Dell Venue 8 Pro Windows tablet review

The Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet is just a bit bigger than an iPad mini, but it packs enough power to handle desktop apps. It ships with Windows 8.1 software, comes with Microsoft Office 2013 Home & Student pre-installed, and has an Intel Atom Bay Trail processor which provides the long battery life you expect from a tablet as well as performance that’s good enough to handle serious tasks like editing documents, transcoding videos, or light gaming.

Best of all? The Dell Venue 8 Pro costs less than an iPad mini. It’s priced at $299 and up, but you can often find it on sale for as little as $249.

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Dell also sweetens the deal by offering optional accessories including a folio case and digital pen — the tablet has an active digitzer and supports pressure-sensitive input if you buy the pen.

Sounds great, right? It kind of is… depending on how you expect to use a tablet. While the Dell Venue 8 Pro is capable of doing many things that would be difficult on an iPad or Android tablet, there are times when less is more.

Dell loaned me a Venue 8 Pro and I’ve been testing it for the last month. The biggest challenge I’ve faced is the fact that I’ve already got an Android phone, an Android tablet, and a Windows laptop. Pretty much any thing I would want to do on Dell’s tablet, I can do better on one of those devices. I totally get the appeal of a single device that does it all, but I personally had a hard time making myself use this tablet on a regular basis because I have other devices that I feel make better tablets or laptops.

That said, if you haven’t already bought into the Android or iOS ecosystem, or if you’re looking for a jack-of-all-trades tablet at a good price, the Dell Venue 8 Pro is certainly worth a look.

Overview

Dell’s first 8 inch Windows tablet features an 8 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel IPS display with wide viewing angles and support for multi-touch input. It has an Intel Atom Z3740D Bay Trail quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB to 64GB of storage. There’s also a microSD card slot if you want to add extra storage space.

The tablet features Intel HD graphics, 2X2 dual-band MIMO 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and support for Miracast wireless display technology. It has a 5MP camera on the back, a 1.2MP camera on the front, a headphone jack, a micro USB port, and buttons for power, volume, and bringing up the Windows Start Screen.

Dell equipped the tablet with a built-in 18Whr, 4830mAh battery which provides about 6 to 9 hours of battery life, depending on how you use the tablet. There are more details on battery life below.

You charge the tablet by plugging the included AC adapter into the micro USB port. You may be able to recharge the device using a third party adapter, but I found that it charged most quickly when I used the adapter that came in the box. Unfortunately since there are no extra ports, if you’re charging the tablet you can’t use the micro USB port to connect peripherals. Fortunately the tablet does support Bluetooth accessories such as a keyboard, mouse, or game controller. And you can connect an external display over WiFi using Miracast.

Design

The Dell Venue 8 Pro is a bit bigger and chunkier than an iPad mini or Google Nexus 7. But unless you held the tablets next to one another, you might not notice. Dell’s tablet is still pretty small and light and feels comfortable if you hold it in your hands for an hour or longer to watch videos, surf the web, play games. or read eBooks.

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It measures 8.5″ x 5.12″ x 0.35″ and weighs about 13.9 ounces. The iPad mini, for comparison’s sake, measures 7.9″ x 5.4″ x 0.29″ and weighs 11.6 ounces, but it doesn’t have a widescreen display like Dell’s tablet.

While you can rotate a Windows tablet in any direction and use it in landscape or portrait orientation, 10 inch tablets seem to be designed for landscape mode and 8 inch models for portrait. You can flip the Dell Venue 8 Pro and hold it in two hands to watch videos or play games, but if you’re holding it in one hand and using the other to tap or type, it’s most comfortable to do that in portrait.

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That would probably explain why the Dell and Intel logos are all printed in portrait orientation on the back of the tablet.

The front of the tablet is mostly screen. There are thin black bezels along the sides and slightly thicker bezels at the top and bottom, but when the display is turned off it just looks like a sheet of glass covering a slab of black.

