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The Venue 11 Pro 7000 competes most closely against Microsoft's Surface Pro series in form factor, but with added features that make it attractive for business adoption. With its enterprise focus, the Venue 11 Pro comes with security features such as Dell encryption, a TPM module, and certification to meet FIPS and HIPAA requirements, making it suitable for use in government and healthcare industries.
Running the full version of Windows 8 (upgradeable to Windows 8.1 and later Windows 10), the Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000 has an optional Slim Keyboard Cover, similar to the Surface Pro's Touch Cover. Though the Slim Keyboard Cover has physical keys unlike the capacitive touch-based Microsoft cover, the keys do not have much travel so they don't move as far in as a laptop or desktop keyboard.
A second travel keyboard dock is also available for the Dell tablet with full-sized chiclet keys but with reduced spacing between each key. The travel keyboard feels more like a laptop keyboard and packs in a secondary battery.
Other accessories include an optional stylus using technology from Synaptics for digital inking, and a desktop dock lets you connect more USB peripherals like keyboard, mouse, and hard drives, along with an HDMI-powered display, to turn the Venue 11 Pro into a desktop.
The versatility in form factors makes the Venue 11 Pro an appealing option to enterprise users who prefer to carry one computing device. Unlike having separate devices, you won't have to manage, transfer, or synchronize files between your tablet, laptop, and desktop.
- Processor: Intel Core M-5Y71 vPro
- Display: 10.8-inch FHD 1920 X 1080 IPS display with 400 nits brightness
- Memory: 8 GB
- GPU: Intel HD Graphics 5300
- Storage: 128 GB SSD
- Wireless: Intel 7265 dual-band 2X2 802.11 ac WiFi & Bluetooth 4.0
- Camera: 2-megapixel webcam; 8-megapixel rear camera
- Ports: USB 3.0 full size,micro HDMI, BT 4.0, micro SD card slot
- Weight: 1.6 pounds (0.72kg)
- Size: 11.01 x 6.95 x .42 inches (27.97 X 17.65 X 1.07 cm)
The Venue 11 Pro fluidly handles most computing tasks you throw at it. Opening documents, editing spreadsheets, checking email, browsing the web, and making Skype calls feel snappier than the Atom version. The Core M processor and updated Intel HD Graphics 5300 provide enough horsepower to do light video work and quick Photoshop edits.
Given its powerful performance, the compact 11-inch form factor is as much a liability as it is a benefit. The Venue 11 Pro 7000's small stature means that it could fit comfortably on an airplane tray table, even if the person in front reclines their seat, and its compact size makes it easily portable.
However, the small size makes it feel cramped when you're juggling two windows or more at the same time.
When I had a Word document open to type this review and Internet Explorer to research Dell's website, I found myself switching between the two tasks rather than having two windows open side-by-side. If you're at a desk, you'll likely want to connect an external display, keyboard, and mouse to make things more comfortable.
In tablet mode, the 16:9 aspect display feels too narrow when trying to read a digital PDF or magazine. Inking on the tablet also feels cramped in portrait. If you're taking notes using a digital stylus in the same portrait orientation, the page width could feel constrained as well.
When paired to the optional keyboard dock that transforms the Venue 11 Pro into a notebook, the laptop's display doesn't recline far enough back. In laptop mode, the Venue 11 Pro's angle of recline doesn't go as far back as the second stage hinge on the Surface Pro 2, meaning that the screen is more upright on the Dell.
The limited angle of tilt creates poor ergonomics. Rather than tilting your neck slightly downward to look at a more opened clamshell display on your lap, you're instead looking down into the screen. This requires your neck to be tucked down further, and after a few hours of using the Venue 11 Pro as a laptop, my neck experienced more strain than using a device like the MacBook Air 11 or the Dell XPS 13.
The saving grace of the limited screen recline is the IPS display. Even though you may be looking down into the laptop, rather than directly at the screen, you'll still be able to see the content on your display thanks to the wide viewing angles of an IPS screen.
Also, the display comes in a bit brighter than both models last year. Whereas the Atom Venue 11 Pro has a 150-nit display brightness, the Core M model comes with a 400-nit display. Confusingly, you'll have to adjust the brightness on Windows 8 in two different areas to avoid Windows' aggressive auto brightness adjustments.
First, you'll want to swipe from the right panel to activate the Charms menu, go to Settings, and then choose Change PC Settings. After that, you'll go into the PC and Devices menu and go to Power and Sleep where you'll turn off the auto brightness adjustment. After adjusting this setting, you should have better control over brightness adjustments.
- 3D Mark: Cloud Gate: 3706; Sky Driver: 1862; Fire Strike: 512
- PCMark 8 Home Test: 3.0, 2141; PCMark 8 Business Test: 2.0, 2634
- PCMark Battery Life: 4:01
- Cinebench: OpenGL: 21.46 fps, double the performance of the Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU of a comparable Core i5 model. CPU: 182 cb, just slightly slower than an Intel Core i5-3317U processor
The Venue 11 Pro 7000 performs somewhere between last year's Atom processor and the Core i5 model, and it shows in both the processor tests as well as battery life.
Though the Venue 11 Pro 7000 readily bests the i5 in the graphics department thanks to Intel's newer integrated HD Graphics 5300, CPU performance is slightly worse than that of the i5 and much improved over the Atom model.
The improved performance over the Atom-powered Venue 11 Pro is reflected in the device's battery life. I get between seven and eight hours of computing time on the power-conservative Atom model with the screen brightness set to medium; this year's more agile tablet comes in at just 4:01 using PCMark's battery test. Battery performance is far short of the approximately ten hours you get on leading consumer tablets like Apple's iPad Air and the Wacom digitizer-equipped Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2.
In real world performance using the browser, email, and opening documents and spreadsheets, I averaged around four to five hours before depleting the battery, and I got between three to four extra hours using the Venue 11 Pro 7000 with the keyboard dock that houses a secondary battery. For comparison, I squeezed between five to seven hours in real world usage on a Surface Pro 2 and about three to four hours on a Core i5 Venue 11 Pro.
Fortunately, the Venue 11 Pro 7000 doesn't come pre-loaded with bloatware. Users can install the software they need right out of the box without having to spend time uninstalling unnecessary software or be left with annoying antivirus software subscription popup notices.
The Venue 11 Pro comes with a trial for Microsoft Office along with a suite of MSN Modern apps, including Money to track your stocks, Health and Fitness for the latest diet and exercise tips, Travel for inspiration for your next vacation, Food and Drink for recipe recommendations and restaurant reviews, Sports for the latest team scores and news, News, and Weather.
OneNote is also included and should work with an optional Dell Active Stylus.
Business users will find Skype preinstalled along with a simple Mail client and People app for contacts.