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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We liked

Apple fans, take notice. Dell's ultra-thin machined aluminum frame and its even thinner bezels on a fresh, nonsymmetrical design make this the best looking slate next to any iPad.

It ends up being a fraction of a millimeter thinner than the iPad Air 2, and packs a lot of pixels into a color-saturated, vibrant 8.4-inch display.

The form factor makes the Dell Venue 8 7000 light for portability, yet sharp enough to watch multimedia on the go. The front-firing speakers and 16:10 aspect ratio help in this regard too.

Those three depth-manipulating cameras on back are fun to play with, even if their accuracy doesn't make them anything stronger than a novelty.

We disliked

That high-resolution display at 2,560 x 1,600 does make for tiny print and undersized app icons, and ratcheting up the text size in the settings menu doesn't apply to everything within Android. Screen quality also does nothing to help pictures taken with the tablet look better, even with all of the sophisticated stereoscopic camera technology onboard.

Android 5.0 Lollipop doesn't come pre-loaded with this tablet, which is a shame because Dell uses a nearly pure version of Google's mobile operating system that could really benefit from the update. It competes with Google's Nexus 9 tablet on price and battery life, but then you have to accessorize it right away with a microSD card. There's no 32GB Dell Venue 8 7000.

Nexus 9 has a faster Nvidia's K1 system-on-a-chip too, and nothing holds a candle to Apple's own A8 CPU. Intel's chip also comes with an annoying, battery-draining sensor that wakes the tablet when it detects motion, even if it's in a car or a backpack.

Final verdict

Instead of the Dell Venue 8 7000, this should have been called "Dell - the world's thinnest tablet" to tell us more about all of its iPad-beating features.

No, it doesn't match Apple's A8 chip with its unconventional use of a smaller Intel processor. That does make it slower than today's best tablets. But it ultimately helps more than it hurts, thanks to its thinner profile. This model is thin and has style, more so than other Android tablet.

It's funny to think about. The Dell Venue 8 7000 is targeting a younger audience, with an attractive design and without worrying about the tiny print on its high-resolution screen. Yet this demographic would probably think they were getting a music album if they were told "Dude, you're getting Adele." And then have to look up "dude" in Urban Dictionary.

This device marks a new post-PC approach for the old computer maker, and a good sign of things to come. I just hope the next, even more souped-up version isn't called Dell Venue 8 8000.

Matt Swider