Beau HD reviews the Dell Venue 8 7000 Series, the world's thinnest tablet. In terms of specs, the Dell Venue 8 7840 features an 8.4-inch OLED display with a 1600 x 2560 pixel resolution, Intel Atom quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM, 8-megpaixel rear-facing camera, and a massive 5900mah battery. It's also the world's first tablet featuring the new Intel RealSense 3D camera technology that allows users to record the depth information in each captured photo.
The Dell Venue 8 7000 is the world’s thinnest tablet and the world’s worst name for a tablet. Now from a hardware standpoint, there’s actually a lot to love about this tablet, and there’s a lot to dislike.
First of all, it’s crafted with a machined aluminum design, producing a very premium cool to the touch. The back and sides of the device are covered with aluminum and it really feels good. It’s not too slick or slimy. Now there is also a glossy plastic section at the bottom of the tablet. The back is glossy and has an 8MP camera sensor implanted in the center. And I presume there’s some antennas hidden in here since I don’t see any on the top of the tablet. But it really picks up a ton of fingerprints and smudges, I think it would look better if they just extended the aluminum all the way down to the bottom of the tablet.
The plastic portion on the bottom reaches around to the front of the tablet where you’ll find the stereo speakers and a front-facing 2MP camera sensor that is a bit oddly positioned at the bottom. That’s mostly because of the thin bezels around the 8.4” OLED display that looks really good but does make it a little more challenging to hold in the hand, something that I’ll talk more about in a moment. Because if we continue around the sides of the tablet, we’ll find that it does have a microSD card slot on the right hand side for expandable storage, and there is a microUSB charging port and 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom. The Power/Sleep On/Off button and volume rocker is located on the left hand side and the buttons are made of aluminum. However, they are almost flush with the side panel so they aren’t very clicky and it can be a little more challenging to locate them when you pick up the tablet and try to use it.
When you power it on though, the display will blow you away as it’s an OLED panel with a 1600 x 2560 pixel resolution and a 359ppi pixel density. It’s not the most saturated OLED panel I’ve seen, for example, it’s not as vivid as a Samsung panel. However, compared to an LCD panel which is what we generally see on tablets -- it’s definitely sharper and higher contrast. The whites are very white, they don’t have any yellow tint or blue tint to them. This display is very color accurate especially for an OLED display, I think the display is really the best feature of this tablet. And it really looks good with those minimal bezels around the top and sides of the display.
Where you run into some trouble is actually using the tablet with those small bezels. There’s just not a lot of room to grip the tablet, you kinda have to think about it and really be cautious that you don’t accidentally touch the display when you are holding it. So because of this, it kinda takes away from the experience tablets should offer, and that is quick on-the-go access to information.
But as for the software itself, it’s great in that it’s a near stock Android experience, stock Android 4.4.4 KitKat that is. Android Lollipop is scheduled to be released for this tablet, but we do have to wait. And I hate waiting, especially when I’ve been running Android Lollipop on my Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 for several months now. I just have a real problem going back to Android KitKat since I love Android Lollipop so much. But with that said, KitKat ain’t bad. You have the notification panel drop down to the left, and the quick settings to the right. One thing I did when I first powered on this tablet for the first time was install the Google Play Launcher just so I can get that creamy transition into Google Now from the home screen.
And in terms of performance, we have an Intel Atom quad-core processor clocked at 2.3GHz with 2GB of RAM inside, and to my surprise it is actually very zippy opening and closing apps. I compared it to the Nexus 9 running Android Lollipop and it was actually faster in a lot of ways, you can watch that video here or by clicking on the link in the description bar. The biggest problem is booting up games, as it takes a while to load games. However, games do run well once they have loaded and they look especially great on that beautiful display.
The Dell Venue 8 7000 does also have an impressive stereo speaker on the bottom portion of the tablet. And yeah, I say impressive because it sounds really good. For the world’s thinnest tablet, you wouldn’t think there’d be much space to add some quality speakers but they sound crisp and clear. My only complaint is that the sound only resonates from one side of the tablet, there’s no speaker grill up top so when you’re watching YouTube videos, it’s as if the sound only comes from one side.
The camera on this tablet is unique it that it features Intel RealSense 3D technology with 2 720p capable cameras along with an 8MP camera sensor. So you have a total of 3 camera sensors on the back. The purpose is to capture depth in the images you capture, but the feature is not currently available. It says it’ll be available in a future software update, so that’s disappointing. The picture quality is also really not very good. Low light is terrible, there’s a ton of noise. Well lit scenarios will deliver better results of course.
Battery life of the Dell Venue 8 7000 is fantastic, somehow Dell managed to pack a 5900 mAh battery inside of here. And it lasts a long time. For example, the time on battery you see here is from moderate use and many hours of standby time and as you can see there’s still a good amount of battery life left.
Now the Dell Venue 8 7000 costs $400 for the Wi-Fi version. For that price, you get the world’s thinnest tablet that is made of premium machined aluminum with a unique and aesthetically pleasing modern design that emphasizes the OLED display. With that said, the design has its faults. It’s not the easiest to use since the bezels are so narrow and the buttons aren’t the most tactile. The display is certainly the wow feature of this tablet and the fact that you can use this tablet for hours upon hours without worry about charging it is also very appealing. I think once Android Lollipop is available and the Intel RealSense 3D camera software is fully functioning -- this tablet will be even more appealing and a more well-rounded device. But right now, there are better options available but Dell is certainly on the right track in creating a successful Android tablet. It’s just a few design tweaks and software updates away from offering an unbeatable Android tablet experience. So with that said, that is my review of the Dell Venue 8 7000.