Dell Venue 8 7000 Tablet (Review): Getting A RealSense
Performance: Summary & Conclusion
Performance Summary: The Dell Venue 8 7000 didn't break any benchmark records, but what it did do was perform consistently across the board, proving itself a jack-of-all-trades. That comes with the caveat of being a master-of-none, and that's a consideration if you're looking primarily for a gaming tablet. That's not to say the Venue 8 7000 can't play games -- it can, pushing an average of 31 frames per second in GFXBench's T-Rex test and posting a score of 20,532 in 3DMark's Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark -- but if that's pretty much all you're interested in, there are slates with better GPUs like the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet and Apple iPad Air 2. Otherwise, the Venue 8 7000 is a solid all-around performer.
To begin with, it's a premium tablet that combines a high quality 2560x1600 OLED display with a machined aluminum body that's both durable and stylish. It also happens to be the thinnest tablet on the market at just 6mm and is light enough to hold with one hand for extended periods of time. It's wafer thin and just feels great in the hand.
The premium design alone doesn't make the Venue 8 7000 totally unique, though that's not the only standout trait. In addition to being the slimmest slate on the market, it's also the only tablet with Intel's RealSense technology baked in, which adds depths to your photographs. Combined with Dell's editing tools, you can take a dull looking photograph and transform it into something that's worth hanging on the wall.
And then there are the accessories. Specifically, the $80 Dell Cast dongle that transforms the Venue 8 7000 into an Android PC via Productivity Mode. This mirrors the tablet to any display with an HDMI port, and when you select Productivity Mode, you can connect a wireless keyboard and mouse to use the tablet like a PC. This won't replace anyone's primary laptop, though it is a serviceable alternative to a Chromebook or Chromebox.
All that said, there are some things that temper our enthusiasm. One of them is the fussy nature of RealSense. We don't know if it's Intel's algorithms or Dell's cameras that are to blame, but either way, you'll need excellent lighting conditions with clearly contrasting foregrounds and backgrounds to reach RealSense's potential. Perhaps this can be remedied in a future firmware update.
The other thing is performance. While the tablet never felt slow during testing (except when switching from landscape to portrait mode, or vice versa), we had hoped for higher benchmark scores, especially considering the $399 price tag. It's difficult to accept middling performance numbers for a premium price, though this tablet's beautiful high-resolution OLED display and thin design help make up for it.
What you really want to know at this point is if this is the Android tablet you should buy. We can't give you an unequivocal "yes" or "no," as it depends on your needs and expectations. What we can say is this: Though not without a few drawbacks, the Dell Venue 8 7000 is a worthy addition to the premium Android category with a few neat tricks up its sleeve that could also be expanded on by Dell or Intel down the road.