This tablet sports a 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel Z3580 Atom processor, which gives it top-of-the-line performance. This chip is part of what sets this device part from cheaper rivals.
No Dell Venue 8 7840 review would be complete without benchmarks. On GeekBench 3, Dell Venue 8 7840 scored a quite-respectable 2930. For comparison, the Apple iPad mini 3 scored a 2415, the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 AnyPen with Windows scored a 2280, and the 8-inch Toshiba Encore 2 Write earned a 2090. Another mid-size tablet with an OLED display, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4, scored a 2890.
This model has 2 GB of RAM, which is about average. Many low-cost tablets have half this much, which has a negative effect on performance, but other high-end models have 3 GB.
One of the few areas where the latest Venue 8 model is genuinely chintzy is internal storage, as it has just 16 GB, and only 9.8 GB of that is available to the user. This means those who want to carry around lots of music or video would be wise to invest in a high-capacity microSD card – this device support everything up to the new 200 GB one from SanDisk.
This tablet debuted running Google Android 4.4 KitKat, but Dell committed to an upgrade to Android 5.0 Lollipop.
UPDATE: The promised update to Android 5.0.2 has been released.
The Venue 8 (2015) includes all the software that Google bundles with this operating system, which has grown to quite a collection, with very useful apps like Chrome and Gmail, and more questionable ones like Play Games.
Dell included some additional third-party software, such as the My Dell app that tries to help diagnose problems with the tablet, and the Polaris Office productivity suite.
It’s important to note that not all Android software will run on the version of Android that Intel ported to run on its x86 processors. Most notably, at the time of this writing, Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint do not support the latest Venue 8.
UPDATE: Microsoft has has released versions of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint that will run on Android tablets with x86 processors.
Most tablet owners prefer to use a smartphone as their camera, but there is a sizable minority who prefer a larger device because a bigger viewfinder is so much easier to see. The 7840 is tailored for this group.
There are no less than three cameras on the back of this model, which, with the help of Intel’s RealSense technology, enable the device to be able to judge the distances between objects captured in pictures.
At this point, this seems more like a gimmick than anything actually useful, especially as it’s not very accurate. In our tests, the latest-generation Venue 8 was able to capture images and then accurately measure the distances between objects in the foreground, as well as measure the square footage of nearby areas, as long as one is willing to accept a rough approximation – roughly a 10% to 15% margin of error. That said, RealSense is very new, and it’s likely to improve with time.
The camera and its associated software can also be used to refocus pictures after they have been taken.
Just be aware, there is no flash, and performance of this camera isn’t especially good anywhere but in relatively bright lighting, so this tablet probably isn’t going to completely replace your phone for taking casual pictures.
There was a time that Intel processors meant good performance but terrible battery life, but that’s a thing of the past. The Venue 8 7840 easily lasted a full day of nearly-continuous use on a single charge, or several days of more moderate use. It at least equals the battery life of the iPad mini 3.
In our tests, when connected to a 2.1A charger, it took about 3 hours for this Dell model to get a 50% charge. It took about 4.5 hours to go from a 20% charge to 100%. Connecting the tablet to a laptop for a “trickle” charge naturally resulting in a much longer process.