be prompted to upgrade to the 4.3 version. Not much is included for the purpose of customization except PocketCloud Explore and PocketCloud. Both these apps are operated by the Wyse which is now owned by Dell.
Using the PocketCloud, users can access files and stay connected with their laptop or desktop. A remote session can be run using them. Macs and Windows PCs work well with PocketCloud while the app can be downloaded for Android and iOS tablets. A connection can be set up manually or through a Google account used by you. Navigation on such a small screen might be tricky. However, to ease the task, apps which have in-built tools to simulate a mouse cursor have been provided. This would help users click and select accurately.
On the other hand, PocketCloud Explore authorizes the tablet to access files stored on PCs to browse through contents. It is easier to select folders and files in this matter which makes it a better method in case you don’t to use desktop software. The devices do not have capacitive or physical buttons which might make navigation on screen a bit difficult. Games, camera and other full screen apps hide the controls after blanking out some space at the bottom. Three faint dots replace the irons which can be tapped for activation. Videos would also have to be repositioned or resized when paused in order to accommodate the button bar.
The Venue 7 has a camera of 3MP with a secondary camera of 0.3MP whereas the Venue 8 has a primary camera of 5MP and front camera of 2MP strength. The images clicked are quite good in terms of sharpness and colour contrast.
The Venue 7 costs Rs 12,999 while the Venue 8 costs Rs 19,499.