Dell's revamped Venue 8 tablet packs a sharper display, faster performance and longer battery life than last year's version. The updated 8-inch Android slate is a follow-up to the original Dell Venue 8, which launched last fall. In addition to better hardware, the device includes handy new software features and sells at an affordable $200. If you need a new Android slate for work, check out a full review of the 2014 version of Dell's Venue 8, or read on for three features that make it good for work.
The new Venue 8 packs better hardware than last year's model in almost every respect, including a sharper 1920 x 1200-pixel HD display, which offers sharper visuals than other 8-inch Android tablets in the $200 price range. That's a plus for business users, since a higher-resolution screen can show more content on the tablet's compact 8-inch display. The Venue 8 also has a dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, making it a bit speedier than last year's version. It's not as fast as competing slates like the ASUS MeMO Pad 8, but that tablet has a lower-res screen.
Dell packed some new productivity-boosting software into the refreshed Venue 8 tablet. That includes PocketCloud, a solid remote desktop app that lets you connect directly to your work PC, open and view apps, and run full desktop programs right on your tablet — as long as your computer is turned on and also running the PocketCloud client. Other software highlights include Miracast, which lets you share your device's screen over Wi-Fi with other tablets and computers, which can come in handy for business presentations. Buyers also receive 20GB of Dropbox space for a year, to ensure your important files and documents are accessible from anywhere.
Great hardware and useful software features are useless if your work slate is out of juice. The new Dell Venue 8 improves upon last year's model with pretty long battery life: In our tests, it ran for 7 hours and 57 minutes with continuous Web browsing. That's slightly longer than the small-tablet average of 7 hours and 50 minutes. Business users who demand the longest battery life possible would be better off with the MeMO Pad 8, however, which runs for 9 hours on a charge.