Dell has officially announced the Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet, reviving an old family name with the launch of two tablets at 8 and 10.8 inches. The smaller of the two models was first seen at IDF 2013, but we got the chance to play with a pre-production sample in London before the launch.
In the hand this model is nice and compact. It's easily manageable, meaning that it really will put Windows 8.1 in your pocket. The tablet we had was pre-production so some aspects might change by the time it hits the shelves, but there isn't too much about the design that's really distinctive. The plastic back feels firm enough, but like so many tablets out there - both Windows and Android - it doesn't wow as soon as you pick it up.
We do appreciate the dimensions however. At 8.9mm thick, this tablet isn't going to hog a huge space in your bag. We don't have the official dimensions or weight, but it was comfortable to hold, with those curved back edges being nice to grip.
The display on the front is IPS, measuring 8-inches across the diagonal and offering bright colours and good viewing angles. It's difficult to judge the exact performance of the display as the model we had wasn't final and the software seemed to be struggling at times, so it's not really fair to judge it.
The display supports the active stylus accessory, so if you want to sketch or scribble notes, then you're good to go.
There's a Windows button on the left-hand side, along with the 3.5mm headphone socket; across the top you get volume controls as well as access to the microSD card slot for storage expansion, along with the power button and the Micro-USB socket.
There's a 5-megapixel camera on the rear, as well as a front-facing sensor, so you're all set for taking photos, although unfortunately we couldn't get the cameras to work on the model we sampled.
The Dell Venue 8 Pro will come with Windows 8.1 at launch and will be powered by Intel Atom "Bay Trail" processors. There will be the option for adding HSPA+ so you're always connected, in addition to the normal Wi-Fi.
For those looking at the Venue 8 Pro as a busniess tool, it is fully enterprise supported by Dell, as well as offering TPM security.
The Dell Venue 8 Pro will be available from 17 November, prices are still to be confirmed.