Dell Venue 7 review: Simple and affordable with stable performance

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.8
  • Design: 6.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 7.5
Review Date:

The Good The Dell Venue 7 and 8 are refreshingly bloatware-free and start at affordable sub-$200 prices. Performance during casual use is stable and there's a microSD card expansion slot.

The Bad Performance slows down when downloading app updates or large files. The thick bezels slightly outdate the tablet's design.

The Bottom Line The Dell Venue 7 is one of the best small tablet bargains. The larger Venue 8 is just as capable, however there are other 8-inch slates that offer more features for the same price.

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There's an abundance of competitively priced small and midsize tablets, but the Dell Venue 7 and 8 stand out thanks to their stable performance, pure version of Android 4.4 KitKat, and affordable pricing. The 7- and 8-inch pair start at $160 and $200, respectively.

Both models are available in the US, and the 8-inch is available in the UK for £180. Dell offers the Venue Pro 8 in Australia (which runs Windows 8.1), but there has been no announcement of pricing or availability for the Venue 7 or 8.

Though lightweight with a unique back cover, they're not the sleekest slates on the block, or overflowing with features. Yet, if slim design and pre-loaded apps aren't of interest, the Dell Venue tablets are easy on the wallet.

There are some performance hang-ups when downloading big files and running large apps, but that's a typical limitation of simply specced bargain tablets.

If quality is king, but you're limited by your budget, the Dell Venues accommodate both with just a few sacrifices.

Design

The Dell Venue 7 and 8 look identical, except the ports and buttons are located on different edges; the 7-inch model has the headphone jack, Micro-USB port, and volume buttons on the top left corner, while the Venue 8 has them on the top right. The volume buttons are flush to the edges, but are still relatively easy to find without looking. The microSD card slot, expandable up to 64GB, is located on the right edge for both.

Dell Venue 7 Acer Iconia One 7 LG G Pad 7
Weight in pounds 0.64 0.73 0.65
Width in inches (landscape) 7.6 7.8 7.4
Height in inches 4.6 4.7 4.5
Depth in inches 0.35 0.4 0.4
Side bezel width in inches (landscape) 0.8 0.8 0.7

Dell Venue 8 Lenovo A8 Asus MeMo Pad 8
Weight in pounds 0.74 0.8 0.72
Width in inches (landscape) 8.5 8.5 8.3
Height in inches 5.1 5.3 4.9
Depth in inches 0.35 0.35 0.33
Side bezel width in inches (landscape) 0.8 0.8 0.7

Dell offers the Venue tablets in red or black (though the red is US-only), and the back features a circular grooved texture that feels pleasant on your fingertips and palms. The grooves aren't wide or deep enough to make an impression on your fingertips and the matte finish adds a level of stylish comfort. The all-black backs on our review units had a vinyl record-like resemblance and I found them to exude a subtle coolness typically associated with jazz musicians.

img0647.jpg
It looks like a vinyl record, or a zen garden with black sand. Xiomara Blanco/CNET

The bezels on each are thick enough to look like a pair of inexpensive tablets, but not chunky enough to look outdated. Both tablets actually sport the same bezel width and thickness. I wouldn't call the Venue tablets sleek, however, they're comfortable and lightweight with a fashionably subdued look.

Features

One of the best things about owning a pure Android tablet is the lack of bloatware. The Venue 7 and 8 do ship with some pre-loaded software, but it's easy to uninstall and the selection of apps are quite helpful for those unfamiliar with Android.

img0701.jpg
Bezel twinsies Xiomara Blanco/CNET

The full suite of Google and Amazon apps, Polaris Office, and Evernote are just a few of the popular programs you'll find on there. Dropbox is also on there and, with the purchase your Dell Venue tablet, you get a free 20GB of cloud storage for one year.

Hardware

The Venue 7 and 8 house different processors. The 7-incher packs a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z3460 while the 8-inch model offers a 2.1GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z3480 CPU. Both tablets offer 16GB of internal storage, 1GB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.0, and Wi-Fi 802.11 A/C.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Wireless Connectivity IEEE 802.11ac
  • Type Android 4.4
  • Weight 10.2 oz
  • Operating System Android 4.4 (KitKat)
  • Storage 16 GB integrated
  • Processor Intel Atom Z3460
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