Dell covered the back and sides of the Venue 8 Pro with textured plastic. There’s a circular design emanating out from the Dell logo on the back. The texture makes the tablet feel a bit easier to grip than a tablet with a smooth back.

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The back curves up a bit to meet the sides of the tablet, which makes it look a tad thinner than it actually is. But there’s a small bump around the headphone jack at the top.

Next to the headphone jack you’ll find a Windows button. Press it when the screen is off and the tablet will spring to life. Press it when the display is already on, and the Start Screen will appear. You can also trigger the Start Screen by swiping from the right side of the screen to bring up the Windows Charms Bar and pressing the Start icon. This is a bit faster, but I keep forgetting which key is the Start button and which is the Power button.

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That’s because the Power button is just an inch or two from the Start button, only it’s along one of the long sides of the tablet, next to the micro USB port. Press this key at any time to turn the screen on or off. Or you can press and hold for a few seconds to bring up a “Slide to shut down your PC” window. Or you can keep pressing until the system reboots — just like the power button on an old-school Windows PC.

Next to the power button there are volume up and down keys, and further along this side of the tablet you’ll find a plastic door covering the microSD card slot. Dell also plans to offer models with mobile broadband capabilities, and it looks like there’s room for a SIM card slot under that plastic door as well.

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At the bottom of the tablet (if you’re holding it in portrait mode with the camera on top), there’ s a speaker grill. The speaker is reasonably loud and the volume reasonably clear, but you’ll want headphones or external speakers if you really want to blast music from this tablet.

Accessories (Stylus and Folio case)

Dell offers three key accessories for the Venue 8 Pro. There’s a Folio case, an Active Stylus, and a Wireless keyboard (which isn’t actually available for purchase yet). The company loaned me the case and stylus to test.

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The $40 case is definitely a useful add-on. I’m less convinced that the $30 digital pen is worth the price — although it’s certainly one of the things that helps set this tablet apart from similar models from Acer, Lenovo, and Toshiba. None of those tablets has an active digitzer.

The problem is that while Windows 8.1 does support pen input, the Venue 8 Pro’s stylus isn’t particularly responsive.

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Here are a few reasons why you might want to use a pen with a Windows tablet:

  • It has a finer tip than your finger, making it easier to touch tiny spots on the screen, such as the close or minimize buttons in desktop apps.
  • Devices with active digitzers don’t just let you tap and scribble on the screen, they support pressure-sensitive input which lets you write or draw heavier brush strokes by pressing the stylus harder against the screen.
  • An active stylus also supports hover-type actions, letting you move the pen over the surface of the tablet without touching it to trigger drop-down menus, highlight icons before pressing them, or handle other actions you’d normally perform by hovering your mouse over an item without actually clicking on it.

But Dell’s tablet uses a Synaptics active pen system which isn’t quite as good as what you’d get from rival Wacom. I found that sometimes I had to tap the screen repeatedly before the tablet would recognize pen input at all. And while I was able to test pressure-sensitive input in a drawing app, I feel like I had to press pretty hard to notice any difference.

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I also didn’t have a lot of luck getting handwriting recognition to actually, you know, recognize my handwriting. That’s hardly a shock — I have awful handwriting, which is one of the reasons I learned to type at nearly 100 words per minute years ago. But I’m pretty sure Windows software can handle bad handwriting pretty well… when it’s scribbled with a decent stylus. Nearly 10 years ago I used a PDA running Windows Mobile and a resistive toucshcreen stylus to take notes on a daily basis with no problems.

The Dell Venue 8 Pro, on the other hand, sometime didn’t even notice when I’d lifted the stylus away from the screen — which means that part of the reason it had trouble converting the letters I scribbled into text was because it thought I was continuing to scribble a letter even after I’d moved on to the next one.

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Hopefully the issue has more to do with software than hardware, which means that Dell could release software updates that will make things better without requiring you to buy a new device. Dell has already issued one software update to improve pen performance, and it’s possible that future updates could help even more — but right now the pen isn’t nearly as effective as those on some higher-priced tablets like the Microsoft Surface Pro.

