Thank you to Intel for providing me with a Dell Venue 8 Pro.
Ok, so in my previous post we went over everything that has to do with the Dell Venue 8 Pro hardware, but what about the software? When some people think about a tablet, they tend to think it fits in between what a smartphone can do and what a PC can do. The Dell Venue 8 Pro is here to redefine everything you thought you knew about tablets. It features a full release of the absolute latest Windows 8 software (Windows 8.1) with free updates when they are available. That’s right…the same Windows 8 found 0n computers and laptops? It’s all here. Not some watered down version of it either. You get the full experience.
Windows 8 features a built in speech recognition system that allows you to fully operate your tablet without even lifting a finger. In some ways this is a good thing, letting you open a document or app (program) instantly instead of going through the tablet looking for it. You can use your voice to type as well, allowing you to use your voice to write emails, in Microsoft word, and in search boxes. If you don’t know what to say to access something in the window you’re currently viewing, you simply say “show numbers” and every interactive object is represented by a number that you can simply say to select that link or action. This technology is nothing new, but the way its implemented on the Dell Venue 8 Pro and the versatility of this function make it stand out as more than just a speech to text program, because it can virtually control the entire tablet and do anything you could do with your thumbs or keyboard. Unfortunately, as much as I praise this, I must also admit that it’s not without its flaws. Especially with the speech to text aspect of this program. The commands work fine, no complaints there. But when I try to speak something I want to type, even after I completed voice training to have it become more used to my pronunciation, it would only correctly understand what I said about 1/5 of the time. Maybe through an update they can improve on this program, because it has a great potential, it’s just not spot on quite yet.
The amount of apps (programs) you get out of the box is staggering. You have an app for almost everything, except some specific tastes like games and such. But you have all the basics: a calculator, notepad, camera, sound recorder, etc. But there’s a golden egg in this barn full of hay. You get Microsoft Office Home & Student Edition 2013. The full suite of programs is included, one of which I’m using for my review, Microsoft Word. And of course, since its Office Home & Student Edition, you also get Excel, OneNote, and PowerPoint…with extra apps like Office Upload Center and Send To OneNote.
The Windows Store, which is the equivalent of Apple’s iTunes store and Android’s Google Play store, is found here as well. I’m telling you this tablet is truly a computer, and a very good one at that. While the Windows Store showed up late to the party of other stores like Google and Apple, it showed up fashionably late. The store has a clean interface, is user friendly in my opinion, and for being the newest store on the scene it has a lot of companies already backing it up. If you fear the Windows Store won’t have as many apps as iTunes does, you know, you could be right. But the windows store is definitely filled with better apps than iTunes, mostly because of the quality assurance Microsoft has implemented into their store. Windows store won’t overwhelm you with apps, but you will definitely find what you’re looking for here. Think quality over quantity. You also have access to OneDrive, formally known as Skydrive. This is your “cloud” service for Windows 8. Anything you put into OneDrive, you can access from any other device that also uses this service. So if you have a Windows 8 phone, a Windows 8 PC, or an Xbox one, you can access anything you put in OneDrive from any other Windows 8 functioning device. Best part of it is, that it’s free.
Navigating through Windows 8 is a new experience, one not many will be used to. As such, it will take you some time to get used to the interface and everything it can do. But Microsoft knew the transition wouldn’t be easy for most of us, so they built in a “desktop” in Windows 8. Another app included right out of the box, this is a normal desktop like any other windows program before it. Everything on Windows 8 can be accessed here through normal means of operation. Though it’s not 100% exactly like any other Windows desktop, since Microsoft decided to put a twist on the start button and add a modern twist to things, it still makes the transition less intimidating. And if you use the speech recognition software, you won’t even have to know how to move through this icon-heavy operating system… just so long as you know how the voice commands work.
There’s also a twist on Internet Explorer. If you operate it on the desktop, it’s no different than how you’ve used it before, but operate it through the icon-heavy menu that is Windows 8 and things get a little jarring. I personally am not used to it’s new format here, but given enough time I can see how the new version could grow on me. This version of Windows supports Miracast, a wireless way to display what’s on your tablet onto a bigger screen like your television. If your television supports Miracast, then you’re ready to go. If not, they make adapters so you can wirelessly transmit your tablet’s screen onto your TV.
So, we are at the end of our journey through the Dell Venue 8 Pro. We’ve discussed all the hardware features and software capabilities. So let’s conclude our two-part review. The hardware is fantastic, like the full 1080p screen, the size and thickness is superb, and the battery life is better than most tablets out there. But the screen becomes a fingerprint sloppy mess after heavy use, the battery gets supernova hot when running high power demanding apps like games and such, and the touch accuracy can sometimes be a little off. A micro SD card expands the storage easily, and it’s charge time is slightly better than that of an iPad. It runs the full Windows 8.1 release found on PC’s, and includes a complete Microsoft Office Home & Student Edition 2013. The speech recognition software is a fantastic idea, but doesn’t work well when trying to dictate into a document or any place you have to input information.
What are my final thoughts on this tablet? After spending a good amount of time seeing everything it has to offer, I can confidently say that this is one of the best options out there, especially for its price range. If you use Windows 8 already, or have been looking to use it, then hands down Dell has you covered with the Venue 8 Pro. If you want a tablet to carry in your pocket with you, then Dell made this for you. And if you enjoy 1080p movies and games, well then look no further, because the Venue 8 is Venue Great.
For more information on Intel Tablets CLICK HERE or on the image below.
#spon: I’m required to disclose a relationship between our site and Intel. This could include the Intel Corporation providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment. These are my own, honest opinions. I only recommend products and services to my readers that I feel are trustworthy and that I can stand behind with pride.