It appears that I might be one of the first to have both the Dell Venue Pro 8 and the Lenovo Miix 2 8. I bought both and wanted to see which one is better. So, if this is of interest to you then continue on reading:
So, the best thing to say is that these devices are almost identical from a specs perspective. There is actually so little difference that I think it is easier to just say what is different.
There are two models of the processors and you can't tell a difference in the performance or even in the specs, however the Dell has the Atom model Z3740D and the Lenovo has the Z3740 (no D). This is how Windows is reporting the information.
The specs for the Z3740 are here: http://ark.intel.com/products/76759/Intel-Atom-Processor-Z3740-2M-Cache-up-to-1_86-GHz
The specs for the Z3740D are here: http://ark.intel.com/products/78416/Intel-Atom-Processor-Z3740D-2M-Cache-up-to-1_86-GHz?q=Z3740D
Basically the differences that I see are that the Z3740 has 4GB RAM support and 17.1 GB/s memory bandwidth and the Z3740D has 2GB RAM support and 10.6 GB/s memory bandwidth. Everything else is the same. Keep in mind that both devices have only 2 GB of RAM and is not upgradable that I can tell. So, don't get to caught up on this.
The windows button has different approaches on each of the devices on the Dell it is a button on the top of the device if held in portrait mode and is a physical button. The Lenovo uses a capacitive windows button on the front of the device at the below the screen at the bottom when in portrait mode. It is hard to say which is better and I think just comes down to preference. I can see people who are happy to not have a button that is accidental to hit and the Dell is your best on this, however if you want a quicker way when holding the device landscape or portrait then you may prefer the Lenovo. I would say that personally I think this is better on the Lenovo.
Other Button and Port Layout
The Dell has the power / micro-USB port at the top of the device while the Lenovo has it more toward the bottom. I tend to like the placement of the Dell as it provides a better option of holding the device while charging. Again this is a personal preference.
The Dell then has the power and volume rocker bellow the power / micro-usb port. Only issue with this is if you have an elbow cable that goes the wrong way, then it might block access to the power button. The Lenovo has the power and volume rocker at the top and it has no ports that might block it. I would give this one to Lenovo.
The Micro-SD slot on both the Dell and the Lenovo are hidden by a door below the volume rocker and seem identical in their design. It is clear that there is room under the door for Micro-SD and a SIM if they decide to have a LTE connection at some point, however this is not an option nor is their a port for a SIM today.
The Dell has a charging light that is next to the port on the side. The Lenovo has a light on the front that you can see when looking at the unit head on. I like being able to see that the device is charging from the LED on the front.
Webcam and Camera Placement Specs
The Dell has the 1.2 MP webcam on the front of the device at the top, but pushed over to right side near the buttons. This was clearly done to keep you from covering the light sensor when holding it landscape. The Lenovo has the 2 MP webcam centered at the top. This does mean that your fingers tend to want to cover the camera when holding the device, luckily they did put the ambient light sensor a little more toward the button side of the device to help not to cause it to dim. I would give this one to the Dell.
The back 5 MP camera on the Dell is located in the middle with a little bit of a hump. Where the Lenovo has a 8 MP camera on the back that is off to the side where the buttons are and has no bump. I have yet to do a bake off on the camera quality on each, but I can say that the Dell did great for Skype calls.
Speaker Performance / Placement
The Dell has a speaker on the side of the device that would be the bottom if you held the device in portrait mode. The Lenovo has the speaker on the back of the device a the upper part of the device opposite of the camera. Doing an audio test the Lenovo is much quitter than the Dell. The Dell is easily twice as loud playing the same song in my test. The Dell is the clear winner here.
Case / Look of the Device
The Dell is all black except for the silver buttons and the silver Dell logo on the back. There are no logos on the front of the device it is just a black slate with a rubberized feel, not cheap feeling. The Lenovo has logos on the front both Lenovo and Windows for the capacitive start button. The rest of the device is silver in color some parts are metal, but mostly a plastic that is textured to look like an aluminum finish. The back of the device has the Lenovo logo shinny on the back and has a boat load of stickers for Windows / Intel / FCC / etc. The bad thing is that it makes it look like it has flair all over the back. The good news is you can pull off all the stickers and it would really look clean and professional. I would probably say that if you want flash then go Lenovo, but the Dell is simple. Also keep in mind the texture of the device. The Dell always feels secure in your hands more so than the Lenovo due to the rubbery finish. I think that beauty is in the eye of the beholder on this one.
