I was in the Bay Area yesterday meeting with some people doing some cool stuff with Google Glass in healthcare. While I was there I read something that came through my Twitter feed about the original 128 GB Microsoft Surface Pro tablet being on sale at Best Buy for $499. That’s a great price, especially for what you get. I was interest enough that I did a quick search online at the Microsoft Store to see if they were offering the same deal; they usually do. Turns out they were, and I knew that there was a Microsoft Retail Store just 30 minutes from where I was. Following my meetings I hoped in the car and headed for the Microsoft Store to see if they had any 128 GB Surface Pro’s in stock. Turned out they didn’t, but they did have the Dell Venue 8 Pro on sale for $229 for the 32 GB model. That’s a phenomenal price for the Venue 8 Pro.
I’ve been thinking about purchasing an 8-inch Window’s 8 tablet for a while, but what I really want is one that has an active digitizer with good pen support. Currently the Venue 8 Pro is the only 8-inch Window’s 8 tablet on the market that fits those requirements. ASUS is supposed to release the VivoTab Note 8 with Wacom digitizer and pen sometime later this year, but no official release date has been announced.
For the most part everything I’ve read about the Venue 8 Pro has been surprisingly positive. I’m not a big Dell fan as I’ve owned two Dell laptops and been completely underwhelmed by their quality, performance, and support. But I was willing to give them another try because they were the only manufacturer with an 8-inch tablet that met my requirements.
And here’s where things go sideways. Dell advertises the heck out of the pen interface for the Venue 8 Pro. Just take a look at their website if you don’t believe me. Unfortunately the pen has received some bad reviews so Dell decided to pull them from the shelves until they can get the bugs worked out. You can’t even order one from the Dell website. Someone on the product management team should have their butt kicked for not doing a better job making sure the centerpiece, and prime differentiator for their product was ready for prime time.
So what’s the likelihood that I’ll buy the Dell Venue 8 Pro without a pen to use with the device? Zero. Even for the low, low price of $229. I have plenty of tablets without pen support lying around the house. I don’t need another. I could have at least used a different pen if Dell would have gone with Wacom, but they decided to use Synaptics instead. My top choice for an 8-inch tablet without pen support certainly isn’t Dell. I’d go with one from Lenovo or Toshiba before buying the Dell. The only thing that separated their tablet from the others was an active digitizer, and now that’s just dust in the wind.
Same old Dell.