CNET First Look
Dell's Venue 8 Pro is an 8-inch tablet with a premium feelThis Windows 8 slate comes close, but a misplaced button and missing keyboard feel like unforced errors.
Hi. I'm Dan Ackerman and we are here taking a look at the Dell Venue 8 Pro. This is a new 8-inch full Windows 8 tablet. We've seen a couple of these earlier with kind of low-power Intel Atom processors. They didn't really seem very impressive. This guy uses the next generation of Intel Atom processors, otherwise known by the codename Bay Trail and they promised better performance and longer battery life so that can be kind of the secret ingredient that finally makes the smaller windows tablets a little more usable. Now for a $299 tablet, and that's what this guy cost with 32-gig solid state hard drive, you actually get something that looks and feels fairly upscale especially like the kind of textured soft-touch back on the rear surface here makes it easy to grip and really makes it feel like a more expensive product than it is. There is one odd physical thing that really throws me off though, that's on any Windows 8 tablet usually have a Windows button right here below the bezel that you can press to get back to the main screen. Here, it's an actually physical button all the way over here on the edge and you always forget it's there and you're always trying to get back to the main Windows 8 interface. I was gonna have to look for this button and hit it. I do like however that they have a little volume rocker switch on the side that makes it a lot easier to control the volume when you're watching video stream or something like that. Now because the screen is very small, you really get to see how Windows 8 scales itself because it's supposed to be able to use the same operating system on let say, a 27-inch own one or a little 8-inch tablet. For the most part, it works okay but you get a problem when, let say you go into your web browser and then you want let say type in URL to go to and you press that, you get the on-screen keyboard. It takes up almost the entire screen. You actually can't see what you're doing at all and that's just-- it's like [unk] fault but it's the fact that Windows 8 doesn't really scales up perfectly to these very small tablet. It's almost that they didn't really plan ahead to use Windows Aid and something about this small. And, of course, for something like this you should have let say a keyboard dock that you can plug it in to so it forms like a mini laptop, the Asus 2100 is kind of like that or a separate Bluetooth keyboard, you know, the Microsoft Surface series has attachable keyboards well. Dell has a keyboard for this but it's not available yet. You can see it on the website for a tantalizing that should looks very nice, but you can order it. It doesn't say how much it is or when it's coming out. You can however get this kind of finally fully [unk] for $40 which seems a little excessive to me and there's an [unk] stylizing it for $30 that actually works fairly well and it's nice to see, you know, a good stylish, pay them with the small handheld tablet like this. At $300, the price is right. You can't complain too much about these emissions but I feel like just a step away from being a really, really, really in usable 8-inch Windows tablet. I'm Dan Ackerman and that is the Dell Venue 8 Pro.