Want to conduct business on a smaller tablet? Dell's newest offering is a strong contender for the job.
Despite its small size, the Dell Venue 8 Pro boasts most of the functionality of its bigger brother, the Venue 11 Pro. In addition to a sharp, 8-inch display, the Venue 8 Pro features a snappy, quad-core processor and runs the full version of Windows 8.1, so it's compatible with all the Windows applications you already use to run your business.
This holiday season, the Venue 8 is up against Apple's refreshed iPad mini with Retina display, the most portable iPad ever, which also comes with a new, sharper display.
Both tablets are powerful and compact, with loads of productivity-boosting features for business users. Read on for a head-to-head comparison of the Venue 8 Pro and the iPad mini with Retina display.
Venue 8 Pro: Dell's tablet is undeniably the heftier device in this matchup. It features an 8-inch display that's just a bit bigger than the iPad mini's screen, and is notably heavier, at 0.87 pounds.
Still, it's highly portable and much smaller than Dell's Venue 11 Pro tablet.
The Venue 8 Pro features a 1280 x 800 pixel display that looks sharp but falls short of the "Retina" displays found in other new tablets, including the new iPad mini.
Dell's offering also features a high-quality build and a grippable micro-dimpled back for easier one-handed use, and its battery lasts an impressive 10 hours between charges.
Overall, the Venue 8 Pro is easily the most advanced 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet on the market.
iPad mini with Retina display: The 7.9-inch display on the new iPad mini, combined with its lightweight, 0.73-pound frame, makes this the most commuter-friendly iPad yet.
Apple also upgraded the display for the iPad mini's second iteration. The device now boasts a "Retina" screen, which means the tablet's individual pixels aren't visible from a normal viewing distance.
Apple says the new iPad mini can run for up to 10 hours between battery charges, putting it about on par with the long-lasting Venue 8 Pro. The new iPad mini also features the same slick, aluminum unibody design as its predecessor.
Speed and performance
Venue 8 Pro: Expect snappy performance from Dell's tablet. Under the hood, it packs a 1.8-GHz quad-core Intel Atom processor with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage.
It's far from the most powerful 8-inch tablet on the market, but it should fit the bill for business users who have only basic computing needs while on the go.
iPad mini with Retina display: When it comes to performance, the new iPad mini easily outclasses the Venue 8 Pro. Under the hood is Apple's A7 processor, the same chip found in the iPad Air. In fact, the iPad mini with Retina display is nearly identical to its bigger brother in every aspect except size.
The new mini is also the first sub-9-inch tablet with a 64-bit architecture. That means you can expect snappier email and Web browsing, and faster launching of your favorite productivity apps.
Keep in mind that it could be a few years before developers really exploit the tablet's 64-bit chipset, but rest easy knowing that the second-generation iPad mini is future-proof.
Venue 8 Pro: The Venue 8 Pro is one of just a few 8-inch tablets currently running the full version of Windows 8.1. That means it has all the functionality you've come to expect on a home or office PC.
If you rely on a specific piece of Windows software to keep your business running, and need quick access to that program when you're on the go, the Venue 8 Pro is a decent option.
The tablet even ships with Microsoft Office Home (including Word, Excel and PowerPoint) pre-installed.
Keep in mind that desktop Windows apps weren't designed to run on such a small touch screen, so they may be difficult to use unless you pair the tablet with a Bluetooth mouse. Otherwise, you're left with Microsoft's library of touch-optimized Windows 8 mobile apps, which is growing but still can't hold a candle to the offerings in Apple's App store.
The Windows Store does, however, cover all the basics. If you're looking for a good calendar app, or a popular productivity app such as Evernote, you're likely to find it.
iPad mini with Retina display: It's hard to top Apple's App Store when it comes to app support and availability. This store can match almost every offering in the Windows 8 store, and some popular business software, like the Kashoo accounting app, are exclusive to iOS.
If you're looking for a mobile Office alternative, the new iPad — along with all other new iOS devices — ships with a revamped version of Apple's iWork mobile office suite pre-installed. The software package includes three apps: Pages (word processor), Numbers (spreadsheet editor) and Keynote (presentation maker).
Like other iOS devices, the second-gen iPad mini runs on iOS 7, an update that includes a visual redesign as well as enticing features for small business owners.
The iWork mobile apps are fully integrated with Apple's desktop iWork applications, so users can transition seamlessly among devices.
Also new on iOS 7 is AirDrop, which lets users share files with a single tap. AirDrop-enabled apps make it easier to send documents, presentations, photos, videos and other files to a person or group via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. That feature makes the new iPad mini a good tool for group collaboration.
Venue 8 Pro: Dell's tablet launched with a wireless Bluetooth keyboard that also serves as a screen protector when folded up, but expect a cramped typing experience due to the tablet's small size. Bear in mind that if you want to use the Venue 8 Pro like a miniature laptop you'll also need to purchase Dell's folio case, which doubles as a kickstand.
A stylus is also sold separately for users who want to take handwritten notes.
iPad mini with Retina display: A variety of similarly cramped Bluetooth keyboard add-ons and kickstand cases are available for the new iPad mini, as are several stylus options.
Venue 8 Pro: The Venue 8 Pro retails at a mid-range price point of $299, making it a decent bargain for business users.
iPad mini with Retina display: Apple's smaller tablet is a premium device for a premium price. It starts at $399, just $100 cheaper than the larger iPad Air.
The Venue 8 Pro and iPad mini with Retina display are both good business devices that are easy to carry between the home and office — so long as you are comfortable working on a small screen.
Dell's Venue 8 Pro is the better option for consumers who absolutely need to run Windows 8 apps on an ultra-portable device.
The new iPad mini, meanwhile, is worth a look for business users who want the iOS experience in a small package.
The Venue 8 Pro is the most advanced 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet on the market.