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Review Dell Venue 11 Pro Tablet

Florian Wimmer (translated by Bernie Pechlaner), 01/31/2014

Truly professional? The Dell Venue 11 Pro is a Windows tablet aimed at the business user. We take a look at the version with Core i3 processor to determine if it is indeed a suitable companion for the office.

Reviewed: Dell Venue 11 Pro, courtesy of Dell Germany.
Reviewed: Dell Venue 11 Pro, courtesy of Dell Germany.

For the original German review, see here.

The word "venue" is commonly used to describe a place where certain events or gatherings take place and as such is also used in the world of business. Dell's Venue tablets with Windows 8.1 are designed for the business user, although home users might find the devices interesting as well. The Venue 11 Pro reminds us a lot of Microsoft's Surface Pro 2, but with one key difference: while Microsoft sells its Surface Pro 2 only with a Core i5 processor and at a correspondingly higher sticker price, Dell offers choices and equips their tablet with either an Intel AtomIntel Core i3Intel PentiumIntel Core i5-4210Y or Intel Core i5-4300Y CPU. Our review model comes with an Intel Core i3-4020Y and carries a price tag of 689 Euros (~$940), which makes it a bit less expensive than Microsoft's offering.

Until very recently, the market did not offer any Windows tablets for professionals, but now there are many alternatives to Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 from other manufacturers. Panasonic's Toughpad FZ-G1 is incredibly expensive at 2800 Euros (~$3800), but can be used in nearly all environments as it is water resistant as well as dust proof. Not too long ago we reviewed the Sony Vaio Tap 11, the Toshiba WT310, and the Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro. We will also include Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 in our comparison. 

Case

Not an unusual, but nonetheless sturdy design.
Not an unusual, but nonetheless sturdy design.

When viewed from the front, the Dell Venue 11 Pro does not look different from any other Windows tablet: rounded corners, a Windows touch button in the middle of the bottom edge, and a webcam up top. A fairly wide bezel surrounds the display. At first glance, it might be difficult to distinguish the Dell Venue 11 Pro from the Surface Pro 2, but turning the tablet around reveals Dell's chrome logo and the slightly rubberized back, which minimizes slipping.

Dell's Venue has a back made from plastic, which gives the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 the edge here, as its case utilizes magnesium instead. The back is also not quite as sturdy as other designs, since the cover is removable which allow the user to access the hardware components. We will talk more about this in the section entitled "maintenance" a little later. Not ideal: while the back can be removed easily, we had a hard time re-attaching it after we had repeated the process several times. As it is typical for business devices, the overall design is fairly restrained, but blends nicely into nearly all environments.

Dell's claim to fame is certainly not a super-thin Windows 8 tablet: while the rounded corners make the Venue appear slimmer than it is, its thickness of 15.4 mm (~0.6 inches) means it is one of the heftier designs we have encountered. Sony's Vaio Tap 11, for example, is much slimmer at 10 mm (~0.4 inches). Dell's tablet is easy to hold, however, and fairly light at 800 grams (~1.8 pounds).

Connectivity

docking port is almost a must-have for Windows tablets, since the user will want to attach the tablet to a port replicator or to a keyboard dock while in the office. The Dell Venue 11 Pro is equipped as such and itself includes a full-sized USB 3.0, as well as a mini-HDMI port. The Venue's port selection is on par with its competitors, although there is also a Micro-USB connector, which is used to charge the tablet. The advantage is that most chargers can be used - even a laptop or PC. We should point out that charging the tablet this way can take quite a while depending on the power output of the charger. The physical buttons include the standby button on the right and a volume rocker switch on the left.

The card reader supports microSD cards with a capacity of up to 128 GB. That is very decent, since most officially support only 64 GB - even though some readers handle larger cards as well.

