Much like a smartphone, the display of a tablet is one of the most critical elements. Not only is it the only method of receiving information, it is also the primary method at input. A mediocre tablet can get by with a poor display, but unlike laptops the bar for poor displays on a tablet is much higher. A good tablet needs a good display, and Dell has delivered here.

The Venue 11 Pro is equipped with a Samsung SDC4C48 panel, which is an 8 bit model. The 10.8 inch panel is 1920x1080, for a good 204 pixels per inch. While not class leading in pixel density, everything looks clear and sharp. It is also a good compromise for desktop use, where you can pretty easily get by with just 125% scaling to keep a reasonable amount of desktop real estate available.

Dell Venue 11 Pro Pixel Arrangement

The Samsung display is a full RGB stripe, so there is no question about subpixel density like on a RGBW pentile arrangement. Color accuracy is generally better as well with RGB, and to test that, we will turn to SpectralCal’s CalMAN 5 suite, along with an X-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeter for brightness and contrast measurements, and the X-Rite i1Pro spectrophotometer for color accuracy testing.

Display - Max Brightness

Display - Black Levels

Display - Contrast Ratio

Dell’s premium Windows tablet starts off quite well, with good brightness at about 370 nits. The black levels are just OK though, which results in a good but not spectacular 885:1 contrast ratio. For those that need a dim display for use in a darker environment, The Venue 11 Pro goes down to around 18 nits so it should be no problem there.

Display - Grayscale Accuracy

Looking at grayscale, the Venue 11 Pro has not too bad of a score out of the box, but it could use some work. Overall the dE2000 is 4.38, which is due to the greens being a bit too strong, and the gamma falls off of the 2.2 target especially at the upper brightness levels. The white point is good overall though at 6615, very close to the ideal target of 6504.

Display - Saturation Accuracy

The saturation sweep is excellent, with an overall dE2000 of just 2.65, nicely under the target score of 3.0. The reds are a bit compressed though, and the 100% red is closer to 80% than 100%. The other colors are very close to their targets though.

Display - Gamut Accuracy

Display - GMB Accuracy

The Gretag MacBeth colorchecker is the most comprehensive test, and the overall score is 3.48, which is just above the 3.0 target. For an out of the box experience, few would complain about the Dell Venue 11 Pro tablet. Colors are generally quite good, and the brightness and contrast is also good.

Being a Windows tablet, we can also calibrate the display. Since the worst offender was the grayscale performance, calibration should help a lot to pull those scores down.

Once calibrated, this display is almost perfect. The grayscale falls to 0.71, and the gamma is almost spot on. Gamut falls to just 1.41, saturations are 0.83, and the GMB score drops to 1.13. Out of the box, the display is already good, but once calibrated it is fantastic.

Few would be left wanting with the Venue 11’s display. It has the kind of quality display one would expect in a premium tablet. Color accuracy is good out of the box, but because it is Windows it can be improved upon assuming one has the tools to do so. Really the only issue I had with the display is the 16:9 ratio, which works great for media consumption like MLB.TV and the like, but a taller overall display would make it a better tablet for both portrait and landscape modes.

Design System Performance
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  • duriel - Thursday, April 16, 2015 - link

    The GPU comparison looks a bit strange, since Core M does quite a bit better at 3DMark than at GfxBench. Both Manhattan and IceStorm run for a couple of minutes, so I don't buy the argument that GfxBench is slower because it runs longer (although that might be true for actual games like Dota). Perhaps it is a driver / application optimization issue. I wonder if GfxBench uses OpenGL or DirectX on Windows. Intel is generally known to have better DX drivers than OGL. Too bad we don't have more cross platform graphics benchmarks.
  • lilmoe - Thursday, April 16, 2015 - link

    I've seen other reviews around too, and I don't base my judgements on benchmarks alone. It really seams that the GPU is not up to task. How much could they mess up the driver? This isn't Intel's first attempt at iGPUs...
  • thunng8 - Friday, April 17, 2015 - link

    Ice Storm is a fair bit shorter than gfxBench benchmarks and IMO gfxBench graphically looks much better especially Manhattan
  • Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, April 16, 2015 - link

    I hope they keep pushing these thigns out. When we go into the next recession these things will be all over slickdeals for $400 maybe even $300. At around $400 this is a very compelling product.
  • chizow - Thursday, April 16, 2015 - link

    I was part of the validation process for these Venue Pros and other tablet/2-in-1s for work and we decided not to use these in favor of the Surface Pro 3 mixed in with some Yoga Pros and Transformer T300s (for users who wanted more of a 2-in-1 experience).

