While generally a great mid-size Windows tablet, the Dell Venue 8 Pro has single micro-USB port, so it can’t be used with many peripherals while it’s being charged. The Vener8 is an accessory that takes care of this problem.
Build & Design
There are micro-USB ports on opposite sides, so current can be brought in from the Venue 8 Pro’s charging block, then passed on to the tablet with a short micro-USB extension cable. A green LED lights up to indicate that the accessory is getting power.
On one of the short ends is the full-size USB port that’s this product’s raison d’etre.
While it certainly doesn’t affect the functionality, the people behind the Vener8 are a bit too proud of their logo, and have printed a relatively huge version of it on this small accessory.
Using the Vener8 is straightforward. Set it up so there’s current running through it, and the full-size USB port is ready for use. Power must come from a wall socket or other external source, as the Venue 8 Pro cannot power this accessory.
The TabletPCReview test lab had no problem getting USB drives, a keyboard, and a mouse to work. And all three can be used simultaneously because the Vener8 supports USB hubs. But be aware: try to power too many peripherals at the same time and the tablet will stop charging.
Also, the order in which items are plugged in is important. If a USB accessory is already plugged into the Vener8 when the Vener8’s cable is plugged into the tablet, the tablet will not begin charging.
Some older accessories tested would not work at all. It’s not clear if this is an issue with Windows 8.1 and drivers, or possibly if the Vener8 isn’t capable of sending them enough power, or something else.
With the Vener8, it’s possible to turn the Dell Venue 8 Pro into a sort of mini-desktop for home of office use, with a full-size keyboard and mouse and even external drives.
The requirement that the accessory be plugged into an external power source limits its usefulness when on the go. Those planning to use an external keyboard and mouse while on airplanes, trains, or other places without easy access to electrical sockets would be better off with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.
It’s currently available for an introductory price of $29.95.