Dell Venue 11 Pro Windows tablet review

The Dell Venue 11 Pro is a Windows tablet that’s portable enough to use in place of an iPad or Android tablet, but powerful and versatile enough to use as a laptop (if you buy an optional keyboard dock).

Featuring a 10.8 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS display an Intel processor, and Windows 8.1 software, the Venue 11 Pro is one of the most powerful Windows tablets in its size range — especially when you consider that Dell offers models with up to a Core i5 Haswell CPU and up to 8GB of RAM.

Dell Venue 11 Pro

Folks looking for a more entry-level device can grab a tablet with an Intel Atom Bay Trail processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 64GB solid state drive for around $499. That’s the model Dell loaned me to review, and there’s a lot to like about this little tablet.

It earns the “Pro” name with a high-resolution display, long battery life, and features you don’t often find on small Windows tablets such as a full-sized USB port and a micro HDMI port.

But at $499 and up, the Dell Venue 11 Pro is kind of expensive compared with other Bay Trail tablets such as the $399 Asus Transformer Book T100, especially since the Asus tablet comes with a keyboard while Dell charges extra for a keyboard, stylus, or other accessories.

One of the Dell Venue 11 Pro’s key selling points is also a bit of a mixed blessing. Full-screen Windows Store apps look great on the full HD display. But some desktop apps have a habit of looking funny on a screen with 204 pixels per inch even after you futz with the Windows display settings.

Overall the $499 Dell Venue 11 Pro is a pretty interesting option for anyone looking for a portable Windows tablet that has some of the functions of a full-fledged Windows PC. But it’s not necessarily the best choice for everyone.

Overview

On paper, even the cheapest Dell Venue 11 Pro runs circles around most other Windows tablets that sell for under $500. Most have lower resolution displays, fewer ports, and fewer connectivity options.

The closest competition to the Dell Venue 11 Pro might be the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 — but while both Dell and Microsoft offer tablets with full HD screens smaller than 10 inches, Microsoft’s Surface 2 Pro has a starting price of $899 and is only available with a Core i5 processor. By offering a Bay Trail model, Dell is able to undercut Microsoft’s price.

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The Dell Venue 11 Pro featured in this review has a 10.8 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS display with support for 10-point touch input, 2GB of DDR3 memory, 64GB of storage, dual-band 2×2 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and NFC.

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It has 1 full-sized USB 3.0 port, 1 micro UBS port, a mini HDMI jack, a headset jack, and stereo speakers built into the sides of the tablet.

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There are volume buttons on the left side of the tablet and a power button at the top. Like most Windows tablets, the Dell Venue 11 Pro has a capacitive Windows button in the bezel below the screen. Tapping that button brings up the Start Screen.

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On the back is an 8MP camera, and there’s a 2MP front-facing camera. And unlike nearly every other tablet in this category, the Dell Venue 11 Pro has a removable back cover which you can remove without a screwdriver. Pop it open and you can easily remove the 32 Whr battery and replace it with a spare.

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The tablet measures 11.7″ x 7″ x 0.6″ and weighs about 1.6 pounds, making it a bit heavier than some other tablets in its class. But it’s about the same weight as a first-generation Apple iPad, which had a smaller, lower resolution display.

Need more power? Dell offers models with Core i3 and Core i5 Haswell processors, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage, but prices for those models start at $799. Dell’s business division also sells models with up to 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and optional 4G LTE support.

The entry-level model with an Intel Atom Z3770 Bay Trail processor may not be as fast as some of the higher end machines, but it provides a nice balance between decent performance and long battery life. It also features Intel HD graphics with support for hardware-accelerated HD video playback and 3D graphics.

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When using tablet apps, that Bay Trail processor provides just about all the power you’d probably need, while allowing you to get around 8 or 9 hours of battery life. If you try treating the tablet like a notebook by running desktop apps and multitasking, you could start to feel the limits of the low-power Atom processor and 2GB of RAM.

That’s not to say the Dell Venue 11 Pro ever feels sluggish… but it’s certainly not as zippy as a Haswell machine when you’re surfing the web with a dozen browser tabs while editing photos and listening to music (three things I often find myself doing).

Still, it’s best to keep in mind that the Venue 11 Pro is fast for a tablet, but kind of on the slow side for a notebook — especially since you need to spend at least $530 to buy the notebook plus a keyboard if you really want to use it like a notebook. Dell offers a Slim Keyboard for $130, and a  Mobile Keyboard for $160. I used the Mobile Keyboard while testing the tablet for this review.

Tablet Performance 

There are at least two ways to judge the Dell Venue 11 Pro’s performance. You can treat it like a tablet designed to run Modern, full-screen apps from the Windows Store. Or you can think of it as a traditional Windows PC capable of running full desktop apps such as Office, Photoshop, and Firefox — although unlike some smaller Windows tablets, the Venue 11 Pro does not come with a free version of Office 2013 Home & Student.

But I think what Windows tablets really have going for them is the ability to do both of those things.

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When it comes to tablets, I tend to prefer models with 7 or 8 inch screens because they’re lighter, easier to hold in one hand, and great for reading web pages or eBooks, or holding while playing a game of Scrabble. But even if you add a keyboard, those tablets are just too tiny to make decent laptops.

While the Dell Venue 11 Pro is a bit bulkier than a Venue 8 Pro or Google Nexus 7, it’s not too big to hold in your hands while watching videos, reading eBooks, or playing games. And it’s not so small that you’ll find yourself squinting at the screen when you hook up a keyboard and try to get some real work done (unless you use the Windows “make  text and other items larger or smaller” option to make things “smaller”).

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All told, the Dell Venue 11 Pro probably isn’t the best dedicated tablet you can find… nor does it make the best laptop. But it’s an interesting option for folks that don’t want to have to spend money on one of each. You can use it pretty effectively to perform common tablet or notebook tasks.

Here are some of the things I found myself doing during my time with the Dell Venue 11 Pro:

  • Reading an eBook using the Kindle app.
  • Playing Minion Rush and other touch-friendly games from the Windows Store.
  • Surfing the web using Internet Explorer 11 in tablet mode.
  • Reading web pages in Chrome and Firefox in desktop mode.
  • Watching YouTube videos in a web browser, or full-screen videos from Netflix, VEVO, and other Windows Store apps.
  • Listening to internet radio using the TuneIn Radio app in the background while running other apps in the foreground.

Windows Store apps run smoothly and look great on the tablet’s full HD display. Dell’s tablet also has decent viewing angles, so it doesn’t really matter how you’re holding it. The screen should be bright and colorful from most angles.

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Unfortunately the Windows Store is still a bit of a wasteland when compared with the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. There are certainly some great apps available, including Kindle, VEVO, and Netflix. They’re attractive and easy to use once you get used to Microsoft’s touch-based gestures (swipe from the left to switch apps, from the right to bring up system-side settings, or from the top or bottom for additional in-app menus).

But there are plenty of apps that I use on my Android phone and tablets that simply aren’t available. There are no official apps for Pandora, Google Play Music, YouTube, or Google Calendar, for instance.