Size / Weight
I put this in as it is funny to me that these two devices are so similar in size that it makes you think that they were cousins. Its like a Ford and Mercury. They look a little different, but the two are basically the same machine. I think it funny because I doubt these were developed with any intention of sharing what each were doing, but they came out almost exactly the same size and weight.
The Dell and the Lenovo have the same resolutions and the specs are all the same on the devices. The only difference that I can tell is that the color on the Dell is warmer than the Lenovo, but the Lenovo seems just a hair sharper. The screen on both of these is so good that it is such a toss up that I wouldn't let this be a decision factor. You are going to love the screen on both of these.
So, lets be honest. These devices are brand new and I am sure that more is to come. Also, the Dell has been out slightly longer than the Lenovo (about a week). Dell seems to have the edge here currently. Dell shipped the device with options for a folio case, active digitizer pen, and on Amazon there are already other cases and accessories popping up. Dell and Lenovo have also shown a Bluetooth keyboard cover that they intend to release. The Lenovo has a promise for a cover and a rubber tipped stylus for a capacitive touchscreen (which would work on the Dell as well) but these are not shipping yet. Also a search on Amazon landed me no additional accessories that were offered 3rd party. I would say that the Dell has this one for now.
The Dell is packaged up like a Microsoft Signature PC. This means that there is really nothing on it except Windows and Office. There are a few Dell specific apps, but no bloat-ware. The Lenovo come packaged up with the Mcafee suite and other items that feel like bloat-ware. It isn't over the top by any means, but you probably need to plan to uninstall some apps after you get the device. The Dell is the clear winner here and I have to commend Dell for taking this approach.
Overview and Results
Both of the devices are great value and cost the same thing. It really comes down to simple things like the looks of the device and if one has something you really want. If you really want the capacitive windows button, stylish design, and better camera; then the Lenovo might be your best choice. If you really want an understated design, more accessories (for now), and no bloat-ware to uninstall; then the Dell is your choice. Either way you have a great device that really makes people question why they are paying the money for an iPad mini. Apps come to ecosystems when devices like this start popping up and get popular. More tablets like this are what the Microsoft ecosystem need to drive the platform forward.
The purpose for this post is to share my personal experience with upgrading a Dell Venue 11 Pro i5 (model 7130) from Windows 8.1 Pro to Windows 10 Pro and then experimenting with Reset and Clean install. I am not trying to say this is the only way to do it, or the right way, just sharing what I got to work for me. In particular I suspect I really did something inefficient around the whole UEFI / legacy boot process from USB but I didn’t figure out what.
Dell site lists this device as upgradable to Windows 10.
I started with a stock 7130, reset it to factory image, then applied all available Windows and Dell updates (including BIOS to A16).
I used my Microsoft Account throughout except the one time there was no network connection.
Removed Dell’s encryption from the HDD (important).
Made a Windows 10 reservation and let the upgrade install without interference, including express settings.
Everything worked. The layout of icons on my desktop was even the same.
Checked Windows activation with [C:\slmgr /xpr] to confirm Windows 10 “permanently activated”
Updated things via Dell System Detect and available Windows updates
The upgrade added a new Recovery partition of 450 MB by shrinking drive space. It appeared that the original Windows 8 Recovery partition was left intact.
I created a Recovery USB following the Windows 10 process and selected “move Recovery content to USB” option.
