Today, Dell announced a variety of new tablets and laptop PCs to be available for the Holiday season and one of the most interesting ones is this Venue 8 Pro.  It’s a small 8″ tablet running the full Windows 8.1 operating system.  Windows 8.1 launches later this month and brings some enhancements designed specifically for this type of smaller form-factor tablet. The Venue 8 Pro has an eight-inch 1280 x 800 display, 32GB or 64GB storage options (with microSD expansion), runs a Bay Trail Atom, measures 9mm thick, and weighs 0.87 pounds. It should offer cellular connectivity, and prices will start at just $300.  Another especially interesting feature of the Venue 8 Pro is its stylus support.  The device does not have a silo to keep a stylus and a shipping accident caused Dell to lose the box of styli that they had planned to use at the event so therefore we were unable to test the stylus and handwriting functionality. However, we were told that it is an active digitizer with palm rejection, hover pointer support and pressure sensitivity. The representative was unsure about Wintab support for pressure sensitivity in high-end graphics programs, so don’t count on that happening.  Still, with palm rejection, the stylus should do quite well as a mouse replacement in desktop apps on the small screen and of course it will be excellent in OneNote.  The Venue 8 Pro also includes front and rear cameras along with 2Gb of RAM and a Micro USB port.  You can buy an adapter for the Micro USB port if you want to use full sized USB peripherals.  Internet connectivity was sparse in the display area and we only got a short amount of time with the new tablet, but it seems to be quite polished and Windows 8.1 seems quite quick as well.

One more interesting note about this device is its hardware button for the start screen.  It’s located at the top of the tablet when held in portrait mode.  I found the placement to be very awkward since you’d normally expect the start screen button to be on the face of the device.  However, then I turned the tablet to landscape mode and that put the start screen hardware button right under my left thumb.  In this orientation, it makes perfect sense!  Take a look at the video below for more on the Dell Venue 8 Pro.

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