Top: fan opening
Top: fan opening
Right side: miniHDMI, microUSB, microSD card reader, speaker, standby button
Right side: miniHDMI, microUSB, microSD card reader, speaker, standby button
Left side: USB 3.0, speaker, volume rocker switch, 3.5 mm audio jack
Left side: USB 3.0, speaker, volume rocker switch, 3.5 mm audio jack
Bottom: docking port
Bottom: docking port

Communication

The Dell Venue 11 Pro supports many wireless technologies, including WLAN standards 802.11 a/g/n, WWAN (up to HSPA+)Bluetooth 4.0, and NFC. Even some more expensive tablets, like Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 for example, do not offer a WWAN module. A small catch: the SIM card provided is from o2 (a German telecommunications provider), although others can be used as well once the user has located the somewhat hidden slot next to the battery.

Ten meters (~33 feet) away from our router and through three walls, we still recorded a signal strength of 4/5 bars, which allows for speedy web browsing. The WWAN module also has decent reception: for our test, we ran a side-by-side comparison with the Samsung ATIV S and saw nearly identical signal strength, while web pages loaded quickly on both the smartphone and the tablet.

The more expensive Core i5 versions of the Venue 11 Pro can be configured with a WLAN module that supports the newer and faster standard 802.11 ac. The WWAN module of the US version also supports LTE, whereas the German version does not.

Security 

As far as the security features are concerned, the Venue 11 Pro supports most standards: there is an integrated Trusted Platform Module, which in turn is complemented by Dell's "Data Protection and Encryption" software to allow for a fair amount of security protective measures. Fingerprint sensors as well as smartcard readers are supported, but require external devices. 

Accessories

Dell offers a mobile tablet keyboard with additional battery as well as a keyboard cover (called the "Slim Tablet Keyboard") as optional accessories, which can be purchased during the ordering process, although this can be a bit confusing. When we simulated an order, we were not able to select either the keyboard with the battery or the digitizer pen.

An optional docking station is available for 137 Euros (~$190) and allows the tablet to connect to LAN networks, additional USB devices, and up to two monitors using HDMI and DisplayPort. Adapter cables for the mini-HDMI port cost between 14 and 17 Euros (~$19 - $27). Dell also has an HDTV adapter available for 66 Euros (~$90).

Cameras

The tablet comes equipped with both a rear-facing 8 Megapixel and a front-facing 2 Megapixel camera for video conferencing or the popular "selfies". The picture quality of the larger camera is decent, although photos are frequently underexposed and color noise is high. The front camera is susceptible to chromatic aberrations in addition to high color noise.

For most users, the average picture quality should not be an issue, since photography is not really the domain of an 11-inch tablet.

Rear-facing camera: 8 Megapixel
Rear-facing camera: 8 Megapixel
Front-facing camera: 2 Megapixel
Front-facing camera: 2 Megapixel
Reference camera: Canon EOS 450D (11 Megapixel)
Reference camera: Canon EOS 450D (11 Megapixel)

Maintenance

Maintenance is the one area where the Venue 11 Pro is a clear cut above the competition, as most Windows tablet do not allow the user to get to their hardware easily. The Venue is an exception: no tools are needed to take off the plastic rear cover to access the battery, the SIM card, the SSD, the WWAN module, and - at least in theory - the processor.

The battery is removable - great when it comes time to swap out or replace it. The SSD module is attached with a single screw, so replacement is also possible. Since this requires a gentle touch, we would only recommend this procedure to more experienced users.

All things considered, the Venue 11 Pro is truly innovative and no other tablet's hardware is quite as accessible.

The back is a cinch to take off and the components are easy to access ...
The back is a cinch to take off and the components are easy to access ...
... and even the battery can be replaced.
... and even the battery can be replaced.

Warranty

Those who are familiar with Dell know that the company offers many different ways to customize the warranty. One year of standard warranty does not sound like much, but at least that includes pick-up and return service. An extension to three years costs 67 Euros (~$90) and in-home service for three years about 150 Euros (~$205). For an additional 50 Euros (~$70), Dell will replace the battery free of charge for three years when the old one has lost most of its capacity. Accidental damage protection and "keep your hard drive" can also be purchased for up to one year.

Input Devices

Keyboard

All Windows tablets offer a virtual keyboard and the Venue 11 Pro is no different. Thanks to the size of the display, the keys are adequately large even when the tablet is in portrait mode, although we had some issues at times with the keyboard not popping up when we needed it to. In this case, the keyboard cover with its physical chiclet-style keys might be a better option. Unlike Microsoft's touch cover, the keys actually can be physically depressed, although travel is very shallow.

