Review Index:
Feedback

The Dell Venue 8 7000 Review - Intel and Android Perfected

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Dell

Specifications

Flagship. Premium. Best in class. These are the terms that Dell and Intel muttered to me during a conference call to discuss the new Dell Venue 8 7000 tablet. It’s a bullish claim and one that would likely have been received with a sideways eye roll or a shrug had I not been able to get a short amount of hands on time with the device at CES in January. The idea that Dell would develop an Android tablet that bests what more established brands like Nexus and Samsung have created, AND that that same tablet would be powered by an Intel processor rather than a Qualcomm, NVIDIA or Samsung chip would have seemed laughable last year. But after a solid three weeks with the Venue 8 7000 I am prepared to make the statement: this is my favorite tablet. Not my favorite Intel tablet, not my favorite Android tablet: just plain favorite.

The Venue 8 7000 combines style, design, technology and visuals that are simply unmatched by anything else in the Android word and rivals anything that Apple has created to date. There are a couple of warts that center around the camera and gaming performance that won’t drop your jaw, but for the majority of use cases the user experience is as exceptional as the looks.

View Full Size

Maybe best of all, this tablet starts at just $399 and is available today.

Dell Venue 8 7000 Specifications

Let’s begin the review by looking at the raw specifications of the Dell Venue 8 7000. Even though hardware specifications don’t tell a complete story of any device, especially a tablet that is based so much on experience, it is important to get a good baseline expectation.

  Dell Venue 8 7000 (Model 7840)
Processor Intel Atom Z3580 Quad-Core 2.33 GHz
Graphics PowerVR G6430
Memory 2GB LPDDR3-1600
Screen 2560x1600 OLED 8.4-in (359 ppi)
Storage 16GB eMMC
MicroSD Slot (up to 512GB)
Camera 8MP Rear + Dual 720p Depth
2MP Front
Wireless Intel 7260 802.11ac 1x1 Dual Band
Bluetooth 4.0
Connection USB 2.0 (power and data)
Headphone jack
Battery 21 Whr
5900 mAh
Dimensions 215.8mm x 124.4mm x 6mm
8.5" x 4.88" x 0.24"
305g (10.76oz)
OS Android 4.4.4
Price $399 MSRP

The center of the Venue 8 7000 is the Intel Atom Z3580 quad-core processor with a peak clock rate of 2.3 GHz and a base clock rate of 500 MHz. The Z3580 is a 22nm processor based on the Moorefield platform and Silvermont architecture. I first got information about the Silvermont architecture back in May of 2013 so it seems a bit dated in some regards, but the performance and power efficiency is still there to compete with the rival options from ARM.. The Venue 8 7000 includes an LPDDR3-1600 controller and there is 2GB of memory; a decent amount but we are seeing quite a few smartphones with more system memory like the OnePlus One.

Continue reading our review of the Dell Venue 8 7000 Android Tablet!!

View Full Size

Intel Silvermont Core Block Diagram

The graphics system is powered by the PowerVR G6430 on the Atom Z3580 die with a clock speed range of 457 – 533 MHz. I’ll show you performance of the GPU in our benchmark section on the coming pages, but expectations should be in the middle of the road. You aren’t going to see gaming performance on par with NVIDIA’s Tegra lineup or Apple’s A8/A8X but it should be good enough to get through the most common and popular Android titles. Intel has integrated support for WiDi (wireless display) as well.

View Full Size

By far the most impressive specification of the Dell Venue 8 7000 is the display, a 2560x1600 OLED touch screen that measures 8.4 inches diagonally. That gives us a pixel density of 359 ppi, well ahead of the iPads and Tegra devices. The colors of this OLED screen are simply amazing, and a first look at the tablet will have you falling in love with the images on display. We’ll show you on the display page in more detail, but the Venue 8 7000 can display colors well outside the standard sRGB color space with blacks that are essentially the screen powered off.

View Full Size

Storage is currently limited to a 16GB capacity over an eMMC interface, though Dell did indicate that a 32GB variant is in the works. (Sorry, no timeline on that yet.) 16GB of space is not a lot and in fact you’ll only really have 10GB free when starting up the tablet for the first time. That is supplemented by a MicroSD card slot that can support capacities up to 512GB. That definitely addresses the issue of space, but there are still plenty of applications in the Android market that don’t allow installation to external SD storage and you may have to migrate apps back and forth occasionally.

View Full Size

There are plenty of cameras on the Dell Venue 8 7000: an 8MP primary rear camera, a pair of dual 720p depth cameras on the back and a 2MP front facing camera. I have a lot more to say about the camera setup coming up as well as some demonstration photos, but the sensor and processing of the primary camera just does not hold up to the competition. Our testing with the Nexus 9, SHIELD Tablet and iPad Air 2 resulted in much better quality images that we got with the Venue 8 7000. The depth cameras that are being branded Intel RealSense add some interesting features to the system including the ability to measure distances in a photo or to apply effects based on variable depth, but if you don’t start with a high quality picture to modify, it lessens the impact.

