October 12, 2013
Starting at about the same price as the upcoming (Oct 22) new Surface 2 (which cannot run all Windows desktop software), is the new Dell Venue 11 (which CAN run all Windows desktop software). This Bay Trail Atom model starts at about $500.
That’s not to diminish Microsoft’s new Surface 2. That Surface RT replacement sounds like a fine machine with great build quality and the ability to run a full desktop copy of Outlook. But when the price points are essentially the same between it and this iPad-sized full Windows tablet from Dell, I have to lean toward the Dell—at least for my usage trends. That’s because, even with Outlook there, I still occasionally hit a software wall on the RT. Plus, the Dell has a an active pen option, and that kind of wraps up the comparison for me.
Keyboard Cover and Bay Trail
The Dell Venue also has a keyboard cover option much like the Surface. And the Bay Trail Atom processor used in the entry level of the Dell Venue 11 should make it powerful enough for most lightweight Windows tablet needs. Of course, I’ll still carry a 13 or 14 inch Ultrabook with me when long-term traveling—I need a bigger screen and keyboard for my more serious work.
Interestingly, this exact same Dell tablet line comes with an option for Haswell chips, making that part of the line a direct competitor for the Surface Pro 2. But the weight goes up in those options–not sure if it will remain tablet-like.
Dell Venue 8
Perhaps the most interesting part of Dell’s new Venue line of tablets is the upcoming 8-inch version called the Dell Venue 8. Costing $299, it looks like a worthy iPad Mini competitor, but with a full version of Windows running on it, and a speedy new Bail Trail Atom chip as well.
I like that it has a pen option, as I am a huge fan of taking ink notes with OneNote, and this may be the way to go for taking notes that sync across all my PCs and devices.
Tablets Are Still Settling Out
As I stated in previous posts, at the end of 2013 we will see a large number of new speedy and small Windows tablets coming out, so it may be worth waiting to see how this settles out before making a purchase decision.