REVIEW: Dell Venue 11 Pro Tablet

If organisations do not take steps to introduce mobile devices into their business, they run the risk of compromising their competitiveness and relinquishing control as employees seek to take device choice into their own hands. The Dell Venue 11 Pro is a powerful and expandable Windows 8.1-powered tablet that makes it easy for employees to connect, share and access corporate content within a familiar environment.

10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VENUE 11 PRO

  1. Dell’s Venue line of tablets comprises two models, an 8- or 10.8-incher, and are designed to address the changing way people work. Both are backed by Intel processing technology (Atom or Core i3/i5) and Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Pro version optional) operating system. Google’s Android is not available on either model.
  2. Both the Venue 8 Pro (from £279 ex. VAT) and Venue 11 Pro (from £510 ex. VAT) share the same black, robust design, but the Venue 8 Pro sports a 1280×800 touch display compared to the Venue 11 Pro’s Full HD (1920×1080) IPS screen. The Venue 11 Pro also has more memory (up to 4GB), more storage (up to 128GB SSD), higher resolution cameras (front/back) and better connectivity – including optional mobile broadband (HSPA+).
  3. Unlike the eye-catching XPS 11 Ultrabook (from £899 ex. VAT), the Venue 11 Pro puts business needs first so loses the thin design and Quad HD (2560×1440) display. Instead you get a rugged design, better battery life, network management tools, and a greater choice of extras including keyboard, stylus and dock options.
  4. Dell’s enterprise heritage is obvious with the Venue 11 Pro. A huge selling point is the tablet’s 2-in-1 flexibility thanks to the convenience of a detachable keyboard (Dell offers various types), giving it similar power to an Ultrabook and a user experience more akin to a desktop. Unlike other tablets, it also has a removable battery and a variety of stylus options.
  5. For a more desktop computing experience, the optional Tablet Desktop Dock (£147.38 ex. VAT) provides a further x3 USB 3.0 ports (one already on tablet), 10/100 Ethernet, HDMI output, DisplayPort output, as well as 3.5mm audio output. Besides being well built and practically robust, the Dock holds the Venue Pro in a fixed position so doesn’t allow you to tilt the tablet into a more comfortable position.
  6. The Venue 11 Pro gives IT departments what they need – the ability to integrate into an existing corporate environment with full compatibility with current Windows applications and Microsoft Office integration. The tablet also features optional advanced security features and services such as TPM and Dell Enterprise Services.
  7. The Venue 11 Pro offers great versatility and is one of few tablets with a full-size USB 3.0 port. It also has a micro HDMI port and microSD card slot (requires a paperclip to open), along with a snap-off removable rear that allows you to swap out batteries and access the SSD and wireless chip.
  8. When it comes to unwinding after a long day on the road, the Venue 11 Pro has the power to run HD videos just fine and its screen is bright and clear, but the stereo speakers that flank the screen are heavy in the mid-range and lack bass.
  9. The Venue Pro has a 36Wh battery that’s good for around 6.5 hours use. Extending battery life can be achieved by purchasing a second battery, or by augmenting with a 28Wh unit in the Mobile Tablet Keyboard (£133.32 ex. VAT) which boosts operating time to around 11 hours.
  10. Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 looks and feels better than the Venue Pro, but Dell’s tablet supports superb keyboards and a second battery, has great connectivity, and is backed by excellent service and support. There are better value equivalents from other manufacturers, but the Venue Pro reigns in terms of flexibility when it comes to specifications, prices and accessories. With the Venue tablets Dell has created a dedicated brand of tablets to meet the needs of the evolving workforce.
SUMMARY
  • Robust design
  • Removable battery
  • Excellent management tools
  • Lots of additional extras
  • Good warranty & service
  • Touch bulky & heavy
  • Average battery performance
  • Disappointing speakers
  • Stylus not included
  • Extras are expensive