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Dell Venue 8 7000 Review

The Dell Venue 8 7000 is a beautiful Android tablet with a gorgeous screen and great design that delivers a number of handy features to users for just $399.

Dell truly delivers a compelling tablet that is impressive for the price, but Android, the operating system on it, still holds the tablet back in some areas when comparing it to the iPad mini or iPad Air. The Dell Venue 8 7000 includes three cameras on the back that use Intel technology to measure distance in photographs. The feature is impressive when it works, but it is still something that Dell is fine-tuning.

GBM-Editors-Choice-AwardThankfully there is a lot more to the Venue 8 7000 than a fancy camera feature, and ultimately this is an excellent Android tablet that buyers need to consider before going with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4, an Amazon Fire HDX or Google Nexus 9.

The Dell Venue 8 7000’s beautiful display, great design and value earned this device a Gotta Be Mobile Editors’ Choice Award. It is the best Android tablet to arrive in 2015.

Dell Venue 8 7000 Review Video & Summary

Watch a short Dell Venue 8 7000 review video below to discover the key details about this $399 tablet, and how it compares in size to other top tablets.

Here are the most important Dell Venue 8 7000 review details that outline the overall experience of using the Venue 8 7000:

What We Like: Incredible display, premium metal design, good battery life, fast overall performance, lightweight.

What We Don’t Like: Speakers sound tinny, Intel Real Sense measurement needs work, small lag when switching orientation.

Bottom Line: The Dell Venue 8 7000 is an impressive tablet that Android users need to experience, but software holds it back from being a complete iPad mini replacement.

Dell Venue 8 7000 Display

The 8.4-inch Dell Venue 8 7000 display is incredible. The OLED display runs almost edge to edge with amazingly small bezels that leave just enough room to grip the tablet without touching the screen itself. Thanks to the OLED display technology, the Venue 8 7000 display delivers stunning colors, deep blacks and gorgeous visuals in videos, photos and in apps.

The Dell Venue 8 7000 display is beautiful.
The Dell Venue 8 7000 display is beautiful.

Photos and videos of the Dell Venue 8 7000 don’t do the display justice. You can go to Best Buy to see the Dell Venue 8 7000 display in person and experience just how good this display looks in person. The 8.4-inch display resolution is 2,560 x 1,440.

There are very small bezels on the edges of the 8.4.-inch display; that makes holding the thin tablet challenging when you first start using it. After a week it is easy to hold without touching the display, but if you hand if off to someone else to use they may accidentally touch the screen.

Dell Venue 8 7000 Design

The design of the Dell Venue 8 7000 is as good as you’ll find on the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3. This is an incredibly thin tablet with an aluminum design that feels strong and durable.

The Dell Venue 8 7000 design is a cut above the rest.
The Dell Venue 8 7000 design is a cut above the rest.

Straight edges dominate the boxy design, but two round and curvy corners help users figure out which end is which when picking it up. The largest bezel is on the bottom of the tablet where a front-facing camera and a front-facing speaker sit. This means there is one thicker bezel, but it doesn’t get in the way of the overall design. There is a Micro USB port on the bottom and a headphone jack.

The Dell Venue 8 7000 is a thin device.
The Dell Venue 8 7000 is a thin device.

The power and volume buttons are on the left edge. The buttons only stick out slightly and it can be tough to know which button your finger lands on when you first reach for them. A small slot on the right side allows users to insert up to a 512GB Micro SD card to expand the included 16GB of storage.

Dell Venue 8 7000 Cameras

Dell includes Intel Real Sense Snapshot Depth camera software on the Venue 8 7000. The software uses the three cameras on the back of the tablet to take a photo at multiple depths. When this works you can change the focus of the photo like you can on many Android smartphones. The three cameras also work together to let you measure inside a photo.

The Dell Venue 8 7000 cameras deliver new features.
The Dell Venue 8 7000 cameras deliver several features.

Under the right circumstances you can take a photo then use a ruler tool to see how much distance is between something. Most of the time it delivered accurate measurements of items on a table, such as a Pepsi can or a centerpiece, but occasionally it was very far off. On the bright side it is easy to tell when the measurement is off, but it also means that it is not 100% reliable. In the image below the vertical measurement is spot on and the horizontal is within half an inch.

