The Bottom Line
Nov 20 2013 - Dell's Venue 7 is a very affordable Android tablet that does a decent job but just has enough small items that make it just an average tablet. It is nice to see that it has a decent level of quality considering its very low price tag and it is easy to expand storage with the microSD card slot. The problem is that the Atom processor just doesn't perform as well in terms of battery life or smoothness with the Android operating system as comparable ARM based tablets.
- Low Price
- Decent Build Quality
- MicroSD Card Slot
- Below Average Battery Life
- Atom Processor Not As Smooth With Android OS
- Poor Camera Resolution And Performance
- Intel Atom Z2560 Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 2GB PC2-6400 DDR2 Memory
- 16GB Storage
- 7" WXGA (1280x800) Multitouch Display
- VGA Front and 3.0 Megapixel Rear Camera
- Intel HD Graphics
- 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Micro USB 2.0, MicroSD Card Slot, 3.5mm Audio
- 7.6” x 4.65” x .37” @ .77 lbs
- Android 4.2
Review - Dell Venue 7
Nov 20 2013 - It has been a while since Dell was in the tablet market but they have returned with new versions of their Venue tablets. The Venue 7 is the smallest and most affordable of these tablets. It offers a very plain design that doesn't really stand out against other tablets. It features a black plastic back with some silver buttons on the edges and the Dell logo in the middle of the back. The build quality seems decent without it feeling cheap but certainly not a premium level of quality either.
Rather than using a ARM based processor for this Android tablet, Dell has elected to use the Intel Atom Z2560 processor for its Venue 7. This is the older Clover Trail design rather than the new Bay Trail which has several impacts. The most notable is that it uses slower DDR2 memory compared to DDR3 and it is just a dual core compared to the new quad core Bay Trail Atom. The decision to use this was likely to keep the costs down. In terms of performance, it does alright with the basic applications but it certainly is not something recommended for those looking to use the tablet for gaming.
The 7-inch display on the Venue 7 uses a fairly typical 1280x800 display which is common among many low cost tablet options. It uses an IPS display technology screen which means that it offers wide viewing angles and good color. Brightness and contrast levels are certainly not as good as the more expensive tablets with higher resolution displays. It worked just fine for video but as noted with the processor, it still isn't quite suited for Android gaming as there was noticeable frame drops.
While Dell does include some cameras on the Venue 7, this is certainly not going to be a major selling point. The front facing camera is a low VGA resolution that gives very little detail or color when being used for video chats. The rear facing camera is a lower 3.0 megapixel model that gives much less detail than your typical 5.0 megapixel sensors. There is a significant amount of shutter lag when taking pictures and low light performance is poor even by low tablet camera standards.
Dell does not list the capacity of the battery inside of the Venue 7 tablet nor do they provide any estimates on the running time. In digital video playback testing, the tablet was able to run for around seven hours. This is a bit less than some of the other seven inch tablets and may be the result of the power differences between the ARM and Atom based processor cores. It certainly falls well short of the ten hours of the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch or the over twelve of the original Apple iPad Mini but those are both more expensive.
With a price tag of just $150, the Dell Venue 7 is certainly going after the budget market and it certainly has some competition in this space. The most notable offering at this price point is the ASUS MeMOPad HD 7. It uses a quad core ARM based processor and offers higher resolution front and rear cameras. In fact, the ASUS tablet seems to offer a bit more in each area but has the downside of being thicker than the Dell tablet. Of course, if you are willing to jump up to the $229 price point, you can find the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX or Google Nexus 7. Both of those tablets offer higher resolution displays, faster processors but both lack a microSD slot for adding extra storage space.