    There were a number of major problems with the Venue Pro that we ran into compared to the competitors and really only one positive.

    Pros: Take care of this easy one first, it has a built-in SC Reader. It works poorly, but it is there. This is an important feature for any Enterprise that does business with the Government or has the highest security standards.

    -1080p 16:9 aspect ratio is terrible for tablet portrait usage. Works OK on a smartphone because that's all we've ever known, but for web content and even most documents, 16:9 just doesn't work and often forces you to scroll LR on a page, especially if there is a menu/banner on either side.
    -Heavy and thick. Just feels really heavy. Maybe its due to the stocky dimensions, but it just feels heavy in the hand and it is considerably thicker than the SP3. It feels even worst as a tablet than the original Surface Pro and Pro 2.
    -Dock. Price and overall build quality on the dock is good, but attaching it is not as easy as the SP3 dock and you also can't attach the keyboard while docked like you can with the SP3's dock. Also not as many connectivity options but overall the dock is good especially for the price.
    -Folio Keyboard. This thing is awful, can't even be compared to the SP3's dock and it is also unnecessarily thick due to the multiple manifolds required for its stand-up folio action. The keyboard itself feels awful, almost no key travel it is more like the touchpads that also double as buttons for your entire keyboard. Also, in "laptop" mode it just doesn't work well because the tablet is SO much heavier than the keyboard and the only support you have is the flexible folio back kickstand. If you want a 2-in-1 spring for the new rigid typepad/battery accessory or look at the Asus Transformer T300 or Yoga Pro 3.
    -Probably no longer an issue with this Core M variant, but the i5 unit I had the fan would ramp up and it would get LOUD.

    So yeah, would definitely check this one out in person before you buy, from my testing and time spent validating multiple of these options, I would spend a bit more and go with a Surface Pro 3 i5 variant with 4GB/128GB or 8GB/256GB or one of the higher-end Surface 3 (non-Pro). Surface Pro line is probably due for an update soon anyways, I would expect to see a Core M variant replacing the low-end i3.
  • Brett Howse - Thursday, April 16, 2015 - link

    So just to clarify, your experience is with the older model then? Obviously this one is quiet since it is passively cooled. It's great to hear from people who have a lot of experience with these devices.
  • chizow - Friday, April 17, 2015 - link

    Yeah it was the older i5 model but I figured Core M would quiet it down which is great to hear. I did also go back and read the parts of the review on the dimensions and it does look like they addressed the thickness and weight concerns somewhat, but I am not sure they've done enough to address the 2-in-1 and screen size/aspect ratio concerns.

    In any case I do laud Dell for taking a chance on this segment but like the Surface Pro line, I think more iterations and improvements are needed for this product to do well.
  • DigitalFreak - Thursday, April 16, 2015 - link

    We bought a bunch of these @ work. Absolute junk. Do yourself a favor and look at the Lenovo Helix.
  • lilmoe - Thursday, April 16, 2015 - link

    Mind sharing your experience? Was it performance or overall quality?
  • Azurael - Thursday, April 16, 2015 - link

    Was that the previous 7130 model? They launched with a shedload of issues after receiving numerous positive reviews. The screen would freeze frequently unless panel self refresh was disabled, the touch screens would register double taps constantly, the stylus was basically useless and the SSDs got laggy over time. After several BIOS updates and firmware updates for almost every component I could imagine having updateable firmware (and not just the touch controller, but the LCD panel itself) it works great. I think Dell really dropped the ball, I assume businesses had already given up on them by that point which is good for me, because refurbs are numerous and cheap :)

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