There’s also no good place to store the stylus when it’s not in use. While some tablets have slots that you can slide a stylus into, the Dell Venue 8 Pro does not — so you’ll have to carry it loose in you bag like a pen, or maybe hook it unto the flap on the Folio case. Given the battery-powered pen’s size, there’s not really room in the tablet chassis for it, but that doesn’t make it any less likely that you’ll lose or damage the pen.

For example, the tip of the stylus fell off at one point during my testing, and until I found it the $30 accessory was little more than a paperweight.

All told, it’s nice to have the option of using a stylus — especially if you visit websites or use apps that require hover actions. But don’t expect to create your next artistic masterpiece using this tablet. And for day-to-day tasks, I found it easier to enter text and navigate the Windows user interface using fingers on glass instead of the optional stylus.

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While I’m clearly not in love with the active stylus, I do find the $40 case to be a pretty useful (if somewhat expensive) accessory. The case has a hard plastic back and sides to protect the tablet, cut-outs for the rear camera, speaker, ports, and buttons, and a flip cover that protects the glass screen when you’re not using the tablet.

The underside of the cover is coated in a soft, velvet-like material which won’t scratch the screen. It’s also designed as a non-slip surface that lets you flip open the lid and use the case like an adjustable stand. Just tilt the tablet to the angle you’d like, prop it against the cover, and it’ll stay in place on a table, desk. or even on your lap.

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During the weeks that I spent with the Dell Venue 8 Pro, I rarely took the tablet out of its case. That’s partly because the case is useful for protecting, and standing up the tablet. It’s also partly because it’s a pain in the behind to actually get the thing out of the case.

While it’s pretty easy to squeeze the tablet into the case, you have to pry away at the edges with a lot of force to pop it out. That’s a little annoying, since the Folio case does make the tablet heavier, and there are times when it might be nice to hold the tablet without the case. But at least you don’t have to worry about it falling out on its own.

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Dell says a wireless keyboard for the Venue 8 Pro is coming soon, and it could make it easier to use the tablet like a laptop. It’s nice that the tablet comes with Microsoft Office, but you’re probably not going to want to tap out your doctoral dissertation using the on-screen keyboard.

dell venue 8 pro keyboard

Since the official keyboard wasn’t yet available when I tested the tablet, I did the next best thing and connected my own wireless keyboard (which is really a bit too large to be truly portable. What I discovered is that a 1280 x 800 pixel display looks pretty good when you’re holding it in your hands — but web sites, documents, and other items with text can look incredibly tiny when placed about two feet away from your eyes (the distance at which I usually place a laptop screen).

You can adjust the Windows DPI settings so that text and graphics are zoomed to 125 percent, which helps a bit. But if you’re really looking for a tablet that you can use as a laptop replacement, you might want a larger screen (or better eyes than mine).

Of course, you could always connect the tablet to an external display. As I discovered recently, Intel’s Bay Trail processors are powerful enough to handle desktop performance, allowing you to use a cheap Windows tablet as if it were a full-fledged desktop PC.

Since Dell’s tablet has only a single port, you’ll either need a docking station like the $129 Plugable UD-3900 to hook up a wired keyboard, mouse, and display, or peripherals that work over WiFi or Bluetooth.

For example, I tried using the tablet with a Tronsmart T1000 Miracast wireless display adapter and a wireless keyboard to sort of turn the Dell Venue 8 Pro into a desktop-style PC. The results were serviceable, but just barely. You’d probably get better performance with a DisplayLink adapter which lets you hook up a monitor to a USB port. But since the tablet only has one port for charging and for USB peripherals, that means you’d have to run on battery power while your monitor is hooked up.

It’d be nice if the Venue 8 Pro had an HDMI port or an extra USB port or two. But it seems pretty clear that this inexpensive tablet wasn’t designed as the ultimate productivity tool. Even if the processor and operating system are up to the task, the tablet’s lack of ports (and small size and battery) make it better suited to handheld operation.