Typing on the keyboard takes some getting used to, since it is not that easy initially to determine at what point a key stroke registers. The size of the keys is adequate at 14 mm, as is the distance between the keys at 3 mm. The keyboard also offers a row of function keys and a touchpad.

Touchpad

The touchpad is very wide, but not that deep. Given its size of 90 x 45 mm (~3.5 x 1.8 inches), the aspect ratio is closer to 2:1 than to 16:9 - but we still were able to move the pointer across the screen most of the time without having to reposition the finger. The integrated mouse buttons register clicks over the entire surface - depressing the touchpad anywhere on the left side constitutes a left click and vice versa. The right side seems to work better than the left in this regard, although we did find some areas where the touchpad did not react to clicks at all. In addition, the keyboard needs to be on a completely flat surface, otherwise clicks might not register. In our opinion, the ClickPad could also do with a little more travel.

Touchscreen

The capacitive touchscreen recognizes up to ten fingers at the same time. Multi-touch gestures like zooming or three-finger swipes to return to the previous page worked without issues. The touchpad functions reliably: the surface allows the fingers to glide easily and inputs are recognized even towards the very edges and in the corners. A digitizer pen can also be used, although our review model did not come with one so we could not test the functionality.

Keyboard ...
Keyboard ...
... as well as the touchpad integrated into the keyboard cover.
... as well as the touchpad integrated into the keyboard cover.

Display

The display has an aspect ratio of 16:9 and supports Full HD (1920x1080 pixels). Due to the IPS technology, viewing angle stability is superb. The average display brightness of 369.7 cd/m² compares well to the Surface Pro 2, but falls way short of the Panasonic Toughpad FZ G1. Since the Venue 11 Pro was not designed to be primarily used outdoors, this is not a major issue. The brightness distribution is decent at 85%, but large white surfaces can look a little uneven to the naked eye.

353
cd/m²
355
cd/m²
371
cd/m²
364
cd/m²
409
cd/m²
390
cd/m²
347
cd/m²
368
cd/m²
370
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 409 cd/m²
Average: 369.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 85 %
Center on Battery: 409 cd/m²
Black: 0.45 cd/m²
Contrast: 909:1
Dell Venue 11 Pro vs. sRGB
Dell Venue 11 Pro vs. sRGB
Dell Venue 11 Pro vs. Adobe RGB
Dell Venue 11 Pro vs. Adobe RGB

The contrast ratio of 909:1 is quite decent. Colors are bright, although not quite as vivid as we have seen with some other displays. The black value of 0.45 cd/m² means that blacks are very dark and do not degrade to a gray instead.

Our analysis with a colorimeter and the software CalMAN shows that the darker gray levels and black are closest to their respective optimum reference values. Lighter grays deviate quite a bit more. Reds are decidedly under saturated, whereas greens are not. Lighter tones have a greenish hue, and yellows and browns look somewhat unnatural. Overall, photos look a little too cool and skin tones somewhat unnatural.

The display is able to reproduce about 3/4 of the sRGB color space; AdobeRGB is covered to a much lesser extent. Professionals looking for a highly accurate display need to look elsewhere - although the other tablets mentioned do not fit the bill, either.

CalMAN: Color Accuracy
CalMAN: Color Accuracy
CalMAN: Graylevels
CalMAN: Graylevels
CalMAN: Saturation
CalMAN: Saturation

The Panasonic Toughpad FZ G1 is suited much better for outdoor use than the Dell Venue 11 Pro, as the former has almost twice the brightness and a non-glare panel to boot. The review tablet's reflective display causes issues not only in direct sunlight, but also on cloudy days, as it can be quite difficult to decipher the screen content. In the shade or inside we did not have any issues with readability, however.

Viewing angle stability is close to perfect due to the IPS technology. We were able to recognize the content, even at extremely shallow angles from above and below as well as side-to-side.

Outdoor use
Outdoor use
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

The Dell Venue 11 Pro can be configured in many different ways. In particular, Dell offers a variety of CPU choices, which influence performance and determine the price to a very large extent. Our review tablet is powerful enough to handle the daily workload of a variety of office-specific applications. The faster Core i5 processors are of course more suitable for users needing to perform more advanced and demanding tasks.