Connectivity is supplied by a standard USB 2.0 connection for charging and connecting to your PC, an Intel 7260 wireless controller that supports 802.11ac at 1x1 and Bluetooth 4.0. The single speaker along the bottom of the Venue is actually quite capable for a mono device, reaching surprising volume while maintaining clarity.


February 18, 2015 | 07:29 PM - Posted by AMDBumLover (not verified)

I don't know about perfected, MKBHD gave it a lukewarm review.

February 18, 2015 | 07:59 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

That's why we are allowed to have more than one review of a product. :)

February 18, 2015 | 08:01 PM - Posted by Pixy Misa (not verified)

Look 'em right in the eye, say "Flagship? 16GB?" and make them eat the damn thing.

I'll take a look when if and when they ship a 32GB model, but they should never have shipped a 16GB model.

February 18, 2015 | 08:22 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

I don't really disagree, but all flagship tablets at least come in a 16GB variety.

February 19, 2015 | 12:52 AM - Posted by Pixy Misa (not verified)

Yeah, I know. It's just so annoying. Fabulous screen, fast CPU, plenty of RAM, decent battery life, everything is good...

And then the same 16GB of storage as we had in 2012.

February 19, 2015 | 11:28 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Kind of agree there. Does the SD card slot not alleviate this?

February 19, 2015 | 07:31 PM - Posted by Pixy Misa (not verified)

To a degree.

The problem is, Android 4.4's support for removable storage is... Not great. I have an Xperia Z Ultra with 16GB internal and a 128GB Sandisk micro SD card.

The SD card is brilliant. I have a ton of music on there, all the recent episodes from podcasts I follow (including yours, of course!), and a nice collection of audiobooks.

But my apps have to live on the internal storage. So do all my Kindle books.

I've been very selective about which apps I install, but I'm down to about 3GB of space on the internal storage. I have 50GB free on the SD card, but I can't use it for that.

Android 5.0 might be better with SD cards, but I only have it on my Nexus 7 so far, so I can't test that.

Given that we're talking about a $400 device, and the price difference between 16GB and 32GB of decent quality Flash storage is $10 retail - and that it would more than double available space because at least 4GB is used by the OS and restore volumes - this ongoing insistence on providing inadequate storage even on flagship devices is really starting to piss me off.

February 20, 2015 | 08:35 AM - Posted by BBMan (not verified)

Good point. I've lived that too. And considering that they can put 512GB on a micro SDs and M2s, there is little reason why they can't build that much into these.

Also, considering that this is a recent "flagship" release I'm assuming that the MicroSDs supported are UHS-IIs. I think SDIO may cover the whole lot.

February 19, 2015 | 01:04 AM - Posted by SEBO (not verified)

its a pretty steap price for a tab without lte, only 16 gb onboard storage and a unpractical design. i use my tab only in landscape mode and the single bezel on this tab looks unhandy.


the only plus on this tab is the screen.


but lets talk about the most disappointing part of this tablet. it comes with an outdated version (4.4) of android.


the bottom line for me is:


-expensive
-outdatet software
-lack of featuers
-no ergonomic way to use it




for the same price, you can get a nvidia shield with lte, 32 gb storage, more gpu power, up to date android 5.0.1, a bezel on all sides to get a grip, faster charging times, yes the dell loads rly slow! only the screen on the shield is not so fancy.


so, no.


wont buy. 400 for only a nice screen is too much dell.

February 19, 2015 | 01:21 AM - Posted by SEBO (not verified)

you can get for around 230 an memo pad from asus http://www.asus.com/Tablets/ASUS_MeMO_Pad_7_ME572CL/specifications/ also has lte and most of the stuff you need, well not such a fancy screen, also an outdatet android, probably a bit slower in performance and so on.


also the Lenovo Tab S8-50L LTE http://shop.lenovo.com/gb/en/tablets/lenovo/s-series/s8/#tab-features way less expensive and comes with an lte modul for about 230.


so, a fancy screen costs 170 bucks?


i cant rly understand the excitement.

February 19, 2015 | 11:30 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

In many cases, a tablet and phone is more about the experience and build quality than specs. Still, I am trying to get these tablets in currently! Thanks for the heads up!

February 19, 2015 | 01:58 AM - Posted by Kingofkats

Great review Ryan, and yet another example of why I always check PCPER before buying a piece of tech. Was there any indication that we might expect an LTE variant? With LTE, 32GB and a 256GB SD, this could contend with laptops!

February 19, 2015 | 11:31 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

LTE hasn't been mentioned at all yet.

February 19, 2015 | 08:25 AM - Posted by BBMan (not verified)

Also wondering what class of MicroSD is supported.

February 19, 2015 | 11:32 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Oh, sorry!

SD, SDHC, SDXC, supporting up to 512GB

February 19, 2015 | 08:26 AM - Posted by paul bluebeard (not verified)

Good review Ryan . thanks

Say what you will re price and deficiencies and lollipop delay.

I am using this tablet and the screen is as good or better than the rest

No regret

Paul

February 19, 2015 | 08:44 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I swear that when they unveiled this device at IDF last fall, it was using Cherry Trail, not Bay Trail... hmm...

