Dell Venue 8 7000 review

Dude, don't dismiss this ultra-thin Android tablet just because it's a Dell

Dell Venue 8 7000 review
Dell Venue 8 7000 review

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The Dell Venue 8 7000 runs Android 4.4.4 KitKat as its operating system with the expectation that it'll be upgraded to Android 5.0, like a lot of other tablets that came out at the end of last year.

Dell Venue 8 7000 review

Eight app icons and the middle app drawer button across, even in portait mode

It doesn't have Google's Lollipop software yet, but thankfully it runs a relatively clean version of Android KitKat. I was happy to find that there wasn't a custom Samsung, LG or HTC-like skin changing everything around to Dell's content (and likely to my discontent). Instead, all that's different about the interface is that Dell pre-loaded a few of its own harmless apps onto the home screen and finetuned menu colors to look better than Google's native menus.

Dell Venue 8 7000 review

Photo editing tools are a nice gimmick

Dell Gallery is the most involved of these apps, with the computer maker pushing its photo aggregating and editing tool to support the Intel RealSense Snapshot Depth Camera. Taking advantage of the three cameras around back, this photo editing software let me manipulate the focus, measure objects and apply filters to subjects on specific planes, all with varying degrees of success. As I'll explain, Dell Venue 8 7000's camera tricks are fun for a few kicks more than they're accurate.

The My Dell app offers easy-to-read storage, CPU, RAM and battery life stats and checks the tablet for system errors. Its pass-fail process covers a wide number of components including the battery, SD card, sensors, audio, multi-touch camera and so forth.

Dell Venue 8 7000 review

Dell MyCast offers a larger display and keyboard and mouse productivity

Dell MyCast is an handy productivity app that projects the tablet screen onto a TV or monitor. It requires the optional Dell Cast dongle that costs $80 (£70, AU$149) and plugs into any HDMI port. The real-time wireless relay makes good use of a larger screen and adds mouse and keyboard support to Android's usual mix. More enterprise-friendly software comes from Dropbox, which lends out a free 20GB of cloud storage to new Dell buyers for one year.

Dell Venue 8 7000 has full access to the Google Play Store and its 1.3 million apps, unlike the forked versions of the Android that force users to sideload apps including the Amazon Fire HDX. I didn't have any problem running apps like Facebook, Netflix and Waze other than the fact that not all phone-focused apps are properly formatted for a high-resolution tablet screen.

Movies and music

I like watching movies on the Dell Venue 8 7000 better than I did on my Nexus 9 and even the iPad Air 2, because it sports a widescreen-friendly display. Plus, the color saturation makes just about any modern day flick look good.

Dell Venue 8 7000 review

The 16:10 aspect ratio makes it an easy pick for movies

Dell didn't include multimedia software, which I don't mind because there are plenty including Google Play Movies & TV and Google Play Music. These default apps, especially Movies & TV, are more advanced than what phone and tablet manufacturers are capable of, so it was wise not to try to catch up and fail with additional bloatware.

Dell is advertising its front-firing stereo speakers with MaxxAudio Waves tuning for loud and properly adjustable movie and music listening. However, loading up a movie and turning the tablet on its side, I discovered that the bottom-located right and left speakers aren't as effective in landscape. They remain in a portrait-friendly orientation, giving you a weird top and bottom audio split from the chin's right-aligned speakers.


The 22nm Intel chip held up surprisingly well in all 3D gaming sessions I threw at the tablet. I didn't spot a single instance of slowdown in Asphalt Airborne 8, a game where driving at top speeds is critical. Games were only slow to close. Dell Venue 8 7000 can handle the big stuff, yet sometimes sputters at smaller tasks.

Dell Venue 8 7000 review

No slowdown, but the thin bezel on one side is problematic for games

One caveat is that the bezel-free design on one side of the tablet in landscape mode makes it difficult to game with because the touchscreen is prone to accidental touches. I encountered a few deaths in Jetpack Joyride and wanted to shout I didn't even go up. Then I realized the lower portion of my thumb had choked up the thin bezel a little too much. It's either the bezel's fault or my fingers are getting too fat.

Matt Swider