Performance (Laptop style)

Unlike my Android tablet, though, the Dell Venue 11 Pro can run the full desktop versions of Chrome, Firefox, Irfanview, and GIMP — the tools I use every day to keep this website up to date. So once Dell shipped me a Mobile Keyboard that allowed me to treat the tablet a bit more like a laptop, that’s what I did.

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As laptops go, the Dell Venue 11 Pro isn’t exactly a speed demon — it has a slightly faster CPU than the Asus Transformer Book T100, but it actually feels like it might be a bit slower… possibly because it takes a bit more power to refresh the Dell tablet’s full HD display than the Asus tablet’s 1366 x 768 pixel screen. But the Dell tablet is fast enough for the sort of work I do as a blogger… and it gets ridiculously long battery life.

The tablet alone can run for up to 9 hours on a charge. The Mobile Keyboard has its own built-in battery which extends run time by about 50 percent, meaning that you can get around 14 hours of battery life or more.

The Mobile Keyboard does make the whole setup a bit chunkier. It measures 0.4 inches thick and weighs 1.75 pounds.

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If you’re looking for a thinner solution, the Slim Keyboard is just 0.1 inches thick, weighs just 11 ounces, and has no batter. The Slim Keyboard also doubles as a cover for the tablet — but it isn’t really designed for use on your lap. The keyboard sits flat in front of the keyboard instead of attaching to it like a laptop base.

I quite like the Mobile Keyboard. The keys are large enough to make touch typing easy, and while there’s a bit of flex if you press down hard in the center, I didn’t have any problems typing most of this review on the keyboard.

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Below the keyboard there’s a touchpad which supports multi-touch gestures such as two-finger scrolling or tapping. You can also use edge gestures to bring up the Windows Charms menu by swiping from the right side of the touchpad instead of the right side of the touchscreen.

I do have two bones to pick with the Mobile Keyboard though. First, it doesn’t come with its own charging cable. You can use the micro USB cable that comes with the tablet to charge the keyboard dock, or the tablet.

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If you want to charge both at once you can connect the keyboard to the tablet (which covers up the USB port on the keyboard) and connect your cable to the tablet. It should charge both devices… slowly. It can take a while for the keyboard to begin charging once the tablet is fully charged — in fact, I initially thought charging both devices with one cable didn’t work at all.

charging3

That means you can either charge the tablet or keyboard — but you can’t charge both at the same time (unless you pick up a separate micro USB charger and plug them both into separate wall jacks).

My second complaint is that the keyboard is just a keyboard and battery. While it’s nice that there are a full-sized USB and micro HDMI ports on the tablet, it’d be even nicer if adding the keyboard gave you a few extra ports. Right now there’s no easy way to plug in a USB flash drive and an external mouse without a USB hub.

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Given the keyboard’s $160 price tag, a USB port or two doesn’t seem like much to ask for. It’d also be nice if you could tilt the screen back a bit further — it seems to stop at about 100 degrees or so. That’s not usually a problem when you’re using the system as a notebook PC on a table or desk, but I find it a bit hard to prop the screen at a decent angle when using the Venue 11 Pro and keyboard on my lap.

OK, so let’s say you’ve spend $560 to pick up the Intel Atom-powered tablet and keyboard. What you’ve got now is a 2-in-1 Windows convertible that’s a bit bigger than an Asus Transformer Book T100 and about $150 – $200 more expensive.

But you’ve also got a machine with a higher resolution display, a slightly faster CPU, longer tablet battery life, and a keyboard which adds even more run time. Throw in a few extra goodies like an 8MP rear camera, and it’s pretty clear that while you’re paying a bit more, you’re also getting a bit more.

Whether you’ll need it depends on how you expect to use this machine.

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High resolution screens are all the rage on smartphones these days, because Android, iOS, and other mobile operating systems are designed so that items are about the same physical size no matter how many pixels are packed into your screen. Windows Store apps work pretty much the same way on Windows RT or Windows 8.1 tablets, laptops, and desktops.

But classic desktop Windows apps aren’t always optimized for screens with high pixel densities. So while Windows allows you to slide a dial to make text and images look smaller or larger, some apps just ignore the Windows settings. Image editing app GIMP, for instance, features tiny, tiny buttons that are hard to tap when used on a tablet with a small but high-resolution display.

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And while it’s nice to be able to make text smaller so you can fit multiple desktop apps side-by-side, I have to lean in until my nose is nearly touching the screen to actually read text when I do that.

For instance, this is what two browser windows look like next to one another with the text and graphics options set to largest:

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And this is how those two windows look at the smallest setting. You can fit more content on the screen, but it’s harder to see, especially if you have less than perfect vision.

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So most of the time when I’m using the Dell Venue 11 Pro as a laptop, I have text and images set to their largest level… which means I’m using the 1920 x 1080 pixel display as if it were a 1366 x 768 pixel screen.

In terms of raw computing power, the Venue 11 Pro seems to be one of the fastest Intel Atom-powered tablets you’re likely to find in early 2104.

dell venue 11 pro liliputing benchmarks

Powered by an Atom Z3770 quad-core Bay Trail processor, the tablet managed to complete every test I could throw at it in less time than it took the Dell Venue 8 Pro (with an Atom Z3740D) or the Asus Transformer Book T100 (with an Atom Z3740). 

That includes transcoding audio and video files using VirtualDub and WinLame (two tools I’ve been using for years… even though they’re not necessarily the most up-to-date), as well as creating a large archive containing over 2,000 files using 7-zip.

I also took video encoding tool Handbrake for a spin, and again the Venue 11 Pro was king of the Atom-powered tablet hill.

Dell Venue 11 Pro Handbrake

In every test, the Dell XPS 11 tablet with an Intel Core i5-4210y Haswell processor was faster than any of the Atom systems. But that’s not surprising given that tablet’s $1300 price tag.

What is surprising is that the XPS 11 wasn’t actually all that much faster than the Venue 11 Pro in many tests… even though the Venue tablet is less than half the price.

Benchmarks don’t always tell the whole story, and in real-world usage the XPS 11 tablet feels significantly faster. Apps launch more quickly, the system doesn’t slow down at all when you’ve got dozens of web browser tabs open or multiple apps running simultaneously. If the XPS 11 had a mechanical keyboard instead of an odd, hard-to-use touch-sensitive keyboard, there’s no question it’d be the better tablet/notebook hybrid.

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But the Venue 11 Pro is a surprisingly capable laptop substitute when you add the Mobile Keyboard, fire up desktop style apps, and get to work.

I’m most comfortable when I also plug in an external mouse, not because there’s anything wrong with the touchpad on the Mobile Keyboard (when it works properly), but because when I rely on the touchpad I find myself frequently reaching up to tap the touchscreen display. This works fine in most desktop apps, but for some reason Google Chrome has a habit of bringing up the on-screen keyboard if you tap a text input box with your fingertip… even if you have a physical keyboard attached.

Since I tend to use Chrome, I find myself also using a wireless mouse so I can tap the URL bar or other text boxes without bringing up a virtual keyboard which covers half the screen. When I don’t have a mouse nearby, I just use Firefox instead, since that browser doesn’t behave the same way when I tap text boxes. Two-finger scrolling with the touchpad also works better in Firefox.