Performance (and usage)

So what exactly is the Dell Venue 8 Pro good for? Lots of things. Like other devices running Windows 8 and later, the Venue 8 Pro can handle two types of apps: traditional desktop Windows applications, and “Modern” or “Metro” style apps which are designed to run in full-screen mode (although you can also run two apps side-by-side), and which tend to be touch-friendly and feature graphics that look good at just about any screen resolution.

Metro apps look great on Dell’s 8 inch tablet, making it a nice compact device for surfing the web with Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome, watching videos from Netflix, reading eBooks with Kindle, NOOK, or Kobo apps, or playing games from the Windows Store, among other things.

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If you never leave the Metro user interface, it’d be easy to think of a tablet like this as little more than an alternative to an iPad mini or small Android tablet. It has a touch-friendly user interface, long battery life, and runs similar apps… with a few quirks.

For instance, I’ve consistently had difficulty getting the Amazon Kindle app to sync my last-read-page progress between Windows tablets and other devices, and for some reason my local public radio station never streams properly from the TuneIn app from the Windows Store (it works fine when you’re using the TuneIn app for Android).

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There also aren’t as many tablet apps available from the Windows Store as from Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store for Android — although the gap is closing as a growing number of developers bring their apps to Windows. Still, folks with Android or iOS phones may want to run their favorite mobile apps on a tablet, only to find that some apps just aren’t available for Windows tablets… at least not yet.

But there’s one good reason to pick a tablet like the Venue 8 Pro over something like an iPad mini or a Google Nexus 7: Metro apps are only part of the story. Not only does the Venue 8 Pro come with Office 2013 Home & Student preloaded, but it can run virtually any Windows desktop app you can throw at it.

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Sure, some resource-intensive tasks won’t run as well on a device with an Intel Atom processor and 2GB of RAM as they would on a machine with more memory and a faster CPU. But you can install everything from Photoshop to the Steam game engine on this tablet. Try doing that with a Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Bleeding edge PC games probably won’t run very well, but the Atom Z3740D processor with Intel HD graphics can handle HD video playback and 3D graphics acceleration well enough to handle older or simpler games. While the chip is slightly slower than the Atom Z3740 processor used in some other low-cost Windows tablets, it achieves nearly identical scores in the benchmark tests I ran.

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For instance, the Dell Venue 8 Pro got virtually identical scores to the Asus Transformer Book T100 in the 3DMark graphics benchmark. Those scores weren’t as good as those you’d get from a device like the Samsung ATIV 9 Lite laptop with AMD Radeon HD graphics, but they show that the tablet can handle some gaming tasks.

In terms of raw CPU power, I ran a few tests to look at audio and video transcoding and creating archive files. This time I also threw in scores for the HP Envy X2, a convertible tablet/notebook hybrid with an older Intel Atom Z2760 Clover Trail processor and the Asus 1015E mini-laptop with an Intel Celeron 847 processor.

Not only did this tiny tablet outperform the system with an older Atom chip in every test, it also came in ahead of the notebook with the Celeron chip in most benchmarks. lilbench

I’ve been running the same benchmarks on laptops for a few years, using WinLAME to transcode audio, VirtualDub to transcode video, and 7-zip to create a ZIP archive. But VirtualDub isn’t exactly the speediest tool for transcoding video, so I’ve also started throwing in some tests using Hanbdrake, which completes the task much more quickly.

handbrake

Remarkably, this $300 tablet runs circles around Samsung’s ATIV Book 9 Lite laptop in the Handbrake test, even though Samsung charged $800 for that notebook when it launched in the summer of 2013 (the price has since fallen a bit).

Odds are that you won’t spend a lot of time editing or transcoding video on an 8 inch tablet. But it’s nice to know you can.

