Dell Venue 8 Pro Hands On - 011

Dell introduced two new Windows 8.1 tablets today, vying for a full version of Microsofts latest desktop OS over the relatively unpopular Windows RT variant. The 8-inch slate is set to launch on Oct. 18 in the U.S. for $299, while the Venue 11 Pro, which actually measures just 10.8-inches across, launches in the U.K. starting Nov. 7 with no U.S. release date or price announced. We had a chance to get our hands on both new devices, check it out!

Dell Venue 8 Pro

The first thing we noticed about this 8-inch Windows device is the textured back panel, which offers a great grip and feels good to the touch. The rest of the exterior features the standard volume rocker, Windows launch button and microSD slot as well as a 1280 x 800-pixel display, a 5-megapixel front camera, and a 1.2-megapixel front-facing shooter. Under the hood, it’s running a Intel quad-core processor clocked at 1.8GHz.

Dell is clearly targeting the business world with its line of Venue Pro tablets, but if you’re looking for a Windows 8.1 device you can fit into your pocket or purse then this is probably the device for you—especially since Microsoft still hasn’t developed a Surface Mini. It runs quickly and feels sturdy, though the glare on the screen was extremely noticeable in the sun-filled display room Dell had set up. If you decide to shell out $299 for the Venue 8 Pro don’t expect to use it out of the shade.

Dell Venue 11 Pro

This 10.8-inch Windows device is one of the biggest tablets around, offering a respectable 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution and a 2.4GHz quad-core processor. Customers can choose between a 32GB, 64GB, 128GB options, or a massive 256GB solid state drive, and the device also comes equipped with a 8-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel secondary shooter. On the outside it offers the same grip-friendly textured backing as the 8-inch version, but adds full-sized USB and HDMI ports.

The Venue 11 Pro definitely feels solid, though it may be a little too heavy when compared to Microsoft’s new Surface Pro 2. The screen on this tablet  doesn’t do very well on the sun either, giving off plenty of glare under indirect sunlight. We appreciate that the device includes a removable back panel, meaning you can swap out the removable battery if it runs out of charge, but until Dell reveals the price it’s hard to tell if this Windows slate is worth your money.

Altogether we’re not seeing anything ground-breaking from either tablet, though we’re going to reserve our final judgements until we have more time with both.