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Dell Venue 8 7000 Series reviewDell is back with an ultra-thin tablet — with Intel inside

by Phil Nickinson

Feb. 2, 2015

One of the more exciting pieces of consumer hardware to come out of CES 2015 wasn't from the usual Android suspects. Not Samsung. Not HTC or Motorola or LG or even ASUS.

Nope. In 2015, we welcome Dell back to the Android stage with an awkwardly named but very-much-a-player Venue 8 7840 tablet — which you'll also see referenced as the Venue 8 7000 Series.

The broad strokes — it's an extremely thin, flat tablet running an Intel Atom chipset. It's extremely compelling — and also not without some head-scratching moments.

So here, now, is our review of this sleek little newcomer, the Dell Venue 8 7840.

Dell Venue 8 7840 hands-on video

Dell Venue 8 7840 hardware

It's thin, it's industrial, and it's thin — and did we mention it's thin?

The Dell Venue 8 7840 display

My god, it's full of pixels ...

Dell Venue 8 7840 display

Let's talk pixels. The Venue 8 7840 has a 8.4-inch OLED display at a resolution of 2560 by 1600. Just let that soak in for a minute. It's a 16:10 aspect ratio with about 359 pixels per inch. And it looks gorgeous.

In fact, it's almost too good. Dell's found itself with the problem of perhaps having more pixels than it should, with on-screen items sometimes being hard to read. It depends on the application (both in the usage and software sense). You get a ton of home screen real estate. But icons and their labels feel tiny. You can increase the system font size across the board, but then parts of letters get cut off in the app launcher. It's almost as if someone demanded the increased resolution but didn't care about the consequences or had ever heard about pixel doubling. (And, worse, didn't bother to fix them. This is Android, after all.)

It's an annoyance, but one we're almost willing to overlook because the damned thing just looks so nice otherwise.

Dell Venue 8 7840 internals

What's under the hood? Intel (and Atom!) inside

Dell Venue 8 7840

There are a lot of pixels to push on the 7840, and pushing them is an Intel Atom processor — the quad-core Z3580, to be exact, which runs up to 2.3GHz and is paired with 2GB of RAM. That might raise a few eyebrows as Intel's not managed to get anywhere near the market share of Qualcomm in the Android space, or even NVIDIA. So the 7840 is as much a means for Intel to get the word out that it's alive and well in the mobile game as it is for Dell to, well, do the same.

Concerns about app compatibility aren't out of left field. But Android in 2015 is a new beast. And in running my usual suite of apps I've not had a single one that acted any differently than on Snapdragon or Tegra. (In fact, the only app I've had fail on me is 1Password, which is just as bad on the Nexus 9 with Tegra K1.)

Dell Venue 8 7840

So what's different about using Atom? From an end-user standpoint, probably not a whole lot, at least as far as day-to-day use goes. Games are as smooth as I'd expect. The user interface — save from the resolution quirks mentioned already — behaves as you'd expect.

Battery life from the 5900 mAh power plant is decent. A 90-minute viewing of Frozen at about 50-percent brightness kills 15 percentage points — about what you'd expect.

As far as thermals go, you'll notice the tablet heats up in spots when you're really pushing it. Despite the aluminum frame it's still a pretty localized spike, though. And if you're using the tablet in cooler environments, the metal makes that bloom much more noticeable. All in all, nothing out of the ordinary, or too troublesome.

As far as on-board storage goes, well, it's pretty disappointing. The tablet currently is only available as 16-gigabyte model. And of that, only a little more than 9GB is available to the user for things like apps, videos and music. (I've already chewed threw nearly half that, actually.) For as advanced as parts of this tablet may be, the storage is woefully lacking.

Dell Venue 8 7840

4.89 in

124.4 mm


0.24 in

6 mm


8.5 in

215.8 mm


10.75 oz (305 g)

8.4-inch WQXGA




5900 mAh


24-Watt AC adaptor included

  • Rear: 8MP

    Intel RealSense Snapshot Depth Camera

    Refocus capability

    In-image measurements

    Front: 2.0MP

  • Intel Atom Z3580

    Quad-core 2.3Ghz



    16GB internal storage

    Up to 512GB microSD

  • Wifi 802.11ac Intel 7260 1x1

    Bluetooth 4.0


  • Android 4.4.4 KitKat

    Stock UI

    Machined aluminum

The Dell Venue 8 7840 software

It's stock Android, but Android 4.4.4

We're running Android 4.4.4 here. Such is life. But for the most part you've got a stock Android experience from Dell. But there also are a few annoying additions. By which we mean bloatware.

At setup you'll be presented with a number of apps that can be installed for you, without the hassle of having to go to Google Play and install them yourself, yo peasant. And, actually, it's not a bad list of apps. Adobe Reader, Amazon Kindle and MP3, Local, Shopping and App Store, Facebook, IMDB, Flixter, Twitter, Vine, Clipboard, The Weather Channel, and a couple games. So we won't blame you if you actually take advantage of that little helper.

Dell Venue 8 7840Dell Venue 8 7840Dell Venue 8 7840Dell Venue 8 7840

Maxx Audio has its eq app on board (they've also teamed up with OnePlus). And that'd be OK — a decent speaker deserves a decent eq, we suppose — if the damned app wasn't preloaded without proper adjustments for the 7840's high-resolution display. And it's sporting a legacy menu button that hides nothing more than an About screen. And you can't hide the shortcuts for it that live in the notification area. Poor showing, Dell.

Also on the app front is Dell Cast — think a proprietary, $80 businessy solution for mirroring the tablet UI that you basically could do with a $30 Chromecast that I have absolutely no intention of using.

Dell's not done a bad job with the software here — it's just that it feels like an odd mix of consumer- and commercial-grade stuff. There's a very nicely done "My Dell" diagnostic app that shows you information about your tablet all in one place — storage info, battery charge (including voltage and temperature!), CPU and RAM performance, etc. There also are 10 "advanced checks that test things the light sensor and audio output and help check the display for dead pixels. Cool stuff, but if you have to have an entire consumer-facing app for that sort of thing it makes us wonder just a little about longevity. (There's also a "Quick Check" button that'll run through those things for you.)

Dell Venue 8 7840 cameras

Four cameras make for some interesting 3D-esque shooting

Dell Venue 8 7840 — the bottom line

A mostly fun but quirky $400 tablet

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