There are four things that stand out with Dell’s Venue 8 7000 tablet, which is effectively a technology showcase and Halo product for Dell. Halo products tend to be focused on showcasing what a company can do and tend to have technologies and design elements other products don’t get. The Venue 8 7000 8 is arguably the best looking Tablet in its class, it has a gorgeous OLED infinity display, it is incredibly thin and light, and it is the first to offer Intel’s Real Sense camera. There were two minor downsides the Real Sense Camera doesn’t have a flash or other light source limiting low light pictures, and there isn’t a cover I’ve been able to find for it that suspends it when closed.
Let’s talk about using the product.
Oh The Amazing Screen
For those folks that haven’t seen an OLED screen they are far better than the typical LCD screen on most tablets. The colors are deep the black really black and the images just jump out at you when you are watching a video or browsing pictures on the web. While there are a lot of things that differentiate this tablet the strongest in use is the screen. Given a tablet is basically a portable window into the web, games, and media having a stunning screen is a huge advantage.
Text is sharp for reading as well, which is what I mostly use the table for, and the size shows enough of the page so that you don’t feel like you are flipping them excessively. OLED is likely the wave of the future for both Tablets and Smartphones and maybe even TVs (though TVs using this technology have been excessively expensive so far).
This is one of the few products that doesn’t use an ARM processor and instead uses the latest Intel part. I ran games back to back against my 9” Kindle HDX and I couldn’t notice any difference in gameplay or graphics performance. The Kindle uses the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon processor which dominates Smartphones and tablets. This is an impressive showing for the Intel part long thought to be unable to perform well enough in tablets. In moving from this tablet to host of other the performance is in-line and there were no noticeable problems with apps or operating system execution even though the underlying x86 architecture is very different from ARM.
Real Sense Camera
This is one of the big selling points of this tablet and the camera is good, the only thing is I’m not a fan of using a tablet as a camera and it doesn’t have a light source so fill flash, well any flash, and nighttime photography is pretty much out. The pictures do have the unique ability of a nearly unlimited field of view and post shot depth and focus changes.
I think this is a technology that will improve greatly over time as you’ll be able to take pictures of furniture and art and then place it virtually on your actual wall given measurements are captured and retained. But we are still waiting for the Real Sense application that will make this camera really stand out, right now it is a placeholder for the future. A fascinating idea that needs a little more time to completely mature. Good news is that it is likely much of this can be done in software suggesting this tablet will get better with age.
This is about as thin as I can see a tablet getting, it is a sexy thing, with hard edges and it is incredibly lightly. The lightest, thinnest tablet I’ve so far seen in its class. It holds well and at length, uses Gorilla Glass so it is relatively (or should be) scratch and break resistant, and it puts out a decent amount of sound from the speakers though, I think, folks would prefer you used headphones.
I’m rather impressed with this tablet. It fits the definition of a halo product in that it showcases a series of technologies and design elements that will eventually show up in other products like the Real Sense Camera, Intel Processor, and incredibly thin form factor. In its current form it is actually pretty impressive and will only become more so as more apps come to market that use the camera and the much improved Android Lollypop platform become available for it.
The Dell Venue 8 7000 Tablet is good enough that it kind of makes you wonder what the next version can do that’ll be better. We’ll see, for now, a nice start for Dell and Intel in what is a decent halo product showcasing both firm’s capabilities nicely.