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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  • NeatOman - Thursday, April 16, 2015 - link

    I'm sorry, that thing is hideous... the border is from a crappy tablet from 2-3 years ago. I deployed Yogo Pro 2/3 and Surface Pro 3 (I'll try a Surface 3 once there out) but i know that no one will want that despite its functionality. Sorry Dell :-/
  • Azurael - Thursday, April 16, 2015 - link

    I think I'm glad I have a 7130 (Haswell-Y, active cooling) rather than the Core M 7140. The fan doesn't generally come on unless it's pretty heavily loaded, battery life is great, and even my base i3 model seems to outperform this one under sustained load. I hate the 16:9 aspect ratio and the way the capacitive Windows key wakes it (I think this is an MS requirement though?) - and Windows is still a poor tablet OS, but I do love this device. It runs Android really well, too :)

    Replaceable batteries, SSDs and Wireless cards are a boon (in fact, I had to replace the Dell Atheros card that came in mine with an AC-7265 for Android compatibility) and unheard-of in the tablet world,I hope they continued that...

    I've got one of the silver active styluses too, I had an A01 black model, which was terrible - almost unusable since it would lose tracking mid-stroke but Dell sent me the silver one FOC and it's been great. Much better battery life, too (who thought AAAA batteries were a good idea?!) It's nice to use in Photoshop, but I'm not much good at drawing so I can't say how it compares to the Wacom digitiser on the Surface Pros...
  • awall13 - Thursday, April 16, 2015 - link

    Regarding the port placement, I wanted to comment that I wish our Surface Pro 3 had its display and USB ports located lower... I rarely hold the tablet while it is plugged in to something; a more common use case is having it sitting on a desk plugged in, where lower ports seem advantageous so that there is less torque on the port from a hanging cable, and it is less cluttered. So I wouldn't take issue with Dell's choice of port placement, personally.
  • metayoshi - Thursday, April 16, 2015 - link

    Good to know that I probably would have made a good decision had I decided to go with this instead of the Surface 3. As much as Core M excites me, it really was the price range that pushed me to drop money on a Surface 3 instead of this. Sure, I lost Core M for Atom performance, but had I had that extra $200 in my budget, I would have jumped on the Dell Venue 11 Pro as soon as the 5Y71 version was released. I don't think I'll regret my decision for now, but something with that kind of power in a 4.5W TDP device is really enticing.
  • eanazag - Thursday, April 16, 2015 - link

    I think the battery measurements need to be reported with and without the mobile keyboard. We have no idea what the tablet does on its own in battery life.

    The dock with 10/100 is a regression. The WiFi is better than that. The dock does not support 3 monitors with integrated graphics.

    I think Microsoft has a better polished solution in the Surface series.
  • Hulk - Thursday, April 16, 2015 - link

    Don't know about this tablet but Imperial Walkers are very cool.
    And what are the little guys called again? Also very cool.
  • J_Hyde - Thursday, April 16, 2015 - link

    The LTE version has been mentioned from the day this tablet was introduced, but it's not on Dell's website. It is mentioned in the user manual. I've chat'd with Dell Sales support and they are not aware of when it will be released.

    I suppose a WiFi hotspot, or a USB based LTE modem would work, but was really looking forward for a Windows tablet with LTE... At the moment, I'm still waiting

    (By the way, the documentation on the site on whether there is an LTE modem is remarkably inconsistent)
  • lewisl9029 - Thursday, April 16, 2015 - link

    I'd like to see a review of the HP Elite x2 1011, which has a similar form factor as this and offers similar accessories, except it has fans for active cooling, which I think might mean we can see the true performance potential of these M-5Y71 chips.
  • Morawka - Thursday, April 16, 2015 - link

    Last years model had a removable battery. are you sure this doesn't have one? It has the removable back just like last years, so one would think they would keep the removable battery, especially if this product is aimed at the enterprise market.
  • JumpingJack - Friday, April 17, 2015 - link

    "At 10.8 inches in screen diameter"

    Diameter is a term which describes an attribute associated to a circle. You mean "At 10.8 inches measured at the diagonal for the screen"

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