Dell Venue 7 review: Simple and pure 7-inch budget tablet

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MSRP: $149.99
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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The Dell Venue 7 starts at $149 and features a pure Android 4.2.2 operating system. It's lightweight, houses a microSD card expansion, and performs smoothly.

The Bad Larger games take a while to load, the touch screen is sometimes unresponsive, and battery life only lasts about a day.

The Bottom Line The Dell Venue 7 offers a simple design and smooth performance for the right price, but the Nexus 7 is a significant upgrade for not much more.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.3 Overall
  • Design 6.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 6.0

Editors' note:The Dell Venue 7 and Venue 8 are similar devices in 7- and 8-inch models that only differ in camera specs, so their reviews might look familiar.

Marrying simplicity and value in a modest Android tablet, the Dell Venue 7 offers a comfortable design and smooth performance for a reasonable $149 starting price.

The Venue 7 has a no-frills disposition that can't compete with today's top tablets; it houses midrange specs, a subpar -- but decent -- IPS screen, and a humdrum design. However, the 7-inch Dell, which has a larger counterpart in the Venue 8, should have no qualms about its status as a budget tablet thanks to its steady performance and refreshing inclusion of a pure Android 4.2.2 OS.

These days 7-inch tablets are a dime-a-dozen, and its hard to one-up competitively priced devices like the Nexus 7 (2013) and Amazon Kindle Fire HDX when it comes to performance and value. But the Dell Venue 7's low price point makes its simplicity reasonable and attractive for bargain shoppers.

The Venue 7 rocks a rather simple design that's offered in either a scarlet red or matte black. The flat grippy plastic on the back panel has a smooth matte finish, which doesn't attract too many smudges (unless your fingers are oily), and it extends to the tablet's rounded edges.

The smooth back panel is comfortable when resting against your fingertips and sitting in your palms. The grippy texture helps secure the device in your hands, and the Venue 7's bezels satisfactorily provide enough space on the side to let your thumbs rest without creeping onto the touch screen.

Tested spec Dell Venue 7 Amazon Kindle Fire HD (2013) Google Nexus 7 (2013) Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7
Weight in pounds 0.52 0.86 0.66 0.66
Width in inches (landscape) 7.6 7.7 7.8 7.3
Height in inches 4.6 5.4 4.5 5
Depth in inches 0.38 0.4 0.34 0.35
Side bezel width in inches (landscape) n/a 0.9 1 0.6

In comparison to similarly sized small tablets, the Venue 7 packs a thicker profile. If your aesthetic preference leans toward a sleek and thin design, this tablet will look more like an ugly stepsister than a Cinderella. However, if you don't care about fancy high-end looks, the Venue 7 provides an unremarkably simple, yet lightweight design.

When held upright in portrait orientation, the Venue 7's power button is located on the top-right edge, with the microphone pinhole and headphone jack to its left. The front of the Dell Venue 7 has a VGA camera and the back houses a 3-megapixel shooter.

View full gallery (7 Photos)
A microSD card expansion slot is always a welcome addition. Josh Miller/CNET

The microSD card slot can be found on the right edge, and the Micro-USB port and volume rocker on the left. The Venue 7's volume rocker is relatively flush to the tablet's edge and doesn't protrude enough to be easily found without visually looking for it.

The Dell Venue 7 houses a 2.0GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2560 CPU, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB or 32GB of internal storage.

View full gallery (7 Photos)
Gaming performance is decent for simple mobile games, but larger games take longer to load. Josh Miller/CNET
Other features on the tablet include Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and wireless broadband capabilities that, according Dell, may or may not be an option in the US and Canadian markets.

When it came to simple activities like checking e-mail and surfing the Web, the Venue 7 consistently performed swiftly and smooth; I rarely had an issue with crashing apps, sluggish behavior, or buggy functionality. Wi-Fi speeds were decently fast for browsing and watching video.

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