Battery

The tablet has an 18Whr battery that Dell says should be good for up to 9.9 hours of battery life. That’s a little generous… but not much.

In my tests, I found that you could get up to 9 hours of battery life with light usage including web surfing, reading eBooks, and checking email with WiFi enabled and screen brightness set to about 50 percent.

Battery life took a bit of a hit when I tried using the tablet for work. I spent a few hours one day at a coffee shop with a wireless keyboard, for instance, composing blog posts, doing some light image editing, and web browsing with a dozen tabs open. The computer was able to keep up with the tasks (although I found myself squinting a bit at the tiny display), but under those conditions, it looks like battery life would top out at closer to 6 hours.

That’s certainly not bad for a device that weighs less than a pound, battery included. But it’s not quite as good as a device with a larger screen and battery, like the Asus Transformer Book T100. Dell does offer a larger tablet called the Dell Venue 11 Pro which not only has a bigger battery, but it’s a user-replaceable battery. But that’s a subject for another day.

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Fortunately, the AC adapter for this tablet is about the same size as a smartphone charger, so if you think you might run out of juice while you’re out and about, you can throw the adapter in your bag without weighing it down. But as I mentioned above, you’ll probably want to make sure to use the official charger and not just any old micro USB charger, unless you want to deal with slow charging.

Unfortunately, the included cable is pretty short — so you’ll have to find your tablet a spot pretty close to the AC outlet for charging.

Verdict

There aren’t many tablets that offer what the Dell Venue 8 Pro does: It’s an inexpensive device that can run mobile-friendly apps as well as the same apps you might run on your desktop or notebook PC. There’s an option for a pressure-sensitive pen which lets you jot handwritten notes in OneNote, enter text with handwriting recognition, or draw in art and graphics apps. And it’s cheap.

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But the stylus input is less than stellar. There are other devices that offer better laptop-style performance, and other tablets that are thinner, lighter, offer longer-battery life, or support more touch-friendly apps. While there’s a lot to like about Dell’s little tablet, during the month I’ve spent with it I constantly found myself grabbing my Google Nexus 7 tablet or Samsung Series 9 notebook instead of the Venue 8 Pro when I wanted to read an eBook or compose a document.

This two-device solution might not be as convenient as a single device that could theoretically do it all… but the Nexus 7 supports more apps and feels faster when running those apps, and the Series 9 notebook has a bigger display and a full-sized physical keyboard.

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That’s not to say that it’s impossible to make a Windows 8 tablet that could replace your notebook and tablet. When I spent a few weeks testing the Asus Transformer Book T100, I did constantly find myself grabbing the tablet when I wanted to look something up, compose a quick email, or perform other tasks. That’s because that 10 inch device is large enough to use while placed on a desk like a laptop, but small enough to hold in two hands like a tablet. It also comes with a sturdy keyboard dock which makes using the tablet as a notebook very easy.

If I didn’t already have a tablet and a notebook, things might be different — and I suspect someone looking for their first tablet could be pretty happy with a device like the Dell Venue 8 Pro, especially given its low price.

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There are a growing number of tablets apps in the Windows Store, and you could easily find hundreds of apps and games worth running on this sub-$300 tablet. While it has the raw horsepower to run desktop apps, I’m not convinced it’s the best choice for running apps like Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop, but it’s nice to know you can run those apps if you’d like.

  • Me

    Too bad the Dell has a very bad stylus experience. Seems worse than just using a capacitive pen.

    Is this able to power an external HDD? More specifically, does the USB output more than the 500 mA USB standard like some devices since many peripherals draw more than the max 500 mA. What is the power rating of the AC adapter? I assume Dell’s conforming to USB battery charging spec when detecting a dedicated charger. Did you run any multi-threaded 7-Zip tests? I’m not sure if zip is multi-threaded since I only use LZMA2 compression.