CPU Z: CPU
CPU Z: CPU
CPU Z: Caches
CPU Z: Caches
CPU Z: Mainboard
CPU Z: Mainboard
CPU Z: Memory
CPU Z: Memory
GPU Z: Graphics Card
GPU Z: Graphics Card
GPU Z: Sensors
GPU Z: Sensors
HD Tune
HD Tune
AS SSD
AS SSD
System information Dell Venue 11 Pro

Processor

As we mentioned earlier, Dell offers quite a few processor choices for the Venue 11 Pro, ranging from an Intel Atom and Pentium to a Core i3 and Core i5. Our review tablet is configured with the middle-of-the-road CPU, a dual-core, 1.5 GHz Intel Core i3-4020Y. Since Hyperthreading is also on board, the processor can handle four threads at the same time, although Turbo Boost is not supported. 

The processor had no issues with Windows 8 and we were able to get through our workday without any performance problems. The Venue 11 Pro does not handle video encoding and RAW-file photo editing as well as the Surface Pro 2, however. According to the Cinebench R11.5 benchmark test, the review tablet lags behind by 63 - 84%.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
1001
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
4495
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
1991
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
2615 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
4701 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
4322 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
0.62 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
1.54 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
11.49 fps
Help
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
1.54 Points ∼9%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
1.5 Points ∼9% -3%
Toshiba WT310
1.81 Points ∼10% +18%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
2.5 Points ∼14% +62%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
2.51 Points ∼14% +63%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
2.69 Points ∼15% +75%
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
0.62 Points ∼31%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
0.85 Points ∼43% +37%
Toshiba WT310
0.84 Points ∼42% +35%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
1.09 Points ∼55% +76%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
1.14 Points ∼57% +84%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
1.19 Points ∼60% +92%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
4701 Points ∼13%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
6072 Points ∼17% +29%
Toshiba WT310
6833 Points ∼19% +45%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
9620 Points ∼27% +105%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
10011 Points ∼28% +113%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
10160 Points ∼29% +116%
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
2615 Points ∼31%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
3628 Points ∼43% +39%
Toshiba WT310
3479 Points ∼41% +33%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
4709 Points ∼55% +80%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
5038 Points ∼59% +93%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
5027 Points ∼59% +92%

Legend

 
Dell Venue 11 Pro Intel Core i3-4020Y, Intel HD Graphics 4200, 128 GB SATA SSD
 
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B Intel Core i5-4210Y, Intel HD Graphics 4200, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
 
Toshiba WT310 Intel Core i5-3339Y, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Toshiba THNSNF128GMCS
 
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro Intel Core i5-3337U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, 128 GB SATA SSD
 
Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
 
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 Intel Core i5-3437U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Toshiba THNSNF128GMCS

System Performance

The stress test confirms GPU throttling.
The stress test confirms GPU throttling.

The sub-tests of the PCMark 7 benchmark confirm the aforementioned observation: when subjected to easy tasks ("Lightweight" sub score), the difference between the review tablet and the Surface Pro 2 is only about 31%, which is quite a bit less than what we observed during the "Creativity" sub-test, which includes video and photo editing. Users mainly concerned with word processing, spreadsheets, or presentations, should be quite happy with our configuration - especially considering that both the 4 GB of DDR3 RAM and the 128 GB SSD are the largest configurations possible.

During our stress test, we run FurMark and Prime95 in parallel for at least one hour. The GPU dropped to 400 MHz fairly quickly, which constitutes a 50% drop in performance. The processor did not have any such issues. To confirm, we ran Cinebench R11.5 immediately after the stress test: the results for the CPU are identical, whereas the GPU section of the benchmark test concluded with about half the points.