From time to time I have noticed that the touchpad simply stops working… particularly after I’ve been using an external mouse or relying on the touchscreen for a while. It can take a few reboots or other black magic to get it to start working again. I don’t seem to be the only one with this problem.

Verdict

Dell’s Venue 11 Pro tablet is head and shoulders above the competition in one important way: Dell offers a wide range of configuration options and accessories. All versions of the Dell Venue 11 Pro may be a 10.8 inch tablet with a full HD display, an Intel processor, and Windows 8.1 software. But you can configure it with a range of processor, memory, and storage options.

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Dell also offers accessories including a $35 digital pen for use with the built-in active digitizer so you can write or draw on the screen and a $140 desktop dock that lets you connect dual displays, printers, keybaords, or other peripherals.

As a standalone device, the $499 Dell Venue 11 Pro is one of the nicer Windows tablets I’ve tested… but whether it’s worth $499 at a time when there are cheaper options available depends on just how much you want a Windows tablet with full HD display, removable battery, and full-sized USB 3.0 port.

But if you think of the $499 tablet as a starting point and begin adding accessories like a keyboard, it’s a 2-in-1 computer that can provide true all-day battery life and decent performance for relatively light-weight tasks.

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Of course, once you add the keyboard dock the Dell Venue 11 Pro is starting to get into ultrabook territory in terms of price. It’s not hard to find a thin and light laptop touchscreen with a Celeron or even Core i3 or core i5 processor  in the $600 and up price range these days… although you probably won’t find one with 10+ hours of battery life and a detachable tablet.

Bargain-hunters might be better served with an Asus Transformer Book T100. Notebook hunters can find cheaper options. But ultimately there’s nothing else quite like the Dell Venue 11 Pro on the market, and if you’re willing to pay a bit more for this tablet and its range of accessories, you get a bit more than you would with other tablets and convertibles.

  • bfre

    Guys, did you really ignore how the pen input on the “active digitizer” is terrible? One quick google search will show dozens of owners complaining.

    • Michael Thompson

      I just watched a review where it was outright demonstrated.

    • Sam

      Looking at the reviews on Dell’s site, it seems that the first version of the stylus was junk, but the updated version that they currently sell works as it should.

    • http://rct.me.ht/ crashsuit

      I was all set to pull the trigger on the i5/8GB/256 model, but since the Synaptics stylus tech was so new, I thought I’d better wait just a bit to see how it compared to Wacom. I’m glad I waited. One of my primary use cases would be for a mobile digital art slate, and while the hardware specs are pretty good for the price, most comments on the Tablet PC forums indicate that after a couple hardware revisions and several firmware updates, the stylus is still just terrible. It’s really frustrating, because otherwise the Venue 11 Pro would be perfect for me.

  • WANg

    Is the Win8 release 32 or 64 Bit on the Venue Pro 11?

    • CommentatusMaximus

      I’ve read it’s the 64-bit version

      • WANg

        I doubt it. Intel and Microsoft did not work out that entire 64 Bit connected Standby issue on the current Z37x0 Bay Trail Atoms.

        Oh. Note that the Win 8.1 release on the Atom version reads “32 Bit”. So Brad most likely tested a 32 Bit release.

        http://www.dell.com/us/p/dell-venue-11-pro/pd

      • CyberGusa

        Mind we’re talking about updated models here and the ones still on the site are still using the original release… Note the SoC is the Z3770 and not a newer Z37x5 model…

        http://goodereader.com/blog/tablet-slates/dell-first-to-offer-64-bit-windows-8-1-running-venue-8-pro-and-venue-11-pro-tablet

        MS actually got the drivers sorted out last month and we’ll finally start seeing them applied on devices that are starting to come out now…

        Many OEMs are just unlikely to update older models when they would prefer people buy the newer models… and it helps better justify any premiums for offering 4GB of RAM instead of 2GB…

  • Michael Thompson

    Despite the stylus from hades I like the core i5 version of this one.

  • wycx

    Can you get dual displays with the Atom, or only the more expensive processors?

    • CommentatusMaximus

      I’m also interested in how multi-monitor works. I have an Android tablet and using the mini-HDMI output just duplicates the tablet’s screen. Would be really useful to hook up to a hotel room TV and thus get two monitors while on the road. Plus the desktop dock has a DisplayPort and HDMI output, so does that mean you get three monitors (including the tablet’s)? Dell’s website is unclear on this and reviewers never try this feature out.

      • CyberGusa

        Yes, you can get multi-monitor setup to work with the Bay Trail ATOMs… Output options include Miracast/WiDi, HDMI, and display port via a USB 3.0 dock… provided you get a model with a USB 3.0 port…

        Max resolution support for Bay Trail is 2560×1600, though, some of the more basic budget models support only up to 1920 x 1200 and also more limited max clocks and single channel memory instead of dual channel…

        You can check out some demonstration of multi-monitor support on youtube to check it out… Bloggers like Chippy from UMPC Portal has done a couple demonstrations for example, like demonstrating how well the USB 3.0 dock that he normally uses with Ultrabooks also works well with many of the Bay Trail devices… Even supporting having something on the Bay Trail device screen and the external monitor at the same time…

        Though, a note on Miracast support… Not all receivers work well and the resolution output is locked to the native resolution on the device… So many of the 8″ models have resolution too low to easily work well with some Monitors/TVs…

      • CommentatusMaximus

        Yeah, I’m interested in getting a WiDi receiver but they all seem like a PITA.

      • CyberGusa

        If you don’t require mirroring then Chromecast may be a better choice, cheaper and usually more reliable… It’s mainly a media streamer though, and that means no desktop mirroring to use the TV/Monitor as an external screen… though, there are some work around solutions…

        Main problem with Miracast is there’s quite a bit of the standard that isn’t set as default requirements, meaning many of the OEMs are left to their own devices as to how they configure their receivers and what of the many optional configurations/features they choose to support or don’t…

        So it can range from a low cost receiver that requires proprietary software to connect instead of the Windows default, to something that may be finicky depending on what WiFi manufacturer your card was made by and what firmware both it and the receiver are using…

        To many it’s still an ongoing development, so a product may get multiple updates over a few months and what works and what doesn’t can change with each update… as the users are basically the beta testers to tell the OEMs whether they fixed the problem or created a new one or both… etc. etc.

        Though, on the plus side, even if Miracast isn’t working… most also support the older WiDi specification and that’s something to fall back on…

        While, other issues… as mentioned before with the 8″ models… Miracast is limited to the screen resolution of your device and if that screen resolution isn’t supported by the external TV/Monitor then it may not work or look distorted… and you can’t set the output resolution to a different resolution like you could with HDMI, etc.

        Though, a lot of this is because it’s tied to Intel Quick Sync and we’ll have to wait for the next Gen Quick Sync to see if they improve performance and get compatibility sorted out with all the OEMs…

      • CommentatusMaximus

        Regarding Chromecast, I’m waiting for a model with HDMI passthrough. Or maybe the next Google/Android TV.

        What I need for mobility includes both the ability to play a stored movie on a hotel TV while working on the sofa as well as the ability to extend the desktop in case I find the laptop screen too small. So in that case, the Chromecast does not work (I think). A long HDMI cable could work but WiDi would be great if it was reliable.

