In its first major product release since the announcement that it was being taken private, computer maker Dell has unveiled a new tablet product line, as well as new XPS laptops.
The Venue tablets come in both Windows 8.1 and Android versions, with 8-inch and 11-inch models for Windows, and 7-inch and 8-inch Androids. The Windows 8-based Venue 8 Pro and Venue 11 Pro offer full compatibility with Microsoft Office and Windows applications, as well as optional security and enterprise management features that appeal to businesses.
The 8 Pro tablet has an HD IPS display and advanced connectivity options. The 11 Pro is a hybrid Ultrabook with a detachable keyboard, a removable/replaceable battery, and an optional Desktop Dock so it can be used as a desktop machine. The 8 Pro and 11 Pro feature the Intel Atom quad-core Bay Trail processors, and the Android-based Venue 7 and Venue 8 use the Intel Atom Z2760 Clover Trail processor .
"Can Run Windows"
Analyst Avi Greengart, of industry research firm Current Analysis, tells us that the top-end Venue 11 Pro, priced at $499, is "roughly the same price as the new Microsoft Surface 2 tablet, but the Pro can run Windows legacy software." The Surface 2 uses the Windows RT operating system, which is not compatible with legacy Windows software. In fact, Dell is among those computer makers that is letting go of the RT tablet platform, which has been a poor seller.
Greengart also pointed out that the new lineup of Dell products is "a huge win for Intel" because Dell is using that company's processors across the Windows and Android products. He described the Android-based Venue 7 as "well-priced" at $150, with a "decent screen and a fast processor," although he said it was "a bit thick and heavy."
The new laptops include the XPS 15, the XPS 11, and a refresh of the XPS 13 Ultrabook. The 11 is a hybrid that can operate as a tablet or a laptop via a 360 degree rotating hinge design and it features a Quad HD 2560 x 1440 display.
Dell describes the XPS 15 as a "multimedia powerhouse," adding that it was the most powerful XPS it's shipped, and the first in its class to offer a Quad HD display. The Quad provides 5.7 million pixels in its 3200 x 1800 screen, or five times that of a standard HD screen, and comes with 4th Gen Intel Core i5 and i7 quad core processors and NVIDIA discrete graphics options.
Greengart described the XPS 15 as his "favorite" in this product release, while the 11, although "incredibly thin, has a keyboard that does not have physically moving keys." He called the 360-degree hinge "interesting," but said it is "trying to be both a laptop and a tablet and ends up compromising both."
The 3 lb. XPS 13 features 4th Gen Intel Core processors, a 13.3-inch touchscreen display, and Intel HD 4400 graphics.
The Venue tablets, available October 18, start at $150 for the 7 and range up to $500 for the Venue 11 Pro. The XPS line of laptops go on sale in November and are priced at $1,000 for either the 11 or the 13, and $1,500 for the 15.