Dell announced that the Venue 8 7000 is now available in Singapore. This is the world’s thinnest tablet at only 6mm, with quite a unique design and is also the first in the world with Intel RealSense Snapshot Depth Camera. It won the prestigious 2015 CES “Best of Innovation” awardcalled Intel Realsense.
Things I Like
8.4″ Tablet in a 7″ Form Factor
THe tablet is extremely thin, measuring 6mm, 15% thinner than the iPhone 6 Plus. The Venue 8 7000 is cased in a metal aluminum body that gives off a premium feel. Despite being super thin, the tablet doesn’t flex and feels well-built. No #BendGate here. The design is a little quirky, and doesn’t look like a traditional tablet. The first thing that caught my eye was the ultra-thin bezel on the three sides. The bottom part of the tablet offers a stark contrast and serves as the base and chin of the tablet, containing the speaker and the front facing camera. The narrow bezels mean that the Venue 8 7000 looks and feels more like a 7-inch tablet, yet offers an 8.4″ viewing experience.
Excellent for Media Consumption
The screen is an OLED 2560 x 1600 display (16:10) ratio. The tablet’s vivid 2560 x 1600 resolution delivers crystal clear images that enables users to immerse themselves in their photos and videos. Looks excellent for binge-watching your dramas and movies. Dell also included front-facing speakers, which are loud and point in the right direction. Some other manufacturers are still building tablets that project sound from the bottom or the back. One weird part is that the speakers are stereo, but both located on the bottom bar of the tablet.
Colours are a little over-saturated though, and offers a slight yellow tint. Here is a comparison with the Nokia N1 IPS 2048×1536 display (thanks to Wilson Wong from Techgoondu – check out Wilson’s Nokia N1 review).
The Venue 8 7000 is powered by a 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 processor along with 2GB of RAM. That’s a rather powerful processor from the Atom range and should perform comparably to the Snapdragons in the market. During the quick hands on, it performed admirably.
Things I Didn’t Like
Storage, or the lack thereof
One area where the Venue 8 7000 fall short is storage. Offering only 16gb internal, that’s barely enough in today’s context. It does make up for things with a micro SD card slot though. Dell says it allows expansion for up to 512GB of additional space. The last I checked, the largest microSD card is only 200GB, not sure what Dell has been testing with in their labs.
Realsense Camera – True Innovation or Gimmick?
The Venue 8 is the first tablet to integrate the Intel RealSense Snapshot Depth Camera. It allows you to capture a high-definition depth map for every picture taken. The tablet has an 8MP main camera and two 720P cameras separated by 80cm that capture a stereoscopic image with every photograph. Together with the Dell Gallery application, users will have much more flexibility when editing photos with selective filtering and refocus functions. Users can change the brightness of a foreground object or background object, or refocus on any part of the picture. In addition, they will be able to do simple linear or area measurements with a photo, like measure the length of a sofa or the area of a room.
The user experience wasn’t too good on the Venue 8. After taking a Snapshot Depth photo, you can’t edit the image directly. You would need to switch over to the Dell Gallery app, before the edit tools are available. It’s a cumbersome process. The refocus function also has a limitation of a minimum refocus distance of 1m. At the further distances, the depth of field and bokeh effect is not as pronounced. I wasn’t impressed with the quality of the photos too, there was quite a fair bit of noise in the photos. Photos were taken in an indoor setting, and lighting was average. The depth detection also works, but the measurements didn’t seem to be that accurate – which makes it feel more like a gimmick at this moment.
The position of the rear camera is also on the bottom half of the tablet, near to where the thicker bezel is. Due to the ultra thin bezels, I find myself gripping or holding the tablet from the bottom but this results in my fingers obscuring one of the three lens on the back of the tablet.
I am not sure how many people would buy a tablet with the primary purpose of taking photos. The added lens and camera capability of the Dell Venue 8 feels more gimmicky to me. I think the RealSense Depth Camera could be showcased by Intel in other devices, instead of a tablet.
Pricing and Availability
The Venue 8 is now available at S$659 with the Dell Venue Folio and at S$699 with the Dell Venue Keyboard Folio. When it is time to take the Venue 8 on-the-go, the Dell Venue 8 Folio provides protection in an elegant frame that enhances the tablet’s sleek design. Productivity is also improved on-the-go with the Dell Venue 8 Keyboard Folio, a slim and lightweight wireless keyboard that makes replying to emails or editing documents easier.
A quirky looking tablet, but overall nice. The world’s slimmest tablet! Pricey compared to the US$ pricing of $399 (no thanks to the strong US dollar). Not much competition in the Singapore market other than the Mi Pad, which isn’t as elegantly constructed. Buy the Dell Venue 8 7000 for the design and capability, rather than the camera.