I’ve just completed a detailed review of the Dell Venue 11 Pro 5130. This is the Atom-based version (there’s a Core-based version too) and it comes with 4GB of RAM, a full USB 3.0 port and the high-end, full 64-bit Z3795 CPU. The difference in usability between this and 2GB Z3745-style Windows 8 tablets was marked. Here’s a summary.
The Dell Venue range all have good screens with some of the blackest blacks in the Windows tablet market. The 5130 here has an impressively high max brightness too so the contrast is way over 1000:1. The 11. 8-inch 1920 x 1080 screen punches, but it’s also heavy and I found the 770 grams to be too heavy, especially as it’s a very wide tablet.
An updated Dell Venue 11 Pro 5150 (5130 in some areas) with a high-end Atom CPU, 64 Bit Windows and Full HD screen has appeared. This is the closest I’ve seen to the Microsoft Surface 3.
Dell Venue 11 Pro 515 with 64-bit Windows
The high-end Atom CPU is the Z3795 which has Turbo Boost to 2.4 Ghz, just as the Surface 3 does and seeing as the Atom X7 and Z3000 series have similar per-clock CPU power there shouldn’t be much difference in CPU-related benchmarks (<10% based on reports so far.) The X7 will probably pull clear with GPU benchmarks. SSD speeds will be close and there’s even a USB 3.0 port on the Dell. That’s rare for products based on the Z3000-series.
Click for the Dell USA sales page. [This is not an advert.]
64-bit Windows is important because it means the 64-bit bootloader is far more compatible with alternative Linux builds than the Z3xxx series products that only have 32-bit Windows bootloaders. It’s available, with a slim keyboard, for $499 in the USA – the price of the Surface 3 tablet, without keyboard. There’s a similar product available in Europe which also works out cheaper than the Surface 3.
Consider the following before ordering the Dell Venue 11 Pro 5150. Firstly I have requested a review sample of this product (and the Surface 3) so i’ll be able to update you on all the performance figures and answer questions with authority soon. In the meantime, consider the following:
10.8 inch screen on Dell is the same ‘size’ as the Surface 3 but the Surface 3 is a 3:2 ratio screen with 1920 x 1280 resolution. 200 more pixels in the vertical (landscape mode.)
Keyboard options on the Dell mean you can get a power-keyboard that is lap-able and includes an extra battery (for about 50% more battery life.) The keyboard weighs as much as the tablet though. The Slim Keyboard option has a fixed angle and no backlight. It weighs 11 ounces taking the total weight of the product to about 2.2 pounds / 1 KG.
A docking station option is available for both. A folio case is also available for the Dell.
The stylus option for the Dell is cheaper than the stylus option for the Surface 3 but I can’t comment on pen performance as I haven’t tested the Dell stylus.
The Dell Venue 11 Pro 5000 has HDMI video output. The Surface 3 uses the DisplayPort standard, which is arguably better for multiple displays (Chaining.)
At 1.57 pounds 770 grams the Dell Venue 11 Pro 5000 tablet is much heavier than the Surface 3 and this could be the most important difference between the two. The Surface 3 tablet weighs just 1.37 pounds / 622 grams. You will notice this difference a lot when holding the tablet for long periods.
The Dell Venue 11 Pro 5000 does not include a year of Office 365 / 1TB storage upload. The Surface 3 does.
No AC Wifi on the Dell. AC Wifi on the Surface 3.
Screen quality on the Dell 5130 was reported to be good. It should compete with the good screen quality on the Surface 3.
The Dell has an NFC sensor. (The Surface 3 doesn’t.)
Graphics performance on the Surface 3 will beat the Dell by an estimated 30-50%.
The (removable) battery on the Dell is bigger than that in the Surface 3. (32 Wh vs 27 Wh) This explains a lot of the thickness and weight difference.
LTE options available on both Venue and Surface. (Location dependant.)
Micro SD card slot on Dell requires a pin to open. (It’s meant to be tidier and slightly more secure.)
The difference between the Surface 3 and the Venue 11 Pro 5000 is minimal. I like that there are 2 keyboard options on the Dell and at this point I lean towards the Dell as the better option. But that’s me, what are your thoughts? 3:2 vs 16:9 is a big discussion as is the tablet weight.