Dell Venue 8 7000 Tablet (Review): Getting A RealSense

Design & Accessories

Unboxing the Venue 8 7000 yields the tablet itself, USB charging cable, AC adapter, a quick start guide, and warranty information. Speaking of which, Dell backs the slate with a 1-year limited hardware guarantee with the option of adding accidental damage protection for $29. Likewise, 2- and 3-year warranties (also with accidental damage protection) can be had for $59 and $89, respectively.

Dell Venue 8 7000 Main

One thing that constitutes a premium tablet is the physical design, and in this case, the Venue 8 7000's body is made from machined aluminum. It has a sturdy feel to it that's reminiscent of an iPad (though a bit more industrial looking) or a higher end Windows 8/8.1 device, and of course it's remarkably thin and light.

Another thing that separates higher end tablets from their mainstream counterparts is the display. The Venue 8 7000 brings an OLED panel to the tablet party, cramming a 2560x1600 resolution onto an 8.4-inch screen, which translates into 361 pixels per inch. That allows for a tremendous amount of detail, especially when viewing high resolution photos.

The display isn't compromised by a thick bezel, either -- there's barely any to speak of on the sides and top (in portrait mode), though it's a little thicker on the bottom. There's also a pair of front-firing stereo speakers that sit beneath the bottom bezel. This can make the tablet feel awkward at first when holding it in landscape mode, though that's a bit of a nitpick, and one that's easily worth the tradeoff for speakers that beam audio out the front rather than the back.

Dell Venue 8 7000 Cameras

Flipping over the Venue 8 7000 reveals a bit of a two-tone finish, with a large gunmetal gray portion contrasting with a glossy black strip on the bottom. It's a little slick overall, especially compared to tablets that come with a rubberized backing, though unless you intend on greasing it up with butter, it shouldn't squirt out of your hands like a bar of soap.

You'll notice there's a second glossy strip about a quarter of the way up from the bottom -- there's a 720p camera housed on each end (for a total of two). They work in conjunction with the main 8-megapixel shooter on the bottom to add depth information to your snapshots, which then allows you to alter the focus and perform other editing magic on photos (we'll show some examples in a bit).

Dell Venue 8 7000 Right
Dell Venue 8 7000 Left

On the left side of the Venue 8 7000 you'll find the power button, volume rocker, and built-in microphone. Over on the other side (and towards the bottom) sits the microSD card offering support for up to 512GB, and that's also where you'll find the SIM card slot (on the LTE model only). And finally, there's a micro USB port on the bottom.

Dell Venue 8 7000 Speakers

Here's a closer look at the front-firing stereo speaker grill and 8MP camera. The Venue 8 7000 gets plenty loud without distortion, though like most mobile products, it lacks deep and punchy bass. Unlike most tablets, however, there's a fair amount of fine grain control over the audio quality. The Waves MaxxAudio software provides dials and switches to boost bass, treble, dialog, and overall volume for different audio sources, and there's a surprisingly effective EQ that provides real-time adjustments to sound quality. With a little fine tuning, you can make your other mobile devices sound like garbage by comparison.

Dell Cast

A few accessories are available for the Venue 8 7000, including standard fare items like cases, folios, speakers, and a stylus. However, there's one item stands out, and that's the Dell Cast, an HDMI dongle that essentially transforms the tablet into an Android PC.

The Dell Cast plugs into an HDMI port on any display. From there, you need to run the included USB cable from the dongle to a USB port on your display to power the device. Once you're finished, you can pair the Venue 8 7000 with the Dell Cast and mirror the display, but that's not all.

Dell Cast

A second, far cooler option is Productivity mode. When you're in Productivity mode, you can use the Android tablet like a PC, on your monitor. Dell sent us a wireless keyboard and mouse to try it out, and it's fantastic. To pair the wireless keyboard and mouse, you plug the nano receiver into the dongle's full-size USB port and they'll pair up automatically.

Once you've done that, you can manipulate Android with your mouse. It's a bit limited compared to Windows or traditional Linux distros, though still functional -- you can check your email, type up documents, and even play games.

This opens up a brand new world, one in which you could leave your laptop at home and bring just the Venue 8 7000 on vacation or quick business trips. It's not ideal if you plan on doing a ton of work on the road, but for quick hits, it's certainly capable.

Related content