      • CyberGusa

        Reliability is the question, and presently it doesn’t appear to be 100%… Though, some are at around 90% but that can still be annoying not knowing when it may not work, even if it does work most of the time…

        But perhaps just get both, unless that’s a problem… Chromecast has the advantage of being able to stream while you do something else with your device… Streaming is qued and run separately… freeing your device to do something else… Services like Plex make good use of this…

        It’s just not ideal for mirroring but it does support limited mirroring through the Chrome browser, you can basically mirror a tab… Though, it’s still tends to be buggy, crash prone, won’t stream audio, and refresh rates could be better…

        While Miracast has the opposite issue, in that you are pretty much locked into a mirror stream and thus you can’t do something else on your device from what’s being streamed…

        So, maybe consider getting both… would make for more flexible usages and adds redundancy in case either fails to work for any reason… Leaving the extra long HDMI cable as a final backup solution…

        Of course, down side would be more things to carry but both the Miracast and Chromecast would only need separate receivers and the Chromecast is at least pretty small and cheap…

        Btw, you aren’t the only one to want a HDMI pass through for the Chromecast… So we’ll see if that becomes an option in the next version but most TV’s have multiple ports or you could simply get a HDMI switch box… So you can still work around it anyway, even if slightly less convenient…

      • CommentatusMaximus

        My understanding is that Chromecast requires connection to a router which isn’t ideal in hotels. Many require set up at a minimum, others limit # of devices, and others isolate devices from each other.

        My basic needs are fulfilled by a really long HDMI cable. My preference is for a wireless solution that does exactly the same thing in a relatively simple manner.

      • CyberGusa

        Chromecast isn’t really limited to needing a router, just a shared connection, but it does require Internet access…

        So one solution would be if you opt for Ethernet Internet then you can use your WiFi as a hotspot to share the connection and connect the Chromecast that way… There’s also plenty of portable router options for travelers that can be fairly easily configured for any hotspot on the go…

        There are many ways to get around limitations…

        But, like many alternatives it depends on what you would consider worth it just for the convenience of being able to be wireless from the TV/Monitor…

        For now, there aren’t really any single solution that does everything well…

      • CommentatusMaximus

        Yeah, way too much effort. I think I’ll try a WiDi device. I hear that the latest Haswell processors have much better compatibility.

      • WANg

        No. HDMI or DisplayPort, not both.

        The Atom SoC has basically 4 video outputs, 2 is routed via MIPI to the onboard LCD screen, and then there are 2 DDI lanes, either one can carry a single 1920×1080/24 bit color/60Hz. So the engineer there can do either:
        a) Route one DDI land to the HDMI port, and one to the Displayport, and get dual 1080i support simutaneously

        b) Route both DDI lanes into either the HDMI port, or the Displayport, but not both at the same time. You get one 2560×1600/24bpp/60Hz output. This is what vendors went with.

        The Venue 11 Pro dock supports both the Haswell machines, and this one. Considering that the Haswells can do 2 2560×1600 lanes simultaneously, the dock is setup so when you plug the 11″ Atom tablet in, it’ll drive one external LCD, either HDMI or eDP. One or the other. Not both.

  • tsog

    Is there a $100 discount for a tablet + KB bundle? I am adding $499 and $130/160 and I get $629/659, not $529/559.

    “the Venue 11 Pro does not come with a free version of Office 2013 Home & Student.”
    It seems that Office IS included with the Atom versions.
    http://www.dell.com/us/p/dell-venue-11-pro/pd

  • DayHay

    Looks like only the 64GB version comes with Office. I got the Venue 8 pro with the included office for $260, pretty screaming deal for those in the Microsoft corporate world.

  • CommentatusMaximus

    How does the Atom and Core i5 match up in battery time? I would assume the Atom chip would last longer but if it’s similar the extra performance boost might be worth it to go with the i5.

    • CyberGusa

      Definitely a run time advantage for ATOM chips… lower max TDP and much better idle states can easily give significant battery life advantage… but you’d have to balance that consideration versus up to 50% greater performance for the Core i5 system…

      There’s some overlap towards the low end for Haswell, though, as you’d get roughly about the performance of a Haswell Y chip that similar dips below 10W for at least SDP… or about the performance from say a ULV Core i5 from a little over 2.5 years ago in products like the Samsung Series 7 Windows 7 tablet…

      But, you’d also get better GPU performance from a Core series model… Bay Trail’s GPU is based on Ivy Bridge but it’s scaled down to only 4EUs… Compared to the HD4000, which has 16 or even the typical Core based Celeron/Pentium that has 6EUs for the HD GMA version…

      Intel did a pretty good of optimizing it, but even compared to mobile ARM SoC’s GPUs it’s only around mid-range performance but is good enough for up to 2560×1600 resolution support and you can play games like Portal, L4D2, WoW, Torchlight 2, etc. with at least minimum settings.

      Though, Intel plans to significantly improve GPU performance over the next two years… The upcoming Cherry Trail update for the ATOM alone will increase the EU count from 4 to 16 and update the GPU from Gen 7 (Ivy Bridge) to Gen 8 (Broadwell)…

      Till then, Intel is releasing updated Bay Trail models… many of the Z37x5 models will offer up to 16% faster max GPU clock speed and the Celeron/Pentium branded Bay Trail M/D updated models will offer slightly better performance but also include something that’s normally disabled for all Celeron/Pentium models and that’s Quick Sync support…

      So you don’t have to consider just the Bay Trail T or Core series, but also the more middle Bay Trail based Celeron/Pentium models as well… for a nicer balance between performance, features, cost, and battery live…

      • CommentatusMaximus

        I’ve decided to go for an ultrabook. The trade-offs for a tablet with keyboard dock just aren’t worth it for me (weight, odd ergonomics, lowered performance, and limited storage). Maybe in another year or two tablets will hit the minimum productivity capability for me and I’ll buy in but not quite yet.

      • CyberGusa

        For Ultrabook level performance… Wait for the end of 2015 when Broxton comes out…

        It’ll be the next major architectural update, codename Goldmont, for the ATOM series… Not too many specifics available right now but Intel is shooting for 5x the CPU performance of Clover Trail and 15x the GPU performance, which would put it right into the Ultrabook performance range…

        While eMMC storage should have advanced by then too for both higher capacity and higher performance than what devices now offer… and we should start seeing the start of the transition to LP-DDR4 by then as well for higher capacity RAM that’s also lower on power usage…

        Though, slightly higher end Bay Trail M/D models are available for laptop through desktop systems under Celeron/Pentium branding as something to consider if it’s just a matter of form factor and something in the Celeron/Pentium performance range is good enough…

      • CommentatusMaximus

        I know, I was planning to wait until at least early 2015 but due to actual work needs I have to get one now. Can’t hold out any longer.

  • WANg

    Why didn’t Brad test Handbrake with Quicksync support? The nightly version has support for it, and it is touted as a major selling point.

    • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

      Because a) I didn’t run that test on my comparison systems and b) I forgot there was a version of Handbrake with support for it. :)

      The answer is it takes 46 seconds to encode the same video using Quicksync, so it’s just less than twice as fast.

