Dell Venue 8 7000
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.
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.