Hands on: Dell Venue 11 Pro 7140 review

A near-perfect enterprise tablet

What is a hands on review?
dell venue 11 pro 7140 review

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Battery life

The device, when coupled with Dell's Tablet Keyboard, can run for approximately 18 hours (nine hours for the tablet and nine hours with the accompanying keyboard). This is a dramatic improvement over the original Venue 11 Pro, which ran for a measly 3 hours and 54 minutes sans keyboard and 7 hours and 2 minutes with the keyboard. However, the new device is still neck-and-neck with the Surface Pro 3 and iPad Air 2, which feature isolated battery lives of 9 and 10 hours, respectively.

dell venue pro 11 7140 review

The updated Venue 11 Pro offers excellent port access for a tablet, even without the Dell Tablet Docking Station. As a standalone model, users have access to a Full USB 3.0 port, a Micro USB port, a Micro HDMI port and a Full SD card slot.

Camera fail

When we reviewed the 7130 in April, we weren't happy with the 2 megapixel front camera. Unfortunately, nothing has changed with the update. Because of its awful quality, the front camera should not be used for snapping pics. As our reviewer noted in April, users are best advised to use the front camera for video calls only. The 7140, like the 7130, features an 8 megapixel camera on the backside of the device, which is industry standard.

One thing we loved about the 7130 was its removable rear panel, which gave users access to a removable battery, and SSD and wireless chips. We'd never seen a feature like this prior to the 7130 … and it looks like we'll never see one again. Dell decided to scrap the removable panel. So long, do-it-yourself battery replacement. Hello, field service calls. Bad choice, Dell.

Can't complain

Other than these two gripes, users will absolutely love the 7140. The screen - like the 7130 - is crisp at 1920 X 1080 resolution (although it doesn't compare to the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2's 2560 X 1900 resolution).

dell venue pro 11 7140 review

The MaxxAudio by Waves-powered audio produces powerful volume and bass (as tested by Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance) and the touchscreen keyboard is full-width, with perfectly spaced keys that make grizzled tech journalists gleeful.

Applications respond immediately when activated, and the machine's soft-touch plastic and magnesium alloy build make it a pleasure to handle.

As with any enterprise-ready Dell device, the Venue 11 Pro 7140 comes equipped with Dell's industry-leading security tools. The 7140 features Dell's Data Protection and Encryption and Dell's Trusted Platform Module (TPM).

The Data Protection tool will help your IT department enforce encryption policies for sensitive information that lives in a system drive or in external media. TPM is ideal for businesses that are trying to fend off hackers looking to capture passwords and encryption keys, which should be top-of-mind for any business with a large digital presence.

Early verdict

Dell may not have surpassed the iPad Air 2 and the Surface Pro 3 in terms of quality and performance just yet. But the Dell Venue 11 Pro 7140, like its predecessor, puts Dell among the highest ranks of enterprise-ready tablets. If you want something designed specifically for the business user (as opposed to the consumer-focused iPad Air 2), but you don't want to spend $100 extra bucks on the Surface Pro 3, then you can't go wrong with the Venue 11 Pro 7140.

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.