      • CyberGusa

        It’s very much still a beta feature anyway and many are probably waiting for Cherry Trail’s gen 8 GPU to bring in the more advance Quick Sync support that offers better quality options…

        The Bay Trail’s present gen 7 GPU only has the more basic version of Quick Sync and it may be good for a nice speed boost in certain renderings but the video quality isn’t the best… So fine for things like quick and dirty youtube video conversion but not if you want better quality video renders…

      • WANg

        Yeah well, Cherry Trail is still at least 9 months away. Bay Trail and the upcoming Z37x5 series refresh is here now.

        That entire quality thing is also highly subjective – I have read reviews both praising

        http://missingremote.com/review/intel-quick-sync-examining-haswell-performance

        and slamming

        http://www.anandtech.com/show/7007/intels-haswell-an-htpc-perspective/8

        rendering quality on the Gen 3 Quicksync (Gen 1 is in the Sandys, Gen 2 is in the Ivys and the Bay Trails). Besides, for an 8 or 10″ tablet that can transcode on the fly that’s already plenty good.

      • CyberGusa

        It may be subjective, but between the better GPU and more advance Quick Sync support it should definitely be a better platform for video editing than the present Bay Trail offers… as well as providing better Miracast support, since that requires Quick Sync to encode the video stream…

        Intel is also shrinking the board size and reducing costs, which should translate into much more affordable models and we can likely see more UMPC size devices as well… Right now the smallest they’re offering is 8″ devices but some would prefer it go down to 5″-7″… While, even if they don’t go that small, the reduced costs should make it easier for OEMs to include features like a WACOM pen, etc. to make the smaller tablets more usable.

        Anyway, Cherry Trail is actually set to start shipping in the next 2-3 months to OEMs, who would then get final devices ready for us to actually buy during the holiday shopping season…

        May not be a lot of models by then but we’ll definitely start seeing models before 9 months… more like 6-8… Pretty much the mirror of the previous Bay Trail release…

      • WANg

        Really? video editing off a 5/7/8 inch screen? Good luck getting Adobe Premiere running on your tablet – If it’s not busy filling up your 16/32/64GB SSD you’ll probably need to squint into the screen to get anything done. QS is also one of those gimmicky features that are useful only if you have a sizable storage device filled with offline videos and a need to shrink the data so it’ll be ready for a consumption device, like, say, an iPad or another tablet. It is also not supported on the Linux side, so android devices cannot take advantage of it.

        As for Miracast…why would you want Miracast? The Android guys running their phones or 10″ tablets went with MicroHDMI or MHL, which only require a $7 to $25 physical cable, not a $30 to $50 Miracast dongle that has issues with latency or cross-compatibility with your device.

        As for Cherry Trail hitting by Christmas – eeeeeh no. There are already problems moving the 0-series Windows Bay Trail devices out of the stores until they are heavily discounted – They’ll still be selling -5 series Bay Trails by the holiday season, and the Cherry Trails will mostly wait until Q1 or Q2 2015 just so all those inventory can be cleared out. Intel had to do the same thing purging the backlog of Ivy and early Haswell machines out of the pipeline. That’s the reason why Broadwell got pushed back from Q3 2014 to Q1 2015…there’s simply too much product and not enough demand, and frankly, I don’t see anyone ask specifically for a Win8 tablet…Win8 is still a UI trainwreck that fills up 11 to 15GB of your precious flash space, and to do anything meaningful you still need a Bluetooth keyboard or a dedicated detachable, like this one, or the Asus T100TA.

        Intel still has to pick up the tab for each and every device they will need to grab market share from the tons of ARM powered Android devices out there, with many of which already on the $75 level. Frankly, the Tablet boom is already a netbook-like race to the bottom, and the Microsoft announcement to waive licensing for devices smaller than 8″ is just an indication of this. Wintel will need to convince each and every one of those customers why running Windows on a tablet is such a good idea. I own a Miix 2 8 and even I am not entirely convinced.

      • CyberGusa

        You do know all anyone need do is connect an external monitor or TV?

        And you can use external drives to handle all the video files, and working over USB 3.0 should be fast enough…

        While Quick Sync actually works, many video bloggers use it regularly and many of them reported that Bay Trail’s with Quick Sync is good enough for handling their Youtube work loads…

        Sure, it won’t be ideal for anything longer than several minutes but that’s all a lot of people really need and most people can’t tell the difference on quality, especially if they only need it for something like Youtube or similar social media usages.
        While I believe you’re mistaken on the rest as well…

        1) Cherry Trail’s release has nothing to do with present Bay Trail sales, Intel intends to release the updates as soon as possible because they need to in order to press what little advantages they do have! So they can’t wait for Bay Trail to sell well in order to do that!

        2) Bay Trail devices have been selling well, so I’m highly dubious they’re having any serious troubles there to begin with… Models like the Asus Transformer Book T100 have been stated to have exceeded sales expectations since its release and Asus is about to release an updated model soon to further take advantage of that fact!

        3) Intel is already releasing the second wave of Bay Trail SoCs… So the idea they would delay Cherry Trail is even less likely when they’re already advancing on Bay Trail!

        It’s only a question of whether they can reach the total number they want to reach by the end of the year, but they don’t have to reach that goal to still be successful…

        4) Bay Trail T SoCs are in the $32 to $37 range, not $75 level… Only the higher end Bay Trail M/D’s that go under the Celeron/Pentium branding go higher… but the second wave of Bay Trail releases reduce the prices… Like the older Celeron N2820 had a tray pricing of $132 but the newer N2830 has a tray pricing of just $107 and some other updates have a even greater savings… and this also includes the mobile SoCs that now scale down to dual cores for Android only models…

        Only the mobile Bay Trail T SoCs and early mobile SoCs are being subsidized anyway… So these lower pricings for Celeron/Pentium ranges is from actual reduced costs for Intel being passed on…

        While it may cost Intel a lot to subsidize even only the mobile Bay Trail SoCs but operational costs are already much lower than their Core series and they’re still making net profits and so can afford to wait till their mobile dept can become profitable…

        Reducing costs to OEMs is a big step in that direction and solves one of the remaining issues that gave ARM the clear advantage… and the move to 14nm is pretty much already going to be paid for with Broadwell… So the Cherry Trail update can take advantage of the lower unit costs to help become profitable…

        5) Intel is considerably improving things for OEMs by reducing board size and making it much easier to get parts, not only from Intel or a select number of providers anymore…

        This and reduced costs are why Intel thinks they can get OEMs to make even Windows based devices as low as $99-$129 as they get the BOM costs for such devices down to around $60… Helps that MS is now offering Windows free to OEMs for devices 9″ or smaller as well…

        6) We’re about to see the first Android Bay Trail models released soon and that should increase Bay Trail sales if nothing else by increasing the number of device options for consumers…

        Asus is going to release an update to their Transformer Pad series with the TF103 and TF303, both will be based on Bay Trail!

        Ditto with many other OEMs like Acer… So the market is moving along just fine for now… No need for doom and gloom!

