Hands on: Dell Venue 11 Pro 7140 review

A near-perfect enterprise tablet

What is a hands on review?
TODO alt text

Our Early Verdict

Whether you're a consumer or a business user, you can't go wrong with the Venue 11 Pro 7140. Its weight and performance are among the best in the business. I just wish they'd kept the detachable rear panel and added an 8 megapixel front camera.

For

  • Sleek design
  • All-day battery life
  • Near-silent performance
  • Dell-backed security

Against

  • Awful front camera
  • No detachable back panel
  • No resolution improvements

When TechRadar Pro reviewed the original Dell Venue 11 Pro 7130 in April, we praised it for its versatility and power. The machine, which we gave a rare 4.5 out of 5 stars, stood toe-to-toe with the best enterprise tablet on the market at the time - Microsoft's Surface Pro 2.

Since that review, Microsoft launched the Surface Pro 3 (starting at $799, £495, AU$900) and Apple launched the iPad Air 2 (starting at $499, £399, AU$620), two near-perfect machines that will force enterprises to rethink whether or not to convert from laptop to tablet fleets.

Not to be undone, Dell has updated the Venue 11 Pro with a faster and lighter model capable of holding more information. The new tablet, the 10.8-inch Dell Venue 11 Pro 7140, (starting at $699, £430, AU$795) which will launch on November 11, features improved battery life and nearly inaudible fan-less performance.

dell venue pro 11 7140 review

Dell's enterprise devices

When you think of sexy devices for work and play, Dell probably doesn't pop into your head. The company's CEO and namesake Michael Dell, who famously proclaimed Dell "no longer a PC company" in 2012, has dramatically shifted Dell's focus from PC powerhouse to back-end enterprise solutions provider. From 2001-2006 Dell was the big dog in the PC market, with its market share hovering around 17%. Today, Dell is lucky to crack 12%.

Despite its consumer PC slump, Dell has always been excellent at listening to the wants and needs of the business user, a characteristic that has propelled it toward the top echelon of enterprise workstations and and laptops. Although we found the Dell OptiPlex 9030 and Dell Latitude 13 7000 2-in-1 to be duds, we were generally impressed by The Dell Precision M6800 laptop, the Dell Precision T7610 workstation, and the Dell Wyse 5123 all-in-one.

None of these devices receives higher marks than the Dell Venue 11 Pro 7140 - an ideal tablet capable of outgunning the best enterprise laptops and tablets on the market.

dell venue pro 11 7140 review

Speed and quiet

The first thing users will notice is how much lighter the 7140 is compared to its earlier counterpart. The original model, which weighed 1.70 pounds, featured a Core i5 processor that required cooling fans to regulate temperature. The updated model, which weighs only 1.55 pounds, is packed with an Intel Core M Broadwell processor. Core M processors don't require fans, which not only reduces the heft associated with tablets, it also reduces the noise you'll hear. I tested this device for an hour and never heard a peep.

The weight reduction puts the Venue 11 Pro in rarified company among elite enterprise-capable tablets. The Surface Pro 3 and Lenovo's Yoga 3 Pro, for example, weigh-in at 1.75 and 2.6 pounds, respectively. The Venue 11 Pro doesn't even come close to being the lightest business-ready tablet on the market: the iPad Air 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 weigh in at 0.96 pounds and 1.03 pounds, respectively.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.