February 19, 2015 | 10:13 AM - Posted by Shambles (not verified)

16GB of storage?

whatyearisthis.jpg

February 19, 2015 | 11:34 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

:D

Almost all tablets start 16GB honestly though. I would agree Dell needs more options.

February 19, 2015 | 11:34 AM - Posted by RenderB (not verified)

Shame you didn't take the 8" galaxy tab s along in this compassion. Half curious if it uses the same panel.

February 19, 2015 | 11:38 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Totally agree there. Hopefully Samsung will be willing to send us one to compare!

February 19, 2015 | 01:31 PM - Posted by Geoff Peterson (not verified)

Do you know who supplies the OLED screen? Was it Samsung? The Samsung Tab S are also OLED and have been reviewed as having the best display out of the tablets currently available. The other internals are a bit more dated however.

February 19, 2015 | 05:46 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I believe another review mentioned it's probably the identical screen as what is found in the Samsung.

February 19, 2015 | 05:46 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I believe another review mentioned it's probably the identical screen as what is found in the Samsung.

February 19, 2015 | 12:18 PM - Posted by VintageDon (not verified)

This review was almost enough to get me to purchase this since I'm looking for a new small tablet for my wife after her Memo Pad 7 gave out (just stopped charging), but the Amazon reviews for this are horrible. Great review though ... thanks!

February 19, 2015 | 01:06 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Amazon doesn't sell this tablet, so I don't know what reviews you were looking at...

February 20, 2015 | 12:41 PM - Posted by Kanati (not verified)

Purchased this last night based on your review.

I've had probably a dozen different tablets over the years starting with the first Tegra 2 tablet that I could find (Viewsonic G-Tab) which had the most horrible screen on any device I've ever seen.

This one, by contrast, has the best screen I've seen on any device. The 3D cameras are uncalibrated out of the box and aren't all that accurate for the 3D functions, but the software assures me it will get better as I take more photos. It's not the fastest tablet I've used I don't think, especially in the GPU department, but it's more than adequate. The build quality is as good as any other I've had and better than most. Only the ASUS 10" tabs come close in comparison to ones I've owned.

What it does well, it does VERY well. What it doesn't, it does well enough to make me believe it'll keep the top spot on my tablet list for a while.

February 21, 2015 | 06:17 AM - Posted by drbaltazar (not verified)

Going from android 4.4.4 to android 5 is a huge upgrade performance wise.I own a nexus 4 and it shouldn't go up so much in performance usually but google has been fine tuning a lot on. The performance side

February 22, 2015 | 02:26 PM - Posted by ZircoBen (not verified)

I felt this thing at Best Buy, and it is absolutely fantastic to hold. Very thin and it feels like a piece of metal.

My only disappointment is KitKat rather than Lollipop, but I understand the optimizations that must happen. After using Lollipop on my phone now since it was released, KitKat feels like something of an eyesore.

Great review Ryan!

April 10, 2015 | 07:19 PM - Posted by cathy (not verified)

32G came out this week. I am looking forward to mine arriving :)

May 2, 2015 | 11:48 AM - Posted by Cathy (not verified)

Having used the 32G version now for several weeks I can say I really really am liking this tablet. Gorgeous screen..it took a couple days to get used to the button location on the left side, but I am fine with them now. Very responsive. I would like to see lollipop soon, but it's easily my favorite tablet.

April 18, 2015 | 11:16 AM - Posted by Eric (not verified)

Anyone know if the Venue 8 7840 is fitted with Gorilla Glass? Or anything similar to prevent scratches and breaks?

February 3, 2016 | 08:01 AM - Posted by Tseg (not verified)

The tablet scene seems a bit quiet lately outside launches of some larger 'Pro' models. I guess tablet sales are a bit soft globally. My 2011 iPad 2 was gimping too badly so I just bought this Dell Venue 8 7000 32GB. Great price discounts are had on it now that it is a year old and it now comes with Lollipop 5.02 that immediately upgrades to 5.1. I would expect an Android 6.0 Marshmallow upgrade over the next 3 months.

Having owned a tablet for years I'm somewhat past the experimentation thing with a gazzillion apps and games and quest for the ultimate specs. I now am more a user of the core types of apps someone uses with a tablet. As a result, my main goals in a tablet are great screen display/readability, snappy and fluid transitions, smooth browsing/reading, smooth video streaming, excellent build quality, excellent battery life, excellent physical usability and overall visual coherence.

This tablet really nails it on most dimensions I'm looking for. As someone else mentioned, where it misses dead center, its definitely good enough. The revue above does a good job of capturing the nuances. I'm sure over time Google will make the Android OS more complex, forcing hardware end-of-life... but for me, Lollipop + Venue 8 addresses all my needs in a tablet already. Marshmallow, if/when it arrives to the V8, will only further improve the SD card functionality in this device. I'm hopeful Dell WON'T keep forcing OS upgrades to this device, making it gimpy, like Apple did to my iPad 2.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote><p><br>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.