        You are right that running Windows on tablets still needs to convince a lot of consumers but as MS improves Windows 8 with each update and we steadily see more and more performance being provided then it should become a no brainer…

        Intel’s game plan, which it seems they will make good on, is that by the end of 2015 and they got Broxton out means that compared to Clover Trail they would have improved CPU performance by 5x and GPU performance by 15x and that would put them right at the performance range of present Haswell Core series but with mobile power thresholds…

        Really, when you have the power of a Ultrabook and all you need to do is plug it into a dock to have a instant desktop setup… The benefits of mobile devices being able to run a full desktop becomes self apparent…

      • WANg

        > You do know all anyone need do is connect an external monitor or TV?

        First of all, that “connect an external monitor or TV option” is missing on the 8 or 10 inch tablets. All existing 8″ tablets do not have MicroHDMI, or does it have MHL support – those devices have only a single Micro USB port (which is also the charging port). On those machines you are basically forced to use Miracast or Displaylink external adapters. If it’s DisplayLink you’ll need both endpoints to have the ASIC built in. If it’s Miracast you still need your OS to support it well, and for the device on the other end to perform in a satisfactory manner. On the 10s that MicroHDMI output port is optional and up to the discretion of the vendor. If I have to guess the external ports will be left out on the even cheaper models to save on costs.

        > And you can use external drives to handle all the video files, and working over USB 3.0 should be fast enough…

        Once again, that’s an issue with that one USB port on the 8 or 10 inch tablets. For convertibles, 11 inchers and ones with docks this is less of a problem, but try explaining this one to the legions of Dell Venue Pro 8 owners who essentially cannot run external drives, or the Lenovo Miix 8 or 10 owners who has to buy power injecting OTG adapters to run those external peripherals…and that’s not going to get any better.

        > While Quick Sync actually works, many video bloggers use it regularly and many of them reported that Bay Trail’s with Quick Sync is good enough for handling their Youtub e work l oads…
        Sure, it won’t be ideal for anything longer than several minutes but that’s all a lot of people really need and most people can’t tell the difference on quality, especially if they only need it for something like Youtube or similar social media usages.

        Yeah…which is why I consider that entire Bay Trail/Cherry Trail QS feature to be an icing on the cake. It’s a nice-to-have, but it’s not essential. I am certainly not going to justify buying another $300 tablet just to encode better video…

        While I believe you’re mistaken on the rest as well…

        > 1) Cherry Trail’s release has nothing to do with present Bay Trail sales, Intel intends to release the updates as soon as possible because they need to in order to press what little advantages they do have! So they can’t wait for Bay Trail to sell well in order to do that!

        Um. No. Intel can push updates out as quickly as they can, but they’ll still need the vendors to buy into it, and the retail stores to carry it. Intel can launch as many chips as they want, but if the vendors don’t see the sales to justify buying them, or the retail stores to justify stocking them, they are simply not going to be built, nor will they be made available to consumers. Just look at a list of Intel Ivy/Haswell/Bay Trail CPUs that are listed as launched, and see just how many of the ones are actually purchased in quantity to be built into actual products. Keep in mind that Intel is subsidize each and every tablet chip to force market share – their Q1 earnings call pretty much confirmed that.

        > 2) Bay Trail devices have been selling well, so I’m highly dubious they’re having any serious troubles there to begin with… Models like the Asus Transformer Book T100 have been stated to have exceeded sales expectations since its release and Asus is about to release an updated model soon to further take advantage of that fact!

        Were they selling well? From what I got from Intel analysts their sales have been indifferent on the tablet end until the discounts kicked in, and as for the Transformer? That’s a niche product from a known quality player. They also pledged Android support for them back in Q3 2013 and then backtracked on it. That didn’t exactly helped them one bit.

        > 3) Intel is already releasing the second wave of Bay Trail SoCs… So the idea they would delay Cherry Trail is even less likely when they’re already advancing on Bay Trail!
        It’s only a question of whether they can reach the total number they want to reach by the end of the year, but they don’t have to reach that goal to still be successful…

        Um. It’s not really a second wave as much as a stepping refresh. That’s already in the schedule. As for Cherry Trail, that’s a different matter. They already pushed back Broadwell due to weak demand on their silicon, and unless their Bay Trails seriously move some units they’ll see the writing on the wall, ease back on the schedule and let the inventotries clear out.

        > 4) Bay Trail T SoCs are in the $32 to $37 range, not $75 level… Only the higher end Bay Trail M/D’s that go under the Celeron/Pentium branding go higher… but the second wave of Bay Trail releases reduce the prices… Like the older Celeron N2820 had a tray pricing of $132 but the newer N2830 has a tray pricing of just $107 and some other updates have a even greater savings… and this also includes the mobile SoCs that now sca le down to dual cores for Android only models…
        Only the mobile Bay Trail T SoCs and early mobile SoCs are being subsidized anyway… So these lower pricings for Celeron/Pentium ranges is from actual reduced costs for Intel being passed on…

        Yeah – and this discussion is only about the Bay Trail-Ts. Intel is still trying to ship about 5 million chips by the end of Q2, and 40 million by the end of the year (this according to their Q1 2014 earnings call). Qualcomm on the other hand shipped about 210 million of them, with most going into Android devices. On a pure numbers game Intel has a massive uphill battle, and they squandered quite a bit of goodwill in the past with vendors like HTC and Dell by messing with the pricing on the XScale chips for smartphones and PDAs and then abandoning the market about 10 years ago.

        > While it may cost Intel a lot to subsidize even only the mobile Bay Trail SoCs but operational costs are already much lower than their Core series and they’re still making net profits and so can afford to wait till their mobile dept can become profitable…

        Yeah. About that. They are basically using their Xeons and Haswells to pay for the Atom tablets…not to say that it’s not a bad long terms strategy, but it still doesn’t allow you to astroturf demand for Win8 and/or Android Atom tablets.

        > Reducing costs to OEMs is a big step in that direction and solves one of the remaining issues that gave ARM the clear advantage… and the move to 14nm is pretty much already going to be paid for with Broadwell… So the Cherry Trail update can take advantage of the lower unit costs to help become profitable…
        This and reduced costs are why Intel thinks they can get OEMs to make even Windows based devices as low as $99-$129 as they get the BOM costs for such devices down to around $60… Helps that MS is now offering Windows free to OEMs for devices 9″ or smaller as well…

        You’ll still need demand for them. Cutting costs to move products is like cutting limbs off a sick man until he starts showing signs of recovery…it doesn’t work – ARM is already in a ton of bargain basement tablets that no sane person should buy, and the vendors can cut costs further by trimming cores, memory count and who knows what else – that’s not how you win in this game. Intel basically need to convince buyers that their chips are better for devices because of real, tangible reasons, not because they are cheap. The really cringeworthy thing I heard from the grapevine is the push for $150 Windows tablets with the cheaper Atoms, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB flash. Really, Intel? Do you enjoy shipping devices where 80% of the flash is taken up by the OS and running a few Metro apps + Office 2012 will bring it to its knees? Are you sure you are focused on your enemy like the $400 iPad mini or the $300 Nexus 7s? Or do you want to sell hardware that frustrates your customers? Frankly, constantly telling potential buyers that the better stuff is coming down the horizon is not a great way to guarantee current sales, especially if the current customers are left in the cold with new features or by not fixing current flaws. This entire Bay Trail Z37x0 32 bit only snafoo should be considered a major failure by Intel and Microsoft – my 64 bit tablet is doomed to 32 bit simply because they delayed the driver set, and there is no redress for the issue.