PC Mark
PCMark 73843 points
PCMark 8 Home2106 points
Help
PCMark 7
Score (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
3843 Points ∼58%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
3661 Points ∼55% -5%
Toshiba WT310
3820 Points ∼58% -1%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
3906 Points ∼59% +2%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
4148 Points ∼63% +8%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
4808 Points ∼73% +25%
Lightweight (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
2473 Points ∼37%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
2758 Points ∼41% +12%
Toshiba WT310
2744 Points ∼41% +11%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
2804 Points ∼42% +13%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
3299 Points ∼49% +33%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
3235 Points ∼48% +31%
Productivity (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
1726 Points ∼16%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
1961 Points ∼18% +14%
Toshiba WT310
2038 Points ∼19% +18%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
2016 Points ∼19% +17%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
2422 Points ∼22% +40%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
2322 Points ∼21% +35%
Entertainment (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
7243 Points ∼68%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
2482 Points ∼23% -66%
Toshiba WT310
2641 Points ∼25% -64%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
2931 Points ∼27% -60%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
2461 Points ∼23% -66%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
3560 Points ∼33% -51%
Creativity (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
2843 Points ∼25%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
7253 Points ∼63% +155%
Toshiba WT310
7478 Points ∼65% +163%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
7423 Points ∼64% +161%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
8423 Points ∼73% +196%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
9185 Points ∼80% +223%
Computation (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
10113 Points ∼36%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
8724 Points ∼31% -14%
Toshiba WT310
10774 Points ∼38% +7%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
12333 Points ∼44% +22%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
11901 Points ∼42% +18%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
15509 Points ∼55% +53%
System Storage (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
5066 Points ∼71%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
5259 Points ∼74% +4%
Toshiba WT310
5238 Points ∼73% +3%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
4599 Points ∼64% -9%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
5382 Points ∼75% +6%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
5114 Points ∼72% +1%

Storage Devices

The SanDisk mSATA SSD (accessible after taking off the back cover) offers a capacity of 128 GB with 111 GB available after the initial Windows configuration. The average transfer rate of 325.3 MB/s is quite decent - only the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 has a higher transfer rate. According to AS SSD, this particular SSD ranks more towards the lower middle tier, however. We were quite pleased with the performance during our time with the tablet and copied some larger data files more or less instantaneously. Programs started smoothly and without delay.

128 GB SATA SSD
Transfer Rate Minimum: 143.8 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 406.2 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 325.3 MB/s
Access Time: 0.1 ms
Burst Rate: 53.5 MB/s
CPU Usage: 10.4 %
AS SSD
Score Read (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
311 Points ∼38%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
207 Points ∼25% -33%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
391 Points ∼47% +26%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
399 Points ∼48% +28%
Toshiba WT310
402 Points ∼49% +29%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
405 Points ∼49% +30%
Score Write (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
197 Points ∼29%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
93 Points ∼14% -53%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
258 Points ∼38% +31%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
198 Points ∼29% +1%
Toshiba WT310
196 Points ∼29% -1%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
356 Points ∼52% +81%
Score Total (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
656 Points ∼34%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
404 Points ∼21% -38%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
844 Points ∼44% +29%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
802 Points ∼42% +22%
Toshiba WT310
802 Points ∼42% +22%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
964 Points ∼50% +47%
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
Read 4k QD32 (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
142.4 MB/s ∼26%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
125.4 MB/s ∼23% -12%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
248 MB/s ∼45% +74%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
339.8 MB/s ∼61% +139%
Toshiba WT310
300.3 MB/s ∼54% +111%
Write 4k QD32 (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
109 MB/s ∼20%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
65.37 MB/s ∼12% -40%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
214.3 MB/s ∼39% +97%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
155.5 MB/s ∼28% +43%
Toshiba WT310
110.1 MB/s ∼20% +1%

GPU Performance

Theoretically, the Intel HD Graphics 4200 should have a performance advantage over the HD Graphics 4000 GPU, which is still used in many competing tablets. Because of the slower CPU, the 3DMark benchmarks did not quite confirm this assumption and the competition generally scored higher than our review tablet.