    I hope you review the ASUS. It seems to have an active digitizer and a builtin holder for it based on it’s shape from pictures. It would have been nice if Dell made a Latitude 8 for their ” pro” 8″ tablet. The Latitude 10 had a Wacom digitizer but, unfortunately, also no stylus holder. It also powered power hungry USB devices. Unfortunately, it only charged at 2.5 W max through USB.

    • buzz86us

      I am waiting for Lenovo’s offering for a 10′ tablet (thinkpad tablet 3). Hoping someone releases one of these numbers with an android dual-boot.

      Hoping Asus releases a pro model to the T100..that also has android and the wacom digitizer. I am personally surprised that Cyanogenmod didn’t release an Android bootable SD card for one of these baytrail tablets.

      • CyberGusa

        Main issue, as they wait for the 64bit drivers and 4GB RAM to become available, is that the system makers are still using the 32bit UEFI but they need to start using the 64bit UEFI to make it easy for 3rd party boot loaders to work, among other compatibility issues.

        They’re also still working on Bay Trail drivers for Linux, graphical support is still being worked on for example… Basically, just give it a few more months and it should all be sorted out.

      • buzz86us

        yeah this is why I opted to not be an early adopter on this hoping they hit soon because I am ready to leave my 5lb laptop for travel home and opt for one of these I hope Asus does a 9-10 inch model on their 8 tablet and it is really a wacom digitizer on the 8 model too. If US manufacturers are too squeamish to put android as stock when the bootloaders open up then I hope Cyanogenmod or someone can make an SD card image like the Nook Color has.

    • Tom

      I think you are over-optimistic. The micro-USB port on DVP8 outputs 100mA, which is enough to power USB flash drives, not HDDs. As far as a Windows device go, the DVP8 is fairly crippled for I/O capabilities, having only a single USB port which also needs to do double duty for charging.

      I realize many Windows users are desperate for any decent Win tablet. But Windows’ strength is its connectivity, ie the ability to plug in most any periph and have it recognized, with drivers automatically loaded. That is something neither iOS nor Android can offer at this stage. But the DVP8 (and all Win tablets of this gen) are poor choices, forgoing the one Windows strength in copycatting cheap Android tabs (without the cheap price). Unless you are a must-have-it-now person, waiting for the next gen wouldn’t be a bad idea.

      • CyberGusa

        Except for models that do provide the full size USB port, especially now that Bay Trail allows native support for USB 3.0… Which can provide better output power than USB 2.0 spec.

        It’s just the push for thin & light designs that’s pushing for eliminating full size ports but models like the Asus T100 provide the full size USB 3.0 port in the docking station.

        Or just go for the larger tablets that don’t skimp on such features…

        What you say is mainly only true for the smaller 8″ models! So it’s inaccurate to say all of this gen!

      • James

        Some of the other 8″ and 10″ Bay Trail tablets can power external USB HDDs that pull more than 500 mA with their micro/full USB ports.

      • http://rct.me.ht/ crashsuit

        I’d think most people would count “the one WIndows strength” as being able to run full Windows apps.

      • Mark

        Your comment makes it sound as though there isn’t a connectivity solution – in fact all it means is that you need a powered hub if you want to use devices that draw more power. There are even ways (not officially from Dell) to charge the tablet AND have USB devices connected at the same time.

  • Michael Thompson

    I just helped my mother in law set up both her new Windows 8.1 laptop and 8.1 tablet and I have to say it isn’t as bad as I had feared.
    With battery life that finally hold a candle to other mobile devices I might just try one of these Win8.1 pieces out.

  • zdanee

    Wow, it’s amazes me, how such a tablet can be so cheap in a country where the GDP is four times as much as here. It’s like you can buy a tablet instead of going to that movie with the family. Here these things still cost an arm and a leg if you can get it at all. A whole month’s wage or so. But really, $249 is like instant get here, it’s like living in a SciFi where you get a tablet PC to your Happy Meal. Tried to buy it on Amazon, but obviously it wouldn’t ship here…
    …so anyone wants to send me one? :)

    • gallen408

      Where to? I’m loving my Venue 8.
      You could also look at mail forwarding services based in the us that ship globally.
      There’s even a few up here in Portland, not a clue what they are called but I’m sure a quick google search could find you something.

