MEGATech Reviews: Dell Venue 8 7000 Series Android Tablet Michael Kwan June 11, 2015 MEGATech Reviews MEGATech Reviews: Dell Venue 8 7000 Series Android TabletRaw performance is admirable, the slim form factor is impressive, and the OLED edge-to-edge infinity display is a sight to behold. It's a real performer and it looks the part too.ProsPositively gorgeous displayImpossibly thinInteresting depth-based camera featuresConsPoor camera qualityAwkward to hold and useBuggy measurements2015-06-118Overall Score Some people will tell you that all Android tablets are fundamentally the same and you shouldn’t bother with any of them. They might tell you to just get an iPad instead. And then you come across the much more daring design of the Dell Venue 8 7000 Series and realize just how amazing an Android tablet can be. Is this OLED infinity display really that much better? And what’s this about a depth-sensing camera where you can change the focus after the fact? Let’s have a closer look. Feature Overview and Box Contents The Dell Venue 8 7000 Series (specifically the 7840, in this case) is being positioned as a premium Android tablet in a similar ilk as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4. Indeed, both tablets feature a 8.4″ display and, in both cases, the screen carries an immediately wow factor. The OLED edge to edge infinity display boasts a resolution of 2560 x 1600 and a near bezel-free design. The only end that has more of a distinguished bezel is the bottom, where you’ll find the speaker and the front-facing 2MP camera. Under the hood, the Dell Venue 8 7000 is powered by an Intel Atom Z3580 quad-core processor, 2GB of LP-DDR3 RAM, and PowerVR G6430 graphics. It gets just 16GB of internal storage, but there is the microSD slot (which is more like a SIM card tray) for up to 512GB more. A very notable feature here is also the impossibly thin profile of this tablet, measuring just 6mm (0.24-inches) thick. Around the back, you get an 8MP Intel RealSense camera accompanied by dual 720p cameras for the depth-sensing novelty. The contents of the box aren’t nearly as exciting, offering some basic documentation, a microUSB charging cable, and a wall adapter. First Impressions It is immediately clear that the Venue 8 7000 Series is an entirely different beast from the Venue 8 3000 Series that we had reviewed previously. Dell has gone to great lengths to create a product that looks premium, feels premium, and performs in a premium kind of way too. Even the choice of materials is a unique one as the body is bade from machined aluminum with a thermoplastic engineering polymer resin. It definitely feels solid in the hands. The ultra high resolution OLED display is also quite remarkable. You get intensively deep blacks with vibrant color saturation. Because the resolution is higher, though, a lot of the regular text in the user interface can be quite small and sometimes difficult to read (at least for my aging eyes). There is an option in the Android settings for large text, but the difference isn’t as substantial as you may expect. The package is decidedly slick and this philosophy has also been applied to the power and volume buttons, all three of which are located on the left side near the top. I caught myself pressing a volume button sometimes when I wanted to hit the power button, as a result, and I imagine this issue could be easily rectified if either the power and volume buttons were placed on different sides or if the buttons had a different texture to them. “Kinecting” with the RealSense Snapshot Depth Camera In theory, this Intel RealSense Snapshot Depth Camera sounds like an intriguing idea. Basically, there is one main 8MP camera in the bottom center of the device. Above this, you’ll find a pair of 720p cameras that are spaced a little ways apart. The idea is this provides the Venue 8 7000 Series with stereoscopic vision, allowing it to better understand your photo in a three-dimensional space. On the software side, you can “change” the focus after the photo has already been taken. You can also take measurements, both in terms of distance and area, by tapping on the corresponding parts of the screen. In practice, this fancy camera tech doesn’t really work as well as I had hoped. For starters, because of the placement of the three cameras on the back, I found it incredibly awkward to find the best way to hold the tablet as not to obstruct their view. I’m also not pleased that lends itself to more portrait oriented pictures than landscape ones. In the end, I found holding the tablet upside down worked out best. Secondly, the actual measurements were buggy at best. Sometimes I got measurements that seemed reasonable; other times they were either completely off or simply listed as “unknown” on the screen. The actual picture quality itself also leaves much to be desired. A lot of photos came out looking hazy, even after I had wiped the lens to ensure it was reasonably clean. The details can be fuzzy, lacking in clarity and crispness. In harsher sunlight, the saturation can be dialed far too high. And the lack of a flash on the back means taking low-light pictures will be a challenge too. Thin Bezels Are Great, But… Holding the Dell Venue 8 7000 Series for taking photos isn’t the only scenario where holding it can be awkward. In fact, it becomes somewhat awkward under a lot of different circumstances, largely due to that beautifully thin bezel. This would be less of an issue on a smartphone or even a phablet, because it’s easy enough to simply grip the sides of the device. You can do that here too, but it’s just not as comfortable for sustained use. Using this tablet between your hands, wedging it between your palms, can feel a little better. The trade-off is that you must now reach around with your available thumbs. Another position that I tried was holding the only end with the wider bezel (the bottom) with my left hand, orienting the tablet in a landscape fashion. That wouldn’t be so bad if it were not for the fact that I’m not obscuring the stereo speakers (which are designed to work when holding the tablet in a portrait orientation). Over time, I found myself either leveraging gravity and keeping the tablet as close to parallel to the ground as possible or using the aforementioned two hand approach, as if this were a giant phone. But hey, that infinity display really is something else. Performance Benchmarks: 3DMark and AnTuTu In terms of raw performance, the Dell Venue 8 7000 Series performed admirably in all of my daily tasks. I did start to encounter a little bit of slowdown when I had a lot of open apps with a growing amount of cached data, but it was relatively minor and easily rectified with a reboot. On a more “scientific” note, the benchmark scores achieved by this tablet are very good, but not necessarily class-leading. The score of 20,963 in 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited puts it almost on par with the Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphone. However, performance in the AnTuTu Benchmark is not as high. It earned a score of 45,984 in this test. That’s still head and shoulders among many devices, but it is not at the top of the heap. For comparison, the Galazy S6 scored over 60,000 in the same benchmark. According to the scores recorded by AnTuTu, the Dell Venue 8 7000 Series is slightly better than the OnePlus One and HTC One M8, but still below the Galaxy Note 4 and the Meizu MX4. MEGATechie Superbly Slim or MEGATechie Real Skinny? I chose to include this tablet in my Mother’s Day gift guide last month because it is indeed among the best Android tablets available on the market today. Raw performance is admirable, the slim form factor is impressive, and the OLED edge-to-edge infinity display is a sight to behold. It’s a real performer and it looks the part too. Even so, it’s not without its shortcomings. The thinner bezel can make it more awkward to use and you may as well forget about taking great photos with the depth-sensing camera. The measurements are an unreliable novelty and the camera placements are particularly curious too. If you forget about the camera and choose to use this simply as a great tablet, you should still be quite happy with your choice. Just figure out how you want to hold it. The Dell Venue 8 7000 Series is listed at $400 through a number of retailers and e-tailers. Share This With The World!