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Dell Venue 11 Pro review

Verdict

Dell's Venue 11 Pro is a tablet to be reckoned with – but the accessories don't come cheap

Review Date: 20 Dec 2013

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £339 (£407 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

PCPRO A-List

Dell's business-focused tablet, the Venue Pro 11, is deceptive. It isn't as lithe as Nokia's Lumia 2520, nor as stylish as Apple's iPad Air, yet behind its mild-mannered exterior lies one of the most promising tablets we've seen. Boasting Windows 8.1, a Full HD display, generous connectivity and even a removable battery, the Venue 11 Pro is a serious contender. See also: what's the best laptop you can buy in 2014?

It would be easy to overlook the Dell's talents, though. The dowdy, 11mm-thick body is cast in a muted palette of black and grey, and it's only once you cradle the tablet in your hands that the build quality becomes evident. At 760g, it's no lightweight, but the plastic body feels reassuringly stout and well constructed.

Dell Venue 11 Pro

The Venue 11 Pro is unmatched for practicality. There's a mini-HDMI output; a 3.5mm headset jack; a full-sized USB 3 port; a volume rocker switch; and a Kensington lock slot.The rear panel pops off to allow access to the 32Wh battery, and in a welcome change from its predecessor, the Latitude 10, the Venue 11 Pro charges via micro-USB.

The centre of attention is the 10.8in, Full HD display. It's as good as any tablet display we've seen. The panel boosts right up to a maximum brightness of 508cd/m2 – more than enough for outdoor use – and the contrast ratio of 1,058:1 is excellent. What's more, Dell has calibrated the panel to provide an unusual level of colour accuracy. Every shade is deftly reproduced, and the panel covers almost the entire gamut of sRGB colour. With an average Delta E of 2.4, colour fidelity is bang on.

Dell Venue 11 Pro

Dell has equipped the most affordable Venue 11 Pro with an Intel Bay Trail Atom CPU. The quad-core 1.46GHz Atom Z3770 is aided by 2GB of DDR3 RAM and a 64GB eMMC (embedded multimedia card) drive, and this combination is surprisingly fleet of foot. Startup and application load times are swift, and the Samsung-made eMMC drive is much faster than others we've encountered. Sequential read and write speeds of 151MB/sec and 50MB/sec respectively in the AS SSD benchmark are respectable.

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User comments

The active stylus makes this look interesting. I have the T100 and it is frustrating to try to take notes with a stylus on it. The Dell is pricier and heavier, but still looks very good value given the better spec - full hd, 64Gb. Hopefully, the accessories may come down in price or get bundled into a deal.

By mypointis on 20 Dec 2013

Had one since came out December 8th and very pleased with it. Excellent choice of touch on screen keyboards and very quick and responsive, even our old DOS programs.

By cthompsonmcs on 23 Dec 2013

Note Taking

Does anyone know whether the Venue 11 Pro recognises hand written notes as well as the Surface Pro 2. PCPRo Review doesn't mention it in this review but it does mention it in the Surface Pro Review. Happy Christmass

By clerknholyo on 24 Dec 2013

Probably

because the Surface Pro 2 comes with a pen and the Venue doesn't.

That said, I have a Samsung ATIV tablet and the handwriting recognition is excellent, even if the included pen is a little on the sort side.

By big_D on 27 Dec 2013

Accessories

I can only comment on these as I've got the accessories but not the tablet yet! I've specified the highest spec Core i5 version with mobile/3G so I think they've had delivery delays on these.

I have to say that even though the additional dock, keyboard etc are quite expensive they I'm very impressed with the quality. The docking station is very well made, cast metal. So impressed so far!

By jonathand on 7 Jan 2014

Excellent Tablet

I have had a Venue 11 since just before Christmas and it is an excellent tablet. I have the Core i5 which is a tablet/laptop/desktop replacement since it has a USB port and HDMI output. It is an excellent machine, but unfortunately has developed a hardware fault. Dell immediately offered to replace it, so now I have to wait a while before I can turn the Apple fanboys green with envy.

