John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Dell Venue 8 quick review

Ok, now before you think, WTF isn’t that an old tablet? Well yes genius it is πŸ™‚ Since my Asus Vivotab Note 8 isn’t reliable, and since the Toshiba Write 8 wasn’t supported in Canada I found myself back looking for a pen enabled 8 inch tablet. The Venue 8’s pen experience got really slammed when it hit the market as attrocious so I never considered it. But, my experience with the T100 Chi left me with, while not perfect, a good enough pen experience for taking digital notes. The Dell Venue 8 uses the same digitizer (Synaptics 7500) and pen as the T100 Chi, so I bought a used Venue off of kijiji super cheap to play.

Spec wise this is pretty typical for a device of this vintage. 32G SSD, 2G ram, Atom Z3740 Quad core processor, 1280×800 (yawn) display. There is no GPS in this device so you can’t use it for in car navigation. A shame given that Navmi is quite usable on Windows.

Other than the lack of GPS and the digitizer the tablet is so similar as the Vivotab note as to be identical. As always on 32G of SSD you end up with about 11G free (including a 4.7G recovery partition and 2G taken for the hibernate file). It always amuses me that Windows allocates a hibernate file wasting 2G of a 32G drive and then disables hibernate by default. By the time all current patches are done your down to about 2G free. Windows keeps lots of backup files to undo patches. 32G really is a minimal size.

Using the disk cleanup delete unnecessary files, then clicking on Cleanup system files, you get to see how much Windows update files are using. These are to be able to uninstall a patch. On my tablet (the screenshot is not from the tablet) it was just shy of 800M.

powercfg /h off turns off and deletes the hibernation file freeing up 2G. For some reason on the Dell hibernation isn’t enabled (on Win 8 anyway) and all the tricks I’ve used in the past to reenable it don’t work.

The battery is 4100maH in the Venue.

Charging as always is dead slow. I look forward to buying a newer tablet and having fast charge like I do on my S5. The microUSB port acts as charging as well as USB OTG. There is no microHDMI port. Thankfully there is a microSD port.

The charger is the ubiquitous 5V 2A 10W …

The 32G SSD clocks in around 32MB/s write, 71MB/s read, compared to 25/46 on the Vivotab, so quite good.

The pen on the Dell (I have a first gen Dell Active stylus) is not bad. I have read nothing but bad things about it but really it is ok. Dell had some issues early on and it got a really bad rep on the net. I guess a lot of that stink has not gone away. The pen is not perfect, and not as good as the Vivotab Note 8 but good. It works the same was as the T100, palm rejection does not start until the pen gets close to the screen. And there is a slight delay to when the pen starts writing at first. If your use to a Surface you will hate it. But as always keep price in mind, this is not an $800-100 tablet. By the way, one of the things that helps is to move the task bar from the default bottom (which just happens to be where your palm rests) to the top. It avoids accidentally starting the clock, onscreen keyboard etc. But you will need to change your sync settings otherwise all your machines will end up with the task bar on top πŸ™‚ The Dell Active Stylus and the Acer Active Stylus are so similar I am pretty sure they are the same pen. I really wish the pens had an on/off switch to preserve the precious power of the pricey AAAA battery.

In doing some reading I found out lots of people are complaining about the palm rejection in Windows 10. It seems to be different/worse than in Windows 8. My testing was on Windows 8. So for now I will be leaving this tablet on Windows 8.

As a reminder, always remember one of the first things you ought to do is to create a USB Win 8/10 recovery drive. It allows you to get the system back to factory settings in the event something goes horribly wrong.

As is common on all these tablets the microSD slot is limited to 20MB/s so don’t bother rushing out to buy an uber fast card.

Also as usual the tablet has no flash for either the front or rear cameras.

So all in all the Dell Venue 8 is pretty much as expected (other than the disappointing lack of GPS)…



December 17, 2015 - Posted by | Windows tablets

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