        > 5) Intel is considerably improving things for OEMs by reducing board size and making it much easier to get parts, not only from Intel or a select number of providers anymore…

        You can say the same thing about the established players in the mobile scene like Qualcomm, Broadcom, Samsung, TI, what have you. THe argument becomes “Why should I give up on an ARM licensee and go to Intel, which is a single source supplier”?

        > 6) We’re about to see the first Android Bay Trail models released soon and that should increase Bay Trail sales if nothing else by increasing the number of device options for consumers…
        Asus is going to release an update t o their Transformer Pad series with the TF103 and TF303, both will be based on Bay
        Trail!
        Ditto with many other OEMs like Acer… So the market is moving along just fine for now… No need for doom and gloom!

        So? Intel still needs to convince their buyers why that logo is worth their while. It’s not like there is this massive back catalogue of x86/x64 Android apps that woudl benefit from the jump, or there is some amazing killer feature in Android that you need an Intel processor, and only an Intel processor, to pull off.

        > You are right that running Windows on tablets still needs to convince a lot of consumers but as MS improves Windows 8 with each update and we steadily see more and more performance being provided then it should become a no brainer…

        That’s not really a good slogan to use to convince people to jump ship. You don’t tell someone with an iPad 2 to “buy this tablet – it would maybe perform to your expectations…one day…maybe”.

        > Really, when you have the power of a Ultrabook and all you need to do is plug it into a dock to have a instant desktop setup… The benefits of mobile devices being able to run a full desktop becomes self apparent…

        Except it doesn’t. The Bay Trail performs like a CULV Penryn from 2009, but minus the upgradeability. The connected standby thing was a driver hack that can be defeated with say, an errant, runaway driver call (like, say, if you suspend your tablet while running legacy Windows XP DirectX games, which is what people buy Win8 tablets do, run legacy stuff)
        And unlike the Penryn you cannot buy one that you can dock and drive 2 external screens simultaneously (I certainly can do that with my old Dell E4200). Besides, this is not some magical new device or concept, the old Fujitsu Stylistic ST or the old Sony UX series have that ability for ages.

      • CyberGusa

        “First of all, that “connect an external monitor or TV option” is missing
        on the 8 or 10 inch tablets. All existing 8″ tablets do not have
        MicroHDMI”

        No, a few do have the MicroHDMI… like the Lenovo Thinkpad 8 and the Acer Iconia W4 8″ tablets definitely have it… But you can always just use a USB port and docking station with display port support to provide an alternative output… or, as long as you don’t need fast refresh rates and a wide range of resolution support, you can always opt for Miracast or WiDi for wireless streaming to a TV or monitor…

        The USB option is even more convenient because you can have everything already connected to the dock and just connect one USB 3.0 cable to the tablet to dock it and just as easily disconnect it to undock it…

        Here’s a demonstration of the USB dock option being done with a Asus Vivo Tab Note 8 to demonstrate the potential for even cheap $99-$129 Bay Trail tablets that may come out later…

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSN8rgGZwjQ

        Note, he’s using the Asus Vivo Tab 8 in that demonstration!

        Also mind, that using the docking station also solves the powering external devices issue!

        Besides, people wanting more functionality can always just get one of the larger 10.1″ to 11.6″ models, which some even offer full size ports…

        And no, the Connected Standby is not a driver hack… It’s actual hardware support but like 64bit OS everything from the firmware to the OS has to support it in order for it to work properly… Saying it’s just a driver hack is like saying a system’s hardware isn’t 64bit just because you’re only running a 32bit OS on it…

        Besides, you wouldn’t be using Connected Standby while playing a game! And the desktop automatically gets suspended when a W8 system goes into Connected Standby state anyway!

        And you’re ignoring that I’m pointing out the performance they’ll have with Broxton… not the present Bay Trail’s… Again, Broxton will have performance rivaling the present Haswell Core processors… and that’s only about a year and half away now!

        While, present Bay Trail still compares pretty well to even products released only a little over 2.5 years ago… Like the Samsung Series 7 ULV Core i5 Windows 7 tablet!

        http://www.umpcportal.com/2014/03/dell-venue-pro-11-with-baytrail-beats-2-5-year-old-core-i5-tablet-in-cpu-test/

        And that’s not even the highest performing Bay Trail, since Bay Trail M/D series offer a bit more performance than the Bay Trail T models and can be found in everything from tablets to desktops…

      • WANg

        First of all, the Thinkpad 8 is not even out yet, and that’s not exactly meant or targeted at the consumer market, it’s designed to be the lighter alternative to the HP ElitePad 1000. Also, that machine uses the Z3770, which is also shipping with 32 bit UEFI. Who knows if Lenovo will roll an EFI64 update to appease enterprise IT.

        Second of all, that USB video crap is not a tablet exclusive – you can do that for any device out there, and it’s not exactly using the 2 DMI lanes that is driven directly by the Ivy bridge chipset – you have to talk to the Displaylink adapter via the USB stack, and it does have its latency and CPU utilization costs.

        Third of all, it IS a driver hack – CSD is nothing but tweaking the chipset drivers to support the C6/C7 states introduced on Intel cores released after Sandy bridge. All you need is for the BIOS or the UEFI to expose the hardware feature and handle state transitions – without them the big Atom power advantages that Intel touts are only dependent on their lithography,. If you go without CSD and combine it with the smaller battery on the 8 to 10 inch tablets it’s still going to yield you something similar to what you have seen on the existing Atom netbooks. By definition, that big power savings IS dependent on a driver hack to implement “race to idle”.

        Also, there is no tangible difference in the stepping B3 and C0 of the Bay Trail Atoms besides the higher burstable graphics speed (due to the higher thermal limit on the later stepping). In fact, Intel pointed out the hardware is already in place for 64 bit for both, and that it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to implement it.

        You are still touting what is essentially a promise that Intel is making down the line, while I am merely pointing out the facts on the ground today with the current generation of hardware. Intel can promise me the moon and the stars, it’s what’s available today on my desk that I care about. Besides, I should point out that chippy’s review has 2 fundamental flaws that makes it meaningless as a bragging point:

        a) It’s pitting a tablet running 64 Bit Windows 7 Pro (unknown patch level, unknown driver state) against a tablet running 32 Bit Windows 8. The thermal design/power consumption goals are very different.

        b) The machine in question has been benchmarked against its own peers and is reported to be significantly slower – its Turbo mode is thermally throttled to keep it within its range.
        http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Samsung-Series-7-XE700T1A-H01DE-Tablet-MID.71531.0.html

        So no. You are comparing the Bay Trail against a Sandy bridge that is intentionally hobbled to fit a specific role. Compare that Sandy Bridge to another Samsung with the same CPU(Like the Series 9 900X3A) and you’ll get a very different result.

      • CyberGusa

        “First of all, the Thinkpad 8 is not even out yet”

        Yes it is out, the one coming out soon is the not the Thinkpad 8 but the Thinkpad Tablet 10! And that will come with the new Z3795! While I also pointed out there were other tablets that also offered a USB port… Even the Asus Vivo Tab 8 can be used with the docking stations to use an external screen…

        “Second of all, that USB video crap is not a tablet exclusive – you can do that for any device out there”

        Not any device, but I never said it was a tablet exclusive!

