Dell Venue 11 Pro review

Is Dell’s Venue 11 Pro better value than Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2?

Price
£699
  • Removable rear panel; Versatile design; Good keyboard accessory; Excellent battery life; Good screen
  • Uninspiring design; Inconsistent SSD; Heavy with accessories added; Slim keyboard is poor

Dell's Venue 11 Pro is designed to be more versatile than rival products like the Microsoft Surface Pro 2.

The Venue is available in different configurations and with numerous accessories like all other Dell products. But is this 11in device the best full Windows 8 tablet on the market?

Best for business?

The Venue prioritises function over form. The grippy soft-touch material on the rear doesn't attract fingerprints, and the 10.8in touchscreen sits in a chassis made of magnesium alloy. It's not the most stylish tablet, but it's one of the strongest, with no noticeable give in any area.

The Venue's business credentials are enhanced by superb versatility. This is one of few tablets with a full-sized USB 3 port to accompany the micro-HDMI connector and microSD card slot.

It's the only tablet we've seen with a removable rear. Users can get access to the innards and it's possible to swap the wireless chip and SanDisk SSD, with the latter two components held in place by single screws.

The Venue has great build quality and business-friendly design, but it's hardly a lightweight. Our model weighed 772g, making it heavier than Nokia Lumia 2520 Windows RT tablet (615g) and significantly heavier than most Android or iOS tablets. The Surface Pro 2, at 903g, weighs more. A 13mm thickness, which brings the Venue into line with the Surface but it's a far cry from the 8.9mm chassis found on the Lumia.

Dell's bulky design and the 10.8in screen means this just isn't comfortable for prolonged one-handed use, but it's fine in two hands or on a lap. The placement of the power button and volume rocker are suited for landscape mode.

The Venue's 8-megapixel rear camera was fine for quick snaps but the sensor didn't capture enough light, and the 2-megapixel front camera was suitable for Skype calls. The quality of sound from the speakers quality was dreadful. The high-end was tinny, the mid-range unsubtle and muddy, and there was little bass.

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