Use the Intel RealSense cameras to measure distance with just the camera.
Use the Intel RealSense cameras to measure distance with just the camera.

The photo quality overall is good in bright light, but like many tablet cameras the low-light performance is not great. You can see some sample photos from the Dell Venue 8 7000 camera below.

Dell Venue 8 7000 Performance

Unlike many Android tablets that run on Snapdragon, Intel powers the Dell Venue 8 7000. A Quad-Core Intel Atom Z3580 processor capable of up to 2.3GHz pairs with 2GB of RAM. But what most users want to know is how do the Dell Venue 8 7000 specs translate into performance: in nearly every area the Dell Venue 8 7000 is blazing fast. When launching apps, switching apps and using apps there is no waiting and the device feels incredibly snappy.

The Dell Venue 8 7000 features an Intel processor.
The Dell Venue 8 7000 features an Intel processor.

When switching between landscape and portrait orientation there is a lag before the screen switches. After you complete a transition from one to the other there is about a two second delay before the screen switches.

Even though the tablet features Waves MAXXAudio, the front-facing speaker doesn’t deliver impressive sound. Headphones sound great and there are options in a notification center widget to change the sound profile based on your activity. Plan to wear headphones or buy a Bluetooth speaker.

Dell Venue 8 7000 Software

The Dell Venue 8 7000 runs Android 4.4 KitKat which is a version behind the Android 5.0 Lollipop update that Google announced near the end of 2014. This is not surprising considering the slow roll out of Android 5.0 to most Android devices. Dell did not change the overall look of Android on the Venue 8 7000, but it does add a variety of apps and features.

There is the Dell Camera app with Intel Real Sense technology, special Dell Live Wallpapers, McAfee Security, My Dell, a business card scanning tool and Polaris Office. Other than that, there aren’t many added apps or visual changes.

If you purchase the Dell Cast you can connect the tablet to a HDTV or a monitor to display the screen on a larger screen. In addition to just using this for entertainment or presentations you can also connect a keyboard and mouse to the Dell Cast and then use a special productivity mode.

The Dell Venue 8 7000 connects to the Dell Cast for productivity.
The Dell Venue 8 7000 connects to the Dell Cast for productivity.

The productivity mode turns the Dell Venue 8 7000 into part Chromebook part Android tablet when connected with a keyboard, mouse and the Dell Cast in a TV or monitor. The Dell Cast adapter is small, but you’ll want to buy a HDMI adapter or extender so you can plug it in to any location. It only connected to one display two of eight displays in my home without an adapter. When in productivity mode users can use their Android apps and can also use a small number of resizable web apps. Android apps use the full screen, but the resizeable apps can sit side by side similar to Windows. This will not replace a laptop for a power user, but if you want to travel with just the Dell Venue 8 7000, the Dell Cast plus a keyboard and mouse you can use almost any screen with a HDMI port to get a lot more work done.

In this mode you can still see notifications and interact with apps using the mouse and keyboard. The touch screen on the tablet is not accesible during this mode, but you can still use the camera on the tablet inside apps like Google Hangouts to make video calls. The productivity mode is surprisingly useful, but there is some lag between pressing a key and the words appearing on the screen. The Hangouts web application did not work, sending us to the Google Play Newsstand instead, but the Hangouts Android app worked in Productivity mode. While scrolling, sometimes the screen showed artifacts or a scrambled image until the page stopped.

This is the Dell Cast, a handy Dell Venue 8 7000 accessory.
This is the Dell Cast, a handy Dell Venue 8 7000 accessory.

Google and other companies still make odd software choices on Android apps that hinder great hardware from companies like Dell. The Android Facebook app looks pathetic compared to the iPad app and the YouTube app will only stream video at 720P, which is a waste of the Venue 8 7000’s incredible display. You’ll experience these same oddities on other Android tablets, but they take away from a user experience that could otherwise be on the same level as the iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3.

Dell Venue 8 7000 Review Verdict

The Dell Venue 8 7000 is one of the best Android tablets I’ve used. The display is incredible and the design is top notch. The Dell Venue 8 7000 is a steal at $399 even if the Real Sense measurement software needs some extra work.

From a software standpoint the iPad Air and iPad mini still claim an upper hand in some areas, but the Dell Venue 8 7000 build quality and display are among the best of any tablet on the market — iPad or Android.

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