3D Mark
3DMark 11509 points
3DMark Ice Storm21733 points
3DMark Cloud Gate2449 points
3DMark Fire Strike261 points
Help
3DMark (2013)
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
21733 Points ∼13%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
20149 Points ∼13% -7%
Toshiba WT310
21706 Points ∼13% 0%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
27991 Points ∼17% +29%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
29044 Points ∼18% +34%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
41415 Points ∼26% +91%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
2449 Points ∼9%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
2471 Points ∼9% +1%
Toshiba WT310
2582 Points ∼9% +5%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
3081 Points ∼11% +26%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
3476 Points ∼13% +42%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
4514 Points ∼16% +84%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Standard Score (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
261 Points ∼2%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
273 Points ∼3% +5%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
407 Points ∼4% +56%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
483 Points ∼5% +85%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
648 Points ∼6% +148%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
509 Points ∼3%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
651 Points ∼4% +28%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
991 Points ∼5% +95%

Gaming Performance

Not all Windows tablets can handle more than casual gaming and the Dell Venue 11 Pro is no exception. Somewhat current 3D games like Tomb Raider do not run smoothly even with the details set to low.

low med.high ultra
Anno 2070 (2011) 2114fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 25fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 2615fps

Emissions

System Noise

At least the Core i3-4020Y-equipped version of the Dell Venue 11 Pro is very quiet. Although the fan is running at all times, the tablet is pretty much inaudible while at idle at 29.6 dB(A). Subjected to full load, the noise increases to 37.5 dB(A), which is quite a bit louder than the Surface Pro 2, but not nearly as loud as the other comparable tablets.

Noise Level

Idle 29.6 / 29.6 / 29.6 dB(A)
Load 37.5 / 37.5 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

The maximum-recorded surface temperature of 44 degrees C (111.2 °F) is about average. The Microsoft Surface Pro 2 gets nearly as warm, the Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 runs quite a bit hotter at 50 degrees C (122 °F), while the Toshiba WT310 runs cooler at 41 degrees C (105.8 °F). Even at 44 degrees C (111.2 °F), we had no issues holding the tablet in our hands. During idle, the temperature is quite a bit lower at 37.2 degrees C (98.96 °F). Dell did a good job here, but some competitors utilize more powerful processors, but still run even cooler.

 31.9 °C32.6 °C31.7 °C 
 30.5 °C30.9 °C29.1 °C 
 30.1 °C30.8 °C28.7 °C 
Maximum: 32.6 °C
Average: 30.7 °C
31.6 °C37.2 °C36.4 °C
28.6 °C31.3 °C29 °C
28.1 °C28.3 °C28.5 °C
Maximum: 37.2 °C
Average: 31 °C
Power Supply (max.)  30.1 °C | Room Temperature 23.8 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

One speaker on the left, one on the right. The sound quality is very good.
One speaker on the left, one on the right. The sound quality is very good.

The stereo speakers are housed on the left and right and are not normally obstructed when holding the tablet. The maximum volume is adequately loud and thankfully, distortions are not an issue. Although the sound is decent, larger orchestras can sound rather mushy.

The speakers are sufficient for watching a movie or even listening to music - enthusiasts are not going to be happy though, despite the SRS Premium Audio Software, which enhances the sound.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The Dell Venue 11 Pro does very well as far as its power requirements are concerned, since the Core i3-4020Y is very frugal and only consumes 6.1 Watts during idleMicrosoft's Surface Pro 2 matches this, but the Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro needs almost twice as much. Under full load, the Venue 11 Pro is more of a power-miser than the competition and consumes a maximum of 22.1 Watts. The Toshiba WT 310 is not above that with 24.3 Watts, but Microsoft's Surface 2 Pro needs almost twice as much at 43.5 Watts. The battery life should definitely benefit from these modest power needs.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.1 / 1.3 Watt
Idle 2.9 / 6.1 / 7.4 Watt
Load 21.1 / 22.1 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

Lower power requirements, but a much smaller battery (34 Wh) than the Surface Pro 2: the battery life of the Dell Venue 11 Pro is on par with Microsoft's offering, although it outlasts the Surface Pro 2 by 21 minutes under load with a result of 2 hours and 3 minutes. The battery life is just sufficient for the average workday, as the tablet lasts for 6 hours and 42 minutes during the WLAN test. Compared to the competition, this score is about average. 

Overall a decent, but not stellar result. Since a larger battery is not offered, the more powerful version with the Core i5 processor will probably suffer from an even shorter battery life.

Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
762 min ∼28%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
724 min ∼27%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
608 min ∼23%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
446 min ∼17%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
702 min ∼26%
Load (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
123 min ∼5%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
102 min ∼4%
Toshiba WT310
116 min ∼4%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
128 min ∼5%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
124 min ∼5%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
171 min ∼6%
WiFi (sort by value)
Dell Venue 11 Pro
402 min ∼15%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
387 min ∼14%
Toshiba WT310
241 min ∼9%
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
529 min ∼20%
Sony Vaio Tap 11 SVT-1121G4E/B
313 min ∼12%
Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160 Pro
524 min ∼19%
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
12h 42min
WiFi Surfing
6h 42min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 03min

Verdict

The Dell Venue Pro 11 is a well-rounded and decent Windows tablet.
The Dell Venue Pro 11 is a well-rounded and decent Windows tablet.

Dell does quite a few things differently and some quite well with the Venue 11 Pro. The Windows tablet is easy to open to access the components or to change the battery - no other tablet in our comparison offers this level of accessibility. The case utilizes plastic for its construction, but is sturdy and easy to hold.

We appreciate the fact that the price includes mobile Internet, although the preinstalled SIM card is from advertising partner o2 in an attempt to sway the user to sign up for a contract with that particular provider. It is a shame that an LTE module is not an option in the German market, but there is nothing that we can do other than accept this fact. The tablet only gets moderately warm, remains very quiet, and comes equipped with a decent display. Depending on personal preference, the keyboard cover is either a usable alternative or just an emergency solution. Touch typists are probably better off with a Bluetooth or USB keyboard.

Let us talk about the negative aspects. Due to the way the display is calibrated, skin colors have a greenish hue and look quite unnatural. The back gives slightly when pressure is applied. The speakers are decent, but do not offer eye-opening sound quality. The case design is all plastic and (at least in this price segment) a step behind the competition as far as haptics are concerned.

Overall, the Dell Venue 11 Pro is quite a decent Windows tablet. Considering that Microsoft does not offer WWAN, the lower price is even more appealing - as long as the lower performance of the i3 processor is not an issue. Users who work on construction sites or those needing a bright display should take a look at the Panasonic Toughpad FZ G1, which is the best choice for the above scenarios. Those looking for something similar to Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 with WWAN and replaceable battery should definitely look at the Venue 11 Pro, since there is not really another alternative out there at the moment.

The Dell Venue 11 Pro is now available on Adorama for $549.99

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In Review: Dell Venue 11 Pro, courtesy of Dell Germany.
In Review: Dell Venue 11 Pro, courtesy of Dell Germany.
The Dell Venue 11 Pro is now available on Adorama for $549.99

