Dell Venue 11 Pro pictures and hands-on: Surface Pro 2 rival

The Dell Venue 11 Pro wants to be the Windows tablet that will do everything you need from a PC. Launched alongside an (almost) pocketable 8-inch version, we suspect that many will be looking at the Venue 11 Pro in the same way they look at the Surface Pro 2 or the Samsung Ativ models.

In the hand this tablet feels solid, but there's an interesting detail around the back, as you can pull off the cover to replace the battery inside. Dell says the battery will give you 10 hours of use, but given that the Venue 11 Pro can be specced out with anything from a Bay Trail Intel Atom processor to a Haswell Core i5, the battery life will be very much dependent on what you're asking this tablet to do.

The display is nice and vibrant, and measuring 10.8-inches on the diagonal, packing in a 1920 x 1080 resolution, meaning it's nice and sharp and suited to use both as a Windows 8.1 tablet or as a more traditional small format PC when paired with the accessory keyboards. It also supports an active stylus, so if you want to draw or sketch on the display that's no problem.

Not only does the Dell Venue 11 Pro offer power, but it's also well connected, with the option for storage expansion via SD, a full-sized HDMI and USB, so you'll be able to connect to peripherals or a larger display with minimal fuss.

First impressions of the Venue 11 Pro are good, although the pre-production sample we got to spend some time with can't really be judged as the final product, so we're yet to see how this beast will perform in the real world.

But we like the range of supporting accessories that Dell is also releasing which takes the tablet into proper hybrid PC mode. There's a proper keyboard dock that makes your tablet into a netbook. It connects easily and securely, seems well balanced and the keyboard offers a nice action.

Then there's a cover keyboard, but rather than being flat, the keys actually have some travel to them. It's a small amount, but it makes for a typing experience with a little more feedback. Close the cover and the tablet display switches off, which is nice and convenient, but we didn't think it fitted quite as neatly as we'd have liked  - although this might be down to pre-production status.

Finally there's a proper desk dock. It's good and solid and provides a range of connection options for a desk set-up.

The Dell Venue 11 Pro will be available from 7 November, starting at £349.