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

The 7-inch budget tablet features a no-frills design that complements the simplicity of pure Android 4.2.2.

Xiomara Blanco Associate Editor / Reviews - Tablets and monitors
Xiomara Blanco is an associate editor for CNET Reviews. She's a Bay Area native with a knack for tech that makes life easier and more enjoyable. So, don't expect her to review printers anytime soon.
Xiomara Blanco
4 min read

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.


Dell Venue 7

The Good

The <b>Dell Venue 7</b> 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.

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.

Dell Venue 7 tablet is a basic, budget buy (pictures)

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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 specDell Venue 7Amazon Kindle Fire HD (2013)Google Nexus 7 (2013)Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7
Weight in pounds0.520.860.660.66
Width in inches (landscape)
Height in inches4.65.44.55
Depth in inches0.380.40.340.35
Side bezel width in inches (landscape)n/a0.910.6

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.

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.

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.

DeviceCPUGPURAMOS tested
Dell Venue 72.0GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2580Power VR SGX5442GBAndroid 4.2.2
Amazon Kindle Fire HD (2013)1.2GHz dual-core OMAP4460Power VR SGX5401GBAmazon Android Mojito 3.0
Google Nexus 7 (2104)1.2GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3ULP GeFOrce (12-core)1GBAndroid 4.3

3DMark (Normal)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Google Nexus 7 (2014)

Dell Venue 7


Amazon Kindle Fire HD (2013)


The Venue 7 features a 1,280x800-pixel resolution screen, which isn't particularly high or impressive compared with what's out there, but HD video still looked clear and sharp. The 7-inch IPS screen delivers great viewing angles and colors looked decently vibrant and saturated.

Text on the screen looked sharp and readable, even small text, and the touch screen was responsive. I did, however, occasionally have swipes and gestures go unrecognized.

Tested specDell Venue 7Amazon Kindle Fire HD (2013)Google Nexus 7 (2013)Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7
Maximum brightness342 cd/m2394 cd/m2570 cd/m2430 cd/m2
Maximum black level0.37 cd/m20.41 cd/m20.44 cd/m20.37 cd/m2
Maximum contrast ratio924:1960:11,295:11,162:1

The Venue 7's single speaker won't satisfy any audiophiles.

Josh Miller/CNET

The single speaker, located on the corner of the bottom right edge, is surprisingly loud. Unfortunately, when listening to it at loud volumes, audio sounded tinny; crashing cymbals sounded harshly unpleasant, and bass-heavy music suffered from distortion. At medium and low volumes the distortion was less audible. Also, for my personal taste, I found the headphone volume set a bit too low.

The Venue 7's camera features few options for optimizing your photos.

Xiomara Blanco/CNET

The Venue 7 houses a front-facing VGA camera, with 3-megapixel one of the back. Both cameras produced unflatteringly dark, grainy, and fuzzy photos. There is no focal point option and options are limited to white balance and picture size.

Here are our official CNET Labs-tested battery life results. More tablet testing results can be found here.

Video Battery life (in hours)
Dell Venue 77.7

The Dell Venue 7 has an 8-inch twin, the Venue 8.

Josh Miller/CNET

There are many competitively priced 7-inch tablets available, and even though the Dell Venue 7 offers smooth performance and a pure Android 4.2.2 OS, an upgrade to a faster, sharper, and sleeker tablet isn't too far away.

Amazon offers a comparable, inexpensive 7-inch tablet in the Kindle Fire HD (2013), starting at $139 ($169 for 16GB), but it runs its own Mojito OS, suffers from sluggish performance, and doesn't include the Google Play store. The Kindle Fire HDX is a considerable upgrade, but starts at $229.

The Google Nexus 7 (2013) is a superior small tablet that also starts at $229 and offers a pure Android experience -- KitKat, the newest version-- but it boasts a more compact build, zippier performance, and sharper screen. For an extra $70 you get a great upgrade in the Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HDX, but if cost is crucial, the Dell Venue 7 offers a satisfactory "simple is as simple does" value.


Dell Venue 7

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 7Performance 6