    • HasithaP

      You can buy it from eBay

      • zdanee

        On it, thanks 4 the tip! :)

  • anondo

    cool, can you try running linux on it?

  • Tom

    Tom

    • Tom

      I understand the penchant to candy-coat reviews, especially for one of the handful of Win8.x devices getting positive vibes, but the author should fact-check a bit better and stay away from major erroneous statements.

      The Dell Venue 8 Pro does not cost less than an iPad Mini, which is the same $299. You don’t compare holiday sales pricing with MSRPs to tout “best of all.” If you want to go that route, realize that, shocker, iPad Minis can be found at lower prices as well for this holiday. I say this not as an Apple/iPad user (I don’t have any Apple devices), but only in the interest of fairness.

      Win8 fans may point out that the base model DVP8 has 32GB, while iPad Mini has only 16GB. While that is true, Win8.1′s vast bulk allows only 12GB remaining, which is equivalent to the free space on the 16GB Mini.

      • CyberGusa

        Nonsense, you should do your own fact checks… The iPad Mini is only running iOS, which is a mobile OS with none of the capabilities of a full desktop OS and is a less powerful device.

        There’s no options for SD card or USB without a secondary adapter you have to pay extra for!

        The iPad Mini does charge more for the similar specs as well… While you always compare to the latest model, which is the Retina iPad Mini that sells for $399!

        So you would be paying more for the iPad Mini!!!

        Apple doesn’t provide discounts anyway, while the sales for the Windows devices won’t be just for the holidays. Many of those Windows devices discounts are permanent!

        Besides, it’s apples vs oranges comparison because of those differences! A mobile OS device is better for mobile usages, especially with a app ecosystem better optimized for mobile usage.

        So people would be getting each for different reasons!

      • Tom

        What’s nonsense is your fanboyism acting up.

        >The iPad Mini is only running iOS.

        Obviously it does. Nowhere have I said different. As for whether it’s better to have a “full desktop OS” many would beg to differ for this size (8″) class. In fact, if we were to take ecosystem into account, the iOS’ vastly superior ecosystem would be (and is) the overwhelming choice for tablets, “Full desktop OS” is relatively meaningless on touch tablets, especially at smaller sizes.

        >Retina iPad Mini that sells for $399!

        You should learn to read. iPad Mini, which is what the piece referred to, is not iPad Mini RETINA. The DVP8′ res is more equiv to the 1st-gen Mini.

        >Many of those Windows devices discounts are permanent!

        Since we aren’t yet out of the holidays, either you have a penchant for wishful thinking (which would be par for fanboys), or you have an inside track on Windows pricing. My bet is the former.

        > A mobile OS device is better for mobile usages, especially with a app ecosystem better optimized for mobile usage.

        Yes, exactly. So why the “full desktop OS” comparison?

        >So people would be getting each for different reasons! Price is just one factor!

        I never said people should buy this or that. My response is to point out the author’s proclivity for sugarcoating this view with erroneous facts.

        >My Surface has 23.7 GB remaining of the 32 GB.

        Your Surface runs Windows RT, which isn’t the same x86 that this device (DVP8) is running.

      • CyberGusa

        If there is any fanboyism, it’s from you!

        It’s obvious you didn’t factor the differences in the products, so stop pretending you did!

        When comparing the value of the iPad Mini you failed to account for the differences and you also tried to deceptively compare to last years model of the iPad Mini… You should get some common sense because anyone knows when mentioning another product in passing and you don’t specify which version that it’s always the latest model being referred to!

        It’s like comparing the cost to the iPad, and assume it’s the iPad 2 being referred to instead of the latest iPad Air!

        Really, you might as well compare the older Clover Trail Windows tablets if you’re going to be comparing last year models!