        Besides, doesn’t change the point that it’s an option when you tried to suggest it wasn’t! While it has already been demonstrated to work just fine and even have the external screen handle two apps and the native screen handle another… So it works well enough…

        “Third of all, it IS a driver hack”

        Repeating that nonsense won’t make it true, fact is the drivers wouldn’t work if there wasn’t actual hardware support! So it is both hardware and drivers! Otherwise any device could have the feature enabled but it doesn’t work that way because you need actual hardware support!

        CS isn’t a simple idle state anyway, all non-essentials get turned off! And most normal systems don’t support operating in µW (microwatt) range as well and no driver hack would change that!

        So stop pretending you know what you’re talking about because you clearly don’t!

        “You are still touting what is essentially a promise that Intel is making down the line,”

        Which doesn’t really change the point being made… Besides, I’m also only including what they’ve already delivered!

        Comparisons to present Bay Trail is not down the line! And it doesn’t matter if it is thermally throttled to keep it within its range because that’s pretty much true of all mobile devices and tablet designs… So it’s still a valid comparison to show how far they’ve come in just two years…

        The move from Clover Trail to Bay Trail was a over 200% improvement in CPU performance and over 300% improvement in GPU performance… Even for ARM big jumps like that usually take about two years… and it’s definitely more than has ever before been for the ATOM series in over 5 years…

        It’s also valid comparison because a lot of people haven’t upgraded to a new PC yet and there’s still plenty of Sandy Bridge systems out there… So the baseline of what most people are comparing performance to isn’t very high…

        Really, even AMD is having trouble matching Bay Trail power efficiency and CPU performance on their low end… Only the lowest end dual core 1GHz A4-1200 even goes in the same TDP range as the Bay Trail T SoCs and the Z3770 provides equivalent CPU performance as the 15W A4-5000 Kabini…

        AMD’s upcoming Beema and Mullins are the first to truly offer mobile range power efficiency optimization but AMD is still not committed to competing in the mobile market…

        While Haswell mainly improved power efficiency, and Ivy Bridge didn’t improve performance much either, but still needs to scale very low to go into equivalent power thresholds as Bay Trail supports…

        This is partly why not that many people have upgraded to the latest hardware because of limited gains, especially on desktops where the changes made the littlest different as most of the changes was to improve power efficiency towards the low end, which again, only the Haswell Y chip really goes that low but it scales down performance to the point that it actually overlaps what Bay Trail offers… and that’s not a old Chip comparison but what’s presently available!

        Sure, Intel’s modern Core architecture has a big performance advantage over Bay Trail’s SIlvermont Architecture but Intel’s Core architecture is also massive and meant for high end performance but scaling it down to improve power efficiency is like trying to make a tank more fuel efficient… You may manage it but it won’t operate as easily on such low energy as something that’s much simpler in design and that causes the advantages to diminish…

        So you should really look at how much is being provided on such low cost and low power consumption and the fact Intel really plans on still significantly improving it in just the next two years means people won’t have to wait long if they still don’t consider it enough now…

      • WANg

        Nice little chip, although it’s kinda hard to recommend buying a Z37x0, given that the Z37x5 is coming out at the end of April 2014, and it looks like they’ll be 64 bit kosher out of the box.
        Did anyone at Intel attempt to explain why the Z37x0s will not do 64 Bit? Or more accurately – if I dump the filesystem image from a x5 machine, what’s to keep me from loading it on an x0 machine?

      • CyberGusa

        Basically, the firmware… The SoC is already 64bit but the UEFI firmware that many of the early devices were configured with was only 32bit…

        So, the OEMs would have to update the UEFI to 64bit as well as provide updated OS image to fully update the earlier devices to 64bit…

        But, not many are likely to do so because that would impede the reason for people to get newer models… Asus for example is releasing an updated version of their Transformer Book T100 with a Z3775…

        Mind, many of those Z37x5 models also include up to 16% faster max GPU clock speed, along with some other minor performance tweaks… So, at least they’d be offering more than just 64bit to help justify the update purchase… At least for those not willing to wait for Cherry Trail to come out…

        Though, you can still boot a 64bit OS with a 32bit UEFI, but it requires making changes to the boot process and making adjustments to the OS to work with the 32bit UEFI and that’s a pain to do even with a Linux distro…

        While, another reason they’ve waited to provide proper 64bit support is because many of the early devices were limited to only 2GB of RAM but we should start seeing more and more offer 4GB…

        Also, this was only a mobile Bay Trail issue… the Bay Trail M/D models didn’t need to support Connected Standby and thus many already have 64bit UEFI and full 64bit support…

      • WANg

        Yeah. And I bought a device with a Z3740…so guess how that makes me feel? Kinda pissed at the entire PC industry for throwing me under the bus for selling deliberately crippled hardware to guarantee them later sales. And guess how that makes me feel about being a repeat customer? Yeah, pretty damned unlikely.
        The RAM count also doesn’t justify abandoning current customers who paid for a 64 bit device and can only use 32 bits…ever. The Apple iPhone 5S/iPad Airs have only 1GB on board, and they are full 64 bit. My SunFire V100 can only do 2GB of RAM max and it’s 64 Bit SPARC compatible since day 1.
        Also, that 16% improved GPU performance is highly theoretical, based on the premise that moving 64 bits of data off the bus instead of 32 will means higher VRAM bandwidth on mass moves. Intel has not clarified just exactly what they did on the newer steppings to justify that improvement claim. I looked at their Bay Trail-T data sheet and cannot find anything there.

      • CyberGusa

        You can be angry at the whole PC industry but things aren’t quite as bad as you’re making it out to be…

        Like netbooks, many of these devices can still have enough users to have a user base strong enough to have someone willing to develop custom firmware and once that’s available then it would be a simple matter to then install and run a 64bit OS…

        Get your hands on a ISO for the latest W8.1 Update 1 and you can even do a clean install or even take advantage of WIMBoot… I know at least two people who already did so with the Asus T100 and are presently seeing how well WIMBoot runs… One is even going to see if they can install the WIM file to the 8GB separate drive that is presently being used as a recover partition, separate from the main 32GB eMMC…

        The updated models should actually make things easier… Since the there isn’t too much difference to the older Bay Trail’s aside from finally providing 64bit UEFI and updated drivers but it shouldn’t take much tweaking to port the updated firmware to older models…

        Really, mobile devices have pretty much always been very limited… regardless of whether they’re ARM or x86 based… But users have always managed to work around most of those limitations…

        Even with embedded devices, there have always been people willing to work with SMT to do things like replace the CPU, RAM, and eMMC… It’s unfortunate that we can’t expect such support from the actual OEMs but it’s not like there will never be any options…

        But, it’s not like Intel ever made it a secret that they were now putting the ATOM on a fast track update time table and what you get would depend on when you decided to invest into the series…

  • TheVoice

    it offers the most excellent balance on performace per watt i’ve seen plus a full windows compatibility ,portability and IO connectivity at an attractive price. :-)

  • https://clippings.io/ Matt Solis

    Great Read. Does anyone here use Clippings.io for organizing book notes? Just wondered how anyone else was managing their notes?