The Recovery USB does not boot the 7130, perhaps I did something wrong? Heck with it, forge ahead…
Note: hold volume up during boot to enter BIOS or select a one-time boot Complete Windows 10 Reset, nothing significant appeared to change on the hard drive
Use Windows Media Creator to create a Windows 10 Pro x64 install USB
Disable UEFI boot in BIOS Enable Legacy ROMs in BIOS Boot “legacy” Followed build advice from these sites:
Skip product key page
Deleted all existing partitions from inside Setup
Error on trying to install on empty SSD, “we couldn't create a new partition or locate an existing one. See the setup log files”
One post suggested the USB might be bad, so I built another on a different USB stick with no change in behavior\ Try booting UEFI (instead of Legacy)
This appeared to allow instillation to proceed On final reboot error message “Invalid partition table” Remove USB, Restart into BIOS setup Change Boot List option to UEFI Disable Legacy Option ROMs Secure boot enabled Restart (no USB) gets to Windows Device setup proceeded
Use Express Settings
Clicked “later” on the product key screen
No network connections
Create local account Settings … Disk management showed
450MB Recovery Partition 100MB EFI System Partition 118.69 GB NTFS Bitlocker Encrypted (C:)
Fair number of issues in Device Manager, off to support.dell.com and Windows 10 OS drivers for this device
Install WIFI-7130_Network_Driver_0JJ8H_WN32_184.108.40.206_A00.EXE, Restart Wi-Fi now works, connect to home network Dell System Detect using this device’s Service Tag
Can’t do Dell System Detect automatic driver detection from inside Edge, must use IE11
Install Intel Video driver Video_Driver_7W9YT_WN32_10.18.15.4240_A00.EXE Setup says current versions are newer? Install the Dell package anyway… Install Intel Display Audio 6.16.00.3177
Install Intel HD Graphics Family 10.18.15.4240
Restart to BIOS, disable Intel SpeedStep to have processor run full speed for now
Note: seems much faster but really suck down the battery, faster than the batteries will recharge at 0.45A Dell System Detect indicated no missing drivers
Check Windows activation
C:\slmgr /xpr yields Windows is “permanently activated”
Create recovery drive (USB)
Settings > “recovery drive” > create Still can't boot to it Restart to BIOS, turn Intel SpeedStep back on
Device Manager (Settings > “device manager”) shows one problem item “SM Bus Controller”
Windows search online fails to find suitable driver Download dell driver pack http://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/19/Drivers/DriversDetails?driverId=FXC3H&fileId=3480673655&osCode=WT64A&productCode=dell-venue-11i-pro&languageCode=EN&categoryId=SM Looks like it contains a bunch of Win10 x64 drivers, probably should have started with this Update the driver in device manager, Restart Device Manager shows zero problems What to do about the lack of a "real" recovery partition?
Some articles say you don’t really need one? Not sure what this means... Cursory test and everything seems to work
Full Windows 10 Reset of tablet
Remove files (no to disk cleaning) Reset TPM 28 minutes to “Installing Windows” 53 minutes, the screen has been without display for a while… 58 minutes, Restarted? 72 minutes, hold power button down until it shuts down Restart… completes startup in another 5 minutes or so Provide wireless password, “Getting critical updates” Sign in with Microsoft Account, create PIN No Device Manager issues Dell System Detect (via IE11): No driver updates required and everything seems to work
No visible changes to disk partition layout The next test I intend to do (I will update this post) is a repeat of Full Reset but with "Remove files and clean drive" included. I want to see if all the drivers are still there after it is done.
A quick processor Good screen quality Office Home & Student 2013 included Cons:
Micro USB Power/Port combo No USB 3.0 Other:
For me personally, this is the right size for a tablet. The updated Atom processor is powerful enough that this device can handle most desktop chores without a hitch.
The display, 1200 x 800, is the proper aspect ratio and resolution for the tablet to work its best. Don’t let tablets with higher resolution displays draw you away from the Venue 8 Pro. You need to see it to realize that it works great. Text is especially crisp. A hint: You might like to turn off the automatic screen brightness control using the control panel. You will need to use the advanced settings link in the power options menu.
The most powerful office suite on the market is, without any doubt, Microsoft Office. The Venue 8 Pro includes full versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
The single greatest drawback of this device is that the power connection is also the only USB input, and since it is a micro USB connector, you must have an adapter to use it with any peripheral (not supplied). The micro USB 2.0 port will not supply enough power for external hard drives. The micro USB connector will break easily if you try to insert the power plug in backwards. I did this. The connector broke. Dell was very good at providing to me a replacement tablet.
A full-sized USB port is definitely required on any tablet that runs Windows 8 or it will not meet the needs of the enterprise customer, which is Dell’s bread and butter. If I had a USB 3.0 port I could use an external hard drive. I could connect the tablet to a docking station, or any USB device, and simultaneously provide it with power.
The Venue is compatible with Miracast which can clone the tablet’s display, wirelessly, to a television or projector. It should be great for PowerPoint presentations or playing NetFlix movies on your big screen. It is not suitable for use as a second display. There is too much lag which makes using the mouse difficult.
If you don’t need a real USB connector I would recommend this tablet. I will be replacing my V8P as soon as I find a similar model with a full-sized USB connector.
Has anyone tried or played with the Latitude 10? I am looking at this device and can only find a handful of reviews online at the moment (most are previews).
Thanks for your wisdom in advance.
I'm looking forward to getting the Dell Venue 11 Pro (the $499 model) for my mom. I'm wondering if others here are waiting for delivery. I ordered mine on November 7th. Its original estimated ship date was December 5th, but it hasn't shipped yet.
I understand shipping dates can get delayed. However, on Dell's product page they are showing a shipping date of December 18th for newly ordered tablets! I can't see how that is true. I'd think if they can ship a newly ordered tablet four days from now they could ship the one I ordered in November.