        Only the latest Retina iPad Mini has the A7 SoC that can even compete with the performance of a Bay Trail SoC. The older iPad Mini didn’t even come close in comparison!

        So even if we go with the older iPad Mini, it’s clear it’s a lesser value for the money than a similarly priced Bay Trail device!

        I also made the point that Apple doesn’t offer discounted pricing anyway! So those prices are always what they are!

        And no, I have no perchance for wishful thinking! I’m just a realist and stated things as they are! Year after year, we see Windows devices released and within months they are being discounted and the discounted prices don’t go away! It’s just the way the market works for PC devices!

        Especially for certain name brands that make it a habit of advertising a given price but always providing discount deals on either regular basis, Lenovo does that a lot for example, or through resellers that offer the same product at a permanently discounted price.

        Sure, not all products will be discounted… There are those like Apple that never offer deals and there are those that cater to limited quantities that call for more premium pricing but for budget models like we’re seeing now they’re definitely not going to stay at their original retail pricing!

        Besides, the price for the product in this article is not discounted but the actual retail pricing for the base model! So yes, your comparison was nonsense no matter how you look at it!

        Even the Asus T100 with a included Keyboard Dock only starts at $349 and that’s with no discount!

        A smaller 8″ model with no included accessory is of course capable of being priced even lower at $299 for at least the base 32GB model, It’s was you bias that assumed it was a discounted pricing!

        Btw, you’re also combining a reply to a different person as I have no Surface RT and made no mention of one!

        So no, your accusation has been proven false that the author of this article presented any erroneous facts!

      • Sam

        I hate anyone who uses the word fanboy, I think it is obvious to anyone that you are most likely a troll. Can your precious ipad mini, run steam games, can you plug in an xbox controller?

      • Ralph Williams

        My Surface has 23.7 GB remaining of the 32 GB. You can’t always believe the iMedia

      • Mike

        I just opened the box of my new venue 8 pro, pluged it in as instructed and turned it on and NOTHING. Will it need 24 hours of charging before I see some action?

  • Tsais

    Does windows 8 have any provision for shift and control clicking on tablets? Certain things are plain impossible to do without…

    • Mark

      You can use “flicks” just as in Windows 7, or of course use the on-screen keyboard.

  • jm2c

    One thing that I don’t like about the Dell Windows 8 tablet is that you have to manually download and install drivers, firmware and bios updates just like many “normal” Windows 8 laptops and desktops. Dell should create an app that auto updates everything for you like Lenovo does with their Thinkpads. Because of this I wouldn’t be able to recommend the device to anyone but experienced users.

    I compare this with something like the Surface Pro where all updates come from Microsoft via Windows Update and the update experience is nearly as hands-free and seamless as iOS and Android.

    • rogerdanielpaul

      Of all the bloatware installed on most computers but something really useful like that is still not out there directly from the OEMs. Slim Drivers is pretty great it does the same but it is 3rd party.

  • wizzard2k2

    I’m looking to get the wife a tablet for her b-day. does anybody know if this will run the latest flash player so she would be able to play farmville 2 (her favorite on-line game that isn’t ‘hack-n-slash’)?

    • Alan Fraser

      It should, its a full windows 8.1 system. This things got a LOT more horsepower then the review indicates.

      I do however highly recommend getting the 64 GB version. the 32GB one after windows and everything else doesn’t leave a lot of room, although you can still add in a micro-sd

  • Wade Kempf

    Charging and use Full USB at the same time…

    This looks awesome since it runs full Windows 8. One CON that I see and have read elsewhere is that you can’t connect a dock or peripheral and charge the Venue at the same time.

    I wasn’t going to buy it because of the charging/docking issue but yesterday I found this link – http://kck.st/1fIi06H for a device that simply connects between your charger and tablet. The device lets you charge (at full rate) and gives you an extra USB port to connect a dock, hub, or whatever peripheral you want. I’m going to pre-order one. I just thought I would share in case others have run into this same issue.

    +port plus port