Specifications

Dell Venue 11 Pro

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Haswell-ULT
:: Memory
4096 MB, DDR3-1600
:: Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 4200, Core: 850 MHz, igdumdim64 10.18.10.3316 / Win8.1 64
:: Display
10.8 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, Capacitive touchscreen, IPS, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
128 GB SATA SSD, 128 GB , 111 GB free
:: Soundcard
Realtek High Definition Audio
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0, 1 HDMI, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm headphone jack, Card Reader: micro-SD up to 128 GByte, Sensors: Compass, gyroscope, position, acceleration, tilt, light sensor, NFC
:: Networking
Dell 1390 WLAN Mini-Card (g ), 4.0 Bluetooth, Dell Wireless (Sierra Wireless) 5570E (3G/HSPA+)
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 15.4 x 297.7 x 176.8
:: Weight
1.5 kg Power Supply: 0.048 kg
:: Battery
36 Wh Lithium-Ion
:: Price
700 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 Pro 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: Rear: 8 MP, Front: 2 MP, Speakers: Stereo speakers with SRS Premium Audio, Keyboard: Virtual keyboard, Chiclet keyboard cover, 12 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
The Dell Venue 11 Pro appeals to business users who like versatility.
The Dell Venue 11 Pro appeals to business users who like versatility.
It's not easy to distinguish Windows tablets from the front.
It's not easy to distinguish Windows tablets from the front.
The small webcam for video conferencing...
The small webcam for video conferencing...
...offers low picture quality.
...offers low picture quality.
The power button launches Windows 8.1.
The power button launches Windows 8.1.
Not ideal: a tool is needed to open the SD cover. Practical: the tablet can be charged via the USB cable.
Not ideal: a tool is needed to open the SD cover. Practical: the tablet can be charged via the USB cable.
A full-sized USB 3.0 port is also on board.
A full-sized USB 3.0 port is also on board.
And of course there's audio-out.
And of course there's audio-out.
Four slots in the upper section cool the pretty powerful components.
Four slots in the upper section cool the pretty powerful components.
Just a few steps are required to take off the back.
Just a few steps are required to take off the back.
A look at the inside.
A look at the inside.
Once the battery is removed, the SIM card slot is accessible.
Once the battery is removed, the SIM card slot is accessible.
What is that? Dell includes a SIM card as an advertising gimmick.
What is that? Dell includes a SIM card as an advertising gimmick.
In theory, the SSD is removable, too.
In theory, the SSD is removable, too.
The WWAN module is accessible as well.
The WWAN module is accessible as well.
Underneath: the CPU, which is hard to get to.
Underneath: the CPU, which is hard to get to.
The docking port on the bottom allows for the connection of various peripherals.
The docking port on the bottom allows for the connection of various peripherals.
Our review tablet is equipped with the Core i3-4020Y.
Our review tablet is equipped with the Core i3-4020Y.
The rear-facing camera is an 8 MP model and capable of decent pictures.
The rear-facing camera is an 8 MP model and capable of decent pictures.
Dell also offers a keyboard cover.
Dell also offers a keyboard cover.
A touchpad is integrated.
A touchpad is integrated.
There is also a keyboard with an additional battery - but we didn't receive one for our review.
There is also a keyboard with an additional battery - but we didn't receive one for our review.
This symbol hints at that fact that NFC is included.
This symbol hints at that fact that NFC is included.
The case is made from plastic and fairly nondescript.
The case is made from plastic and fairly nondescript.
Sturdiness and build quality are decent.
Sturdiness and build quality are decent.
The round corners feel good when holding the tablet.
The round corners feel good when holding the tablet.
The keyboard included with the cover might be more for emergencies.
The keyboard included with the cover might be more for emergencies.
The touchpad is pretty wide, but not very deep.
The touchpad is pretty wide, but not very deep.
Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit is preinstalled.
Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit is preinstalled.
Is this Windows button the way of the future?
Is this Windows button the way of the future?
It depends on the expectations - but Dell's Venue 11 Pro is a solid Windows tablet.
It depends on the expectations - but Dell's Venue 11 Pro is a solid Windows tablet.

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Links

  • Manufacturer's Information

Price Comparison

Pro

+Price
+Case is easy to open
+Battery can be replaced
+Good touchscreen
+WWAN included
+Configurable
+Can be charged using the Micro USB cable
+Supports a digitizer pen
+Decent display...
 

Cons

-...with somewhat unnatural colors
-Plastic case design
-Back flexes a bit
-SIM with "ads"
-Tool needed to remove micro-SD
-Reflective display
-GPU throttling

Shortcut

What we like

That the Dell Venue 11 Pro easily allows access to its inside.

What we'd like to see

The display colors look unnatural and could be improved.

What surprises us

That nobody else offers a tablet with replaceable battery.

The competition

Microsoft Surface Pro 2, Panasonic Toughpad FZ G1, Toshiba WT310, Wortmann Terra Mobile Pad 1160, Sony Vaio Tap 11

Rating

Dell Venue 11 Pro
07/15/2014 v4
Florian Wimmer

Chassis
73 / 98 → 74%
Keyboard
62%
Pointing Device
74%
Connectivity
60 / 95 → 63%
Weight
78 / 78 → 100%
Battery
87%
Display
82%
Games Performance
45 / 85 → 53%
Application Performance
59%
Temperature
82%
Noise
93%
Audio
40%
Camera
40 / 85 → 47%
Average
67%
78%
Convertible *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review Dell Venue 11 Pro Tablet
Author: Florian Wimmer, 2014-01-31 (Update: 2014-02- 4)