Dell Venue 8 7000

Tech Advisor - - REVIEWS - Chris Martin

Dell is the slightly un­likely claimant to the ti­tle of world’s thinnest tablet with the Venue 8 7000. It’s also the first de­vice we’ve seen with In­tel RealSense tech­nol­ogy.

As we’ve touched on, the head­line de­sign fea­ture of this tablet is how thin it is. At just 6mm, it’s slim­mer than the Sam­sung Gal­axy Tab S 8.4, Sony Xpe­ria Z3 Tablet Com­pact and iPad Air 2, which are 6.6-, 6.4- and 6.1mm re­spec­tively. It’s also light­weight in the hand, although 310g makes it a lit­tle heav­ier than its Sam­sung and Sony ri­vals. We like the feel of the uni­body me­tal casing that cov­ers most of the tablet.

Dell has cre­ated a stylish de­sign, although it looks a lit­tle odd with the large bezel at one end of the screen, which houses a siz­able cam­era lens and speaker grill. It would look very HTC-like if there was a sec­ond speaker at the other end and we’re not sure why Dell didn’t go down this route in or­der to of­fer stereo speak­ers (they are stereo but at one end, which defeats the point).

The tablet is de­signed to be held in por­trait ori­en­ta­tion, with the speaker at the bot­tom. That’s fine and while you can easily hold the Venue 8 7000 one-handed, grasp­ing it this way does mean that the cam­eras are also at the bot­tom and get blocked by your hand.

On the hard­ware front, the Dell uses a quad-core Z3500 Moore­field chip that has Pow­erVR G6430 graph­ics, while there’s 2GB of RAM. Per­for­mance is de­cent across the board and we’ve only no­ticed a lit­tle bit of lag with things such as au­toro­ta­tion and launch­ing the cam­era.

In terms of bench­mark re­sults, the Dell Venue 8 7000 keeps up with its Sony and Sam­sung ri­vals which all pro­vide sim­i­lar re­sults. See the ta­ble be­low for all the re­sults.

The 8.4in OLED screen is stun­ning. With a res­o­lu­tion of 2560x1600 and a pixel den­sity of 359ppi, it matches the Sam­sung Gal­axy Tab S 8.4. The glossy dis­play is highly re­flec­tive, and although it’s very crisp, the Lol­lipop drop-down menu is a lit­tle small.

One of the fea­tures that Dell is high­light­ing as a rea­son to buy this tablet is that it comes with In­tel’s RealSense tech­nol­ogy.

There are three cam­eras on the rear of the tablet – one is 8Mp, and the other two are 1Mp and shoot 720p video. The main cam­era sits on its own in the bezel, while the other two sit in a more cen­tral lo­ca­tion. The idea is that the ad­di­tional two act like your eyes and cap­ture depth in­for­ma­tion (up to 10m). This can be used to not only re­fo­cus the im­age af­ter you’ve take in but also mea­sure items within it.

Un­for­tu­nately, af­ter all the hype we found RealSense to be a let­down. The tablet does warn that you need good bright con­di­tions for it to work, but we’ve sim­ply found it un­re­li­able at mea­sur­ing things and the re­fo­cus can only be de­scribed as atro­cious.

The Venue 8 7000 comes with 16GB of in­ter­nal stor­age, which sounds good, but only 6GB is avail­able to the user. There is a mi­croSD card slot though, which adds up to 512GB of ex­tra stor­age.

Dell also touts a bat­tery life of up to nine-and-a-half hours and fast charg­ing. Our bat­tery bench­mark test yielded a re­sult of nine hours, 11 min­utes with a score of 5493, which isn’t far off the im­pres­sive Sony Xpe­ria Z4 Tablet which man­aged nine hours, 53 min­utes and a score of 5933.

Out of the box, the Venue 8 7000 runs An­droid 4.4 KitKat, though we we’re able to up­date it to An­droid 5.0.2 Lol­lipop straight­away. It’s get­ting more com­mon for An­droid to be left well alone mak­ing for a ‘vanilla’ ex­pe­ri­ence. This is a plus point as it gives you a blank can­vas with which to cus­tomise the in­ter­face how you like. Dell does add a few apps though and you must use its Gallery app to take ad­van­tage of the RealSense fea­tures.

An ad­van­tage of the Gallery app is the op­tion to store and or­gan­ise photos and video by GPS po­si­tion, mak­ing it eas­ier to show some­one only photos taken on a hol­i­day abroad or a par­tic­u­lar day trip, for ex­am­ple. Another app, MyDell, lets you check on things such as stor­age, charge, CPU and mem­ory us­age, as well as get­ting online sup­port.

As well as the Dell apps, you’ll find things such as Ever­note, Drop­box, Po­laris Of­fice 5, Sk­itch, McAfee Se­cu­rity and MaxxAu­dio pre­in­stalled. The list isn’t too big but the bad news is that you can’t unin­stall them – dis­abling is the best you can do here.

Ver­dict

The Dell Venue 8 7000 is an at­trac­tive An­droid tablet with a su­per slim de­sign, a great screen and of­fers smooth per­for­mance com­bined with good bat­tery life. How­ever, it’s more ex­pen­sive than its ri­vals and the RealSense cam­era tech­nol­ogy isn’t worth the time of day.

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