Dell is the slightly unlikely claimant to the title of world's thinnest tablet with the Venue 8 7000. Here's our hands-on review of the slim Jim Android tablet. See also thebest tablets of 2014.
Dell Venue 8 7000 hands-on review: Price and release date
Although Dell previewed the Venue 8 7000 at IDF (Intel Developer Forum) in September, it has not formally announce it.
What Dell told us at our hands-on briefing is that the device is likely to land in Europe early in January 2015. There's no official price but the firm did say that it will be around the same area as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.4 which costs £319. This means it will be up against the iPad iPad mini 3, too, which has the same price tag as its Samsung rival.
Dell Venue 8 7000 hands-on review: Design and build
The headline design aspect of the Venue 8 7000 is how thin it is. At just 6 mm it outclasses the Galaxy Tab S 8.4, Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact andiPad Air 2 which are 6.6-, 6.4- and 6.1 mm respectively. One thing is for sure, it feels extremely svelte and lightweight in the hand – although 310 g makes it a little heavier than its Samsung and Sony rivals. We also like the feel of the uni-body metal casing which covers most of the tablet.
Dell has created a stylish design although it does look a little odd with the large bezel at one end of the screen which houses a sizable camera lens and speaker grill. Going by the Dell logo on the back (see photo below), the tablet is designed to be held in portrait orientation with the speaker at the bottom. Holding it this way does mean, however, that the cameras (see hardware below) are also at the bottom which is pretty unorthodox.
Dell Venue 8 7000 hands-on review: Hardware and specs
On the hardware front it's no surprise to find an Intel Atom processor since the device was unveiled at the firm's developer forum. Increasing amounts of Android tablet are using Intel power. The Venue 8 7000 uses a quad-core Z3500 Moorefield chip which has PowerVR G6430 graphics and performance seems good although we did encounter a few issues but the sample we looked at was pre-production so we're giving it the benefit of the doubt for now.
The 8.4in OLED screen is stunning with a super high resolution of 2560 x 1600 meaning a pixel density of 359ppi matching the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4. Dell says it has an 'infinity bezel' and although it is relatively small, we can definitely see one.
The power unit and screen are decent but something more interesting is the fact that the tablet is the first to come with Intel RealSense technology.
As you can see in the photo below, there are three rear cameras which are all rated at 8Mp. The main one sits in on its own in the bezel while the other two sit in a strip more central. The idea is that the additional two act like your eyes and capture depth information (up to 10m). This can be used to not only refocus the image after you've take in but also measure items within it.
As you can see from out attempt, the measurement feature was a little bit off – I do not, unfortunately, own a 2ft novelty pen or giant tea cup. Dell has promised us a software update will fix this by the time the tablet launches so we'll try again when we get a review sample.
Other hardware includes 16 GB of internal storage, 2 GB of RAM, GPS and a SIM-cards slot for optional mobile data. Dell also touts a battery life of 6 hours and fast charging.
Dell Venue 8 7000 hands-on review: Software
The Venue 8 7000 sample we looked at was running on Android 4.4 KitKat with a very untouched user interface, too. Dell informs us that the tablet will definitely be updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop also which is good news. Also see: Best Android tablets 2014.
It's good that Dell has decided to leave Android alone but has also added a few apps of its own. For example, you can't use the fancy RealSense features unless you open Dell's Gallery app. The firm has also implemented the option to store and organise photos and video by GPS position making it easier to show someone only photos taken on a holiday abroad or trip to a certain place, for example.
You can also view content by person as the device will tag people in your photos and link them to social networks including Facebook and Twitter.
The sample we looked at was being used by a Dell employee so we're not sure which apps were pre-loaded and which were downloaded by the user.
Buying Advice The Dell Venue 8 7000 could do with a better name but it's certainly the most desirable tablet we've seen from the PC maker. It's both stylish and has some great specs including a stunning screen. The Intel RealSense technology is interesting but we need to see the final model before we can make a proper verdict.