By markwh3 on 14 Jan 2014

Excellent Tablet

I have had a Venue 11 since just before Christmas and it is an excellent tablet. I have the Core i5 which is a tablet/laptop/desktop replacement since it has a USB port and HDMI output. It is an excellent machine, but unfortunately has developed a hardware fault. Dell immediately offered to replace it, so now I have to wait a while before I can turn the Apple fanboys green with envy.

By markwh3 on 14 Jan 2014

Great performance and 3/4G too!

Been using mine (Core i5 with mobile broadband) as a desktop replacement for a few weeks, and its excellent. It definitely does it all and mobile on EE is seemingly better than it was on my iPad.

I'd be interested in a review of the higher end models and to see benchmarks. Its seems good enough to me for normal office use, including Photoshop types duties.

I just need to try the other keyboard and get a pen too now to see how those work out.

By jonathand on 23 Jan 2014

Screen size?

11.6" according to the podcast. Pleasantly surprised they haven't rounded the model name up.

By Mark_Thompson on 2 Feb 2014

Unusable product

I purchased a Venue 11 Pro for my wife along with the portable keyboard and a docking station. I wanted her to be able to have a portable tablet for email, simple games, and e-reading that could also function as computer for word documents, powerpoint, etc. The Venue sounded like a good choice. But we have had the freezing problems discussed here
http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/mobile
-devices/f/4586/t/19535987.aspx?pi239031352=1#2050
8724
They are so bad it makes the tablet unusuable. Sometimes it pauses, with the machine clearly operable but with the application or photo or whatever taking 30 seconds or longer to load. My criteria is that it should work as well as my phone and it doesn't come close. Other times it freezes completely. The battery drains overnight. They keyboard does not always function. We are not always able to log in even. First I thought it was us not being familiar with Windows 8 and my wife not being technical. Then I worked with Dell support and did a Reset (wiped it clean). No luck. Then I asked for a refund - too late. Then I asked for a replacement - too late. Then I asked for a repair - no spare parts so they won't even try it. No chance I will ever buy a Dell product again.

By HammerinHank on 20 Feb 2014

Unusable product

I purchased a Venue 11 Pro for my wife along with the portable keyboard and a docking station. I wanted her to be able to have a portable tablet for email, simple games, and e-reading that could also function as computer for word documents, powerpoint, etc. The Venue sounded like a good choice. But we have had the freezing problems discussed here
http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/mobile
-devices/f/4586/t/19535987.aspx?pi239031352=1#2050
8724
They are so bad it makes the tablet unusuable. Sometimes it pauses, with the machine clearly operable but with the application or photo or whatever taking 30 seconds or longer to load. My criteria is that it should work as well as my phone and it doesn't come close. Other times it freezes completely. The battery drains overnight. They keyboard does not always function. We are not always able to log in even. First I thought it was us not being familiar with Windows 8 and my wife not being technical. Then I worked with Dell support and did a Reset (wiped it clean). No luck. Then I asked for a refund - too late. Then I asked for a replacement - too late. Then I asked for a repair - no spare parts so they won't even try it. No chance I will ever buy a Dell product again.

By HammerinHank on 20 Feb 2014

Unusable product

I purchased a Venue 11 Pro for my wife along with the portable keyboard and a docking station. I wanted her to be able to have a portable tablet for email, simple games, and e-reading that could also function as computer for word documents, powerpoint, etc. The Venue sounded like a good choice. But we have had the freezing problems discussed here
http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/mobile
-devices/f/4586/t/19535987.aspx?pi239031352=1#2050
8724
They are so bad it makes the tablet unusuable. Sometimes it pauses, with the machine clearly operable but with the application or photo or whatever taking 30 seconds or longer to load. My criteria is that it should work as well as my phone and it doesn't come close. Other times it freezes completely. The battery drains overnight. They keyboard does not always function. We are not always able to log in even. First I thought it was us not being familiar with Windows 8 and my wife not being technical. Then I worked with Dell support and did a Reset (wiped it clean). No luck. Then I asked for a refund - too late. Then I asked for a replacement - too late. Then I asked for a repair - no spare parts so they won't even try it. No chance I will ever buy a Dell product again.

By